Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Mairzy Doats and Dogs Eat Goats

"Tell us the goat story again," they'd say.

At the lunch table at a YMCA camp job I had in Ohio back in the 90's we had some great times.  Other folks who worked at camp used to hang out at our table just to listen to our sometimes humorous adventures.  The boss was a tough, no nonsense, brilliant, bearded guy, who was still coming to terms with some of the baggage he brought back from Vietnam, where he was a medic in the special forces.  To him, when one of the camp's goats died, the answer was simple:  Just chuck him in the dumpster.  That's what he would have liked to have said. 

YMCA Camp Campbell Gard, Hamilton, Ohio
 Debbie was our day camp director.  She was a cute, vibrant, vivacious, kind, soft-hearted, animal loving, 20-something-year old woman, who everyone thought was just a sweetheart.  So, when she asked the boss to give the dead goat a proper burial, he had to give in. 

Let me tell you about the goat himself.  The goat had an underbite, causing his lower teeth to rest visibly against his upper lip.  Whenever you saw the goat in his pen with his friend, the other goat, you were met with that goofy goat smile. 

Camp Campbell Gard chapel.  Grasshopper Meadow in the background.
 A co-worker (Kevin) and I put the dead goat into the bucket on the front of our John Deere tractor, grabbed a couple of shovels and a big bow saw and drove him out to a distant part of camp property to bury him.  Poor little feller still had that goofy smile on his face, except for his tongue that stuck out of the side of his mouth.  It was raining, fitting for a funeral.  We worked on digging a hole big enough to bury the goat, but we were in a bit of a hurry due to the rain, and the dirt was turning quickly into mud.  We drug the poor goat over and threw him into the shallow grave.  All four of his feet and part of his head stuck out of the hole.  I guess we had been in too much of a hurry.  So, we could either have drug him back out of the hole and dug it deeper, or try to make it work.  That's why I brought the saw.  As I started to saw one of the goat's legs off, it quickly became apparent that it wasn't going to work.  The skin was hard, and just moved back and forth with the teeth of the saw.  My next idea was to just break the legs inward, so that they laid flat against his body.  That pretty much worked.  (Is this getting too gruesome?  I'm almost finished).  We had a bit of a hard time getting his head to stay in the hole, but I won't get into the details of how we fixed that.  Finally, we succeeded in getting the goat all the way into his grave.  Instead of shoveling all that dirt/mud back into the hole, I figured I'd just use the bucket on the tractor and push the dirt in.  It worked, except my rear wheels got stuck right on the freshly dug grave.  As I was spinning the wheels trying to get out of the mud, Debbie appeared, and she was carrying flowers.  Fortunately, the bucket had pushed a small pile of dirt up in front of it, and it looked like a little burial mound about 10 feet from the goat's real final resting place.  She assumed that was the grave sight, and we didn't tell her different.  I made a big mistake when Debbie found the saw and said, "I don't even want to know what this is for."  To which I unthinkingly replied, "Oh, we brought that in case he didn't fit into the hole."  She just closed her eyes and tried to shake the image out of her mind. 

Camp Campbell Gard, Hamilton, Ohio
 I was out at the goat grave some time later and saw that Debbie had put a bunch of rocks down on the supposed grave sight in the shape of a cross.  See, I told you she was sweet.

A short time after this story took place we received a report of a strange dog on the property which may have been rabid.  We looked for the dog for the rest of the day, but didn't find it.  The next day I was out in Grasshopper Meadow burning some old pallets.  It took me several hours to burn it all, and I ended up laying down on a big log next to the fire and falling asleep.  When I opened my eyes, there was the infamous dog, staring at me from about 3 feet away, his lower teeth resting visibly against his upper lip.  First I thought, "Oh, crap."  Then I thought, "Ah, that's why the goat died:  Goat rabies." 

So, that's the goat story.  A while later the other goat died.  This time the boss found him before Debbie did.  He told Kevin and me, "Go throw that thing in the dumpster before Debbie sees it."  The funniest part of that day was when the outdoor education director came by the lunch table and said, "Ya know, there's a deer in the dumpster."

Thanks for listening -JB


  1. Hahahahaha! I remember this story well. Still makes me laugh. If my memory is correct, Debbie also said something about her horse not feeling well and Doug replied that he wasn't burring no horse.

  2. I kind of laugh-shuddered through the whole thing! Good story!

  3. wow! you have had such a colorful life! I don't know of anything that I could post could match your stories! Glad I can be one of your followers!