When I decided to write this next small book, also decided to put chapters up on the blog. Doing so, adds some timely discipline to the process and hopefully, you'll like it enough to tell your friends about the book and the blog. This is the second half of a longer chapter.
Part 2 A Goat and A Gamecock – Boudreaux & I Livin’ Large
Meanwhile back at the farm in Bamberg, the life and times of Billy Dean Proctor, lent itself to the eventual refreshment of perspective as to just how silly life could be without much prodding. We were at the farm on a Saturday. A few friends gathered for a cookout and some cold beer, along with tall tales and confessions.
Billy Dean was telling this story from earlier in the year. We could honestly say, Boudreaux and I had witnessed a good portion of it, first hand. “I was ridin’ down Cypress Stop Road one afternoon, and on the shoulder, feeding on a beauty berry bush, was this pygmy Billy goat. I didn’t think I could catch him but I pulled over anyway. I wasn’t out of the truck good, and he was at my feet like a lost puppy. His mouth was stained purple from the berries. And, he had the remnants of a raggedy piece of poly rope hangin’ from his neck. Talking to him, his little tail wagged furiously.
“He was white, under the dirt, with a black saddle and curved goat horns atop his little goat head. I called him a few names and discussed loading up as I dropped the tailgate. He went to rubbin’ up against me, bleating softly, and makin’ circle eights around my legs. I said, ‘Look here, Sue, you ‘sposed to be a Billy.’ The goat looked directly up at me, shook its butt just like a dog, and jumped flat footed into the back of the truck.
“That, friends, is how we came to be adopted by goat, Sue.”
Boudreaux chimes in. “This recollection ain’t complete without the inclusion of the migrant gamecock who we think now, probably followed you and Sue home. This “gamecock’ bore scant resemblance to Carolina’s mascot. He was runted up, but had hackles and spurs with some substance.
“As you’ll recall, we surmised that this game chicken was Sue’s fellow escapee. Anyhow, It’s a good story. The stunted rooster acted like it knew Sue. Or, maybe it was just love at first sight. We went to callin’ him , Shortcake. It really didn’t matter what we called him, chickens normally don’t socialize with humans much, unless there’s food involved. The goat on the other hand, was underfoot and begged unmercifully anytime you went outside.
“Sue sleeps under the front stoop, or in the crook of two boughs of the grandfather, water oak in the front yard. He had some mountain in that gene pool, for sure. He’d figured out how to get up on the metal shed roof by jumpin’ from the rabbit hutch, a good six feet up. If under the stoop was that night’s bed-down, Shortcake, roosted on the handrail. If the oak tree suited the goat’s whim, the little gamecock took up watch on a higher limb, nestled in the resurrection fern, and crowed pathetically at the edge of dark and dawn. During the day where one went, the other mostly followed.
“Well, you all should know the rest of the story. Those two miscreant farm animals are Billy Dean’s spoiled rotten pets. They would have been livin’ in the trailer if Dean could have figured out how to house train them. They‘re in the house a good bit of the time anyway. And, when Billy Dean is anywhere on his three hundred acres, one or both aren’t far away. Now, the plot thickens.”
“Dean, came down to Florida to stay at my place for a long weekend and some Disney world excitement. He brought along his latest love interest. They drove her Camaro. While he was gone his son was supposed to come by and feed the chickens, rabbits and Sue. Linda Jean, was blonde haired, had dark brown eyes, and was right pretty until she smiled. One incisor missin’ in the top row, and a middle tooth on the bottom front. I had never seen so much rear end stuffed into a package that small. A sudden rip-stitch and cellulite along the lines of an auto air bag would engulf a hapless target.
I asked him about the teeth and he said, “I ain’t paid it any never mind. We been too busy to worry on looks.”
“Yeah, I can see that.”
When Dean got home it was obvious that some of the livestock had some emotional problems with his absence. Shortcake, had covered his truck’s windshield with chicken shit. The sun had baked it on pretty good and the overspill had eaten the paint off the hood. Sue had done gymnastics on the truck’s roof. It was peppered with little, hoof-made dents. A huge pile of goat droppings were on the outback patio in front of the back door. There was little doubt about the message. They probably hadn’t been fed and they hadn’t been let in the house, so, they knew Dean was gone – and they didn’t like it one bit.
Someone asked me what happened next? “That Friday was the last day of Gobbler season. At nine o’clock in the morning, Dean was hid on the weeded up edge of a pine grove, yelping strategically at a monster gobbler who had been strutting and pacing for 35 minutes, just out of gun range. Dean switched to a box call, finally. The gobbler figured another hen had joined the party and he made a beeline straight at Billy Dean. In a few seconds the turkey was within fifteen yards and closing. Dean got the safety off and the gun up. He could see the gobbler’s beady eyes. This was a big bird. The biggest he’d ever seen. At that moment, out of the corner of his eye, Dean saw a reddish brown streak pass his right side and next he could see a blur of red-feathered fury all over the Tom’s back and head. The gobbler batted and slashed with its wings and stabbed back with its inflamed head and huge beak. As quick as it had started, it was over. The turkey flew off like an overgrown quail flushing. Shortcake lay on the ground in a heap. Billy Dean could have cried over the loss of the monster turkey. He walked off towards his truck. Looking over his shoulder at the motionless chicken he thought, You deserve to be dead.
Boudreaux said, ”Throw a little charcoal on the fire, will ya?”
Dean said, “Pass me a piece of that goat. On second thought I’ll try the chicken first.”