Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Little Boy Blue

The kids and I made our annual trek to the state fair yesterday. My son loves the animals. We go through every building looking at all the cows, sheep, pigs, goats, llamas, horses, and chickens. This is as close as my kids ever get to a farm. Although I grew up in the city, I come from rural roots and spent many summer vacations on the old homeplace, a farm in the Ozarks of Missouri. But I have not passed on any of the richness of my memories to my kids. Their farm IQ is, well, dismal.

I could not convince my son that the longhorn cows with calves were females. Because of their horns, he ignored any other evidence and insisted they were bulls. My daughter and I oohed and ahhed over the squirming pile of brand new pink piglets. I pointed out that baby pigs are called piglets. As we walked by the sheep, I asked her if she knew what baby sheep are called. Sheeplets? she asked.

No, my kids are city kids. I watched the children and teens at the fair tending to their animals, readying them for the judging ring. A goat was getting a bath, a llama was getting the tangles brushed out of her coat, a young steer was getting a last minute appraisal. These kids were focused and confident, comfortable and knowledgeable. They seemed more mature than their city peers, somehow. More grounded. They proudly led their animals to the ring, ready to show off the time and effort and love they had spent on their charges.

Except one boy. As we passed by some goat pens, there was a young boy curled up in the straw sleeping soundly with his head resting on the flank of his goat. The goat was lying down, too, but not sleeping. She was alert, watching the people go by and then turning her head to sniff her boy’s hair and make sure he was all right. His head rose and fell with her breathing. Such a peaceful nap in the middle of so much activity. He was in his happy place.

Little Boy Blue come blow your horn,
The sheep’s in the meadow, the cow’s in the corn.
Where is the boy who looks after the sheep?
He’s under a haystack fast asleep.

1 comment:

  1. Now, that is a beautiful story, about the boy sleeping with the goat. Thanks for sharing.


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