How Do You Say, Whipped Ass, Nicely?
I love the Lord. He has an obvious sense of humor and of course, a tenacity unmeasurable. I never realized how indulgent God really was, until I came to know that I belonged to him, by His choice, and not the other way around. Stating the obvious, even God certainly would have to have an enormous capacity for things humorous, to be foolin’ around with the likes of me, for years, before I caught on. To this point in time, especially, if I am not quiet and patient, he allows me the indulgence of doubt and the subsequent torture fanned by the resignation attached to same. This is a repetitive lesson that I just can’t seem to muster the faculty for.
I started this explanation to demonstrate my base feelings about the enormity of the Town of Inglis elections this past Tuesday, March 17.
In the end game, the good trounced the evil by 60% of the votes cast. The extreme, pathological liar, whose behavior was her undoing, flip flops from the lie of the day to the lying intention. She is now, no longer relevant. The Gang of Five leader who couldn’t hide his past or his sinister intentions, is no longer relevant. The recall petition champion will be inducted into the Gang of Five hall of fame and gain added recognition for her debut as a defendant. In that case there is a lottery. Who will throw who, under the bus, first? At issue? Well over $35,000 in legal fees.
Lastly, I’d like to note that the great pretender posted a showing that only he is capable of. He racked up 25 votes - - - less than 3% percent of the total votes cast, which ,by the way, in a popularity poll would have been the margin of error. I reckon, the next time we see him, he will be working for the CIA. Or in the astronaut program.
The Rednak Chronicles, Chapter 5
Haints & Cow Catchers
From time to time Milo and Joe Pritchard hunted cows together. They had discovered a number of animals in the pine flat land, around Cedar Key, and north. These cows were descended from the Spanish cows brought by the early explorers from Spain that had fanned out across north Florida, west to the Mississippi River, in the late 15th and 16th Centuries. The Gulf Coast cows were known as “Piney woods” cows and were a little larger and more prolific than the Cracker cows found around Milo’s Sink and most of Central Florida.
The Spaniards had deliberately turned the hardy cows loose figuring that they would provide a good food source in the years to come. The scrub cows did, in fact, survive well and adapt to the harsh conditions of the Southeast. They were almost impervious to the clouds of mosquitoes and adapted to the thick brush and wooded tangle of sub-tropical Florida well. They seldom got larger than 900 pounds and both sexes were horned. They had roamed the north half of Florida out to the near coastal reaches of eastern Louisiana for over 300 years.
On one of their expeditions, the first group of cows they encountered were almost too easy to catch. They cleared brush and created a quick enclosure from the branches and a tangle of weeds and vines and made sure that the “corral” included the small muddy runoff from a nearby cypress head. Milo had gator fat in a small tin that would repel mosquitoes but it also would repel humans it was so rank, so he used it sparingly.
They would normally try to rope one or two cows and drag them along slowly to the enclosure. Others that were part of the wild herd group would generally follow blindly, encouraged from the rear by the snap of a cracker whip and a little verbal rousting. In this instance however, roping and whip popping turned out to be totally un-necessary.
When Joe on his mule pony and Milo on the giant draught horse were in position, a sudden braying rang out from the underbrush and out popped a very large goat with a small burro on its heels. The goat went right to Island Boy. Pritchard, fumbled around in his saddlebag and found a piece of stale biscuit wrapped in wax paper. He showed it to the goat, which in turn took the crumbling biscuit and the wax paper and began chewing away. The crumbs didn’t hit the ground good before the little jackass was on top of them licking and snorting softly for the scraps. These two were pets, not wild animals. During this brief encounter the cows didn’t run or shy. They seemed to just move enough to stay in the immediate proximity of the two barn yard characters. Island Boy tossed a short lanyard over the goat’s head and the goat in turn fell in behind him as if they’d been friends forever. Whatever step the goat took the burro followed in unison. The seven cows shambled along too, and Milo, watching, couldn’t stop chuckling at the unlikely scene.
Once all the four legged critters were safely enclosed Milo rode off and a few minutes later a gunshot reported that dinner had been found.
The next morning as the two men finished preparing their mounts and feeding the livestock a little grain, the goat, in a flash of reddish brown and white had jumped out of the brush pen like a whitetail over a tree fall. She obviously intended to join the cow hunt. As the two strange looking cow catchers ambled away the goat skipped and tripped playfully along behind them. The burro brayed out a trumpeting farewell, ending with hiccups of donkey laughter. Two of the cows mooed in agreement.
Milo and Island Boy had already discussed what to do with the goat and both agreed that there wasn’t much in their power they could do but shoot her, and they had no intention of doing that. They’d just let her decide what she wanted to do until she changed their minds, if at all. Two men and a goat was just a little bit stranger than three men and a passel of dogs that didn’t listen. So, off they went.
Turned out the goat was better and quieter than any catch dog and apparently spoke brush cattle real good. The goat would flap her ears then swing in the direction of what she was listening to and point the stray cows long before the men would hear them crashing around in the palmettos. Once they got within sight, the goat would bounce like a deer and come alongside the scraggly cows as if to whisper in their ears. The cows would immediately calm and soon other stragglers of the herd group would materialize out of the scrub and moo quietly as they approached. This was a cow catcher’s dream. No torn up, briar cut, arms, legs, and horse hide. No sweat, little rope work and no catch fight. They had been given a genuine, cattle pied piper. . . . “A Judas goat sho ’nuff!”
Every time they found cows and started back to the jungle corral, off in the distance the burro would bugle and the goat would bleat a muted salute back. Milo told Joe he thought they might be haints, good spirits so far, but a little scary and mysterious with their behavior, never-the less.
As Southern tradition had it, Milo had the ceiling of the porch on his house painted haint blue to ward off evil spirits. So, Joe suggested that when they got home, Milo lure the goat onto the porch with a carrot and if she wouldn’t come they’d know for sure. Well, they got home and the Judas goat remained the same independent, free spirit, wanting nothing to do with pen nor barn. The goat a nanny, found a pile of leaves under a big sweet gum and bedded right down. The jackass on the other hand, actually insisted on being inside the small barn. Over the next week he just came and went as he pleased. He took about ten minutes to figure out how to push up the barn door latch and ease open the door. Once he accomplished this, as he did whenever he did something unexpected, he brayed like a fog horn in a self-aggrandizing cacophony, which in turn was joined in chorus by cows, whinnying horses, chickens and geese from down the road.
The goat settled in and became friendly with Milo’s wife, boys and dogs. The family called her Judy for short and Liz made sure she got the trimmings from the vegetables and potato skins. Day after day, she ambled around the homestead and slept a lot in the shade. She kept the weeds and briar vines cropped down around the house and along the fence rows. And when a cow got loose and wandered down to the river or off into the woods she and her braying catch partner would be off to shepherd home the wanderer, noisily announcing their accomplishment as they walked, herded, and trotted zigzag, happily bleating and braying, back into the yard.
Then one day she disappeared and stayed gone. After a week, Milo began to wonder if maybe she’d taken up with other cow catchers out of boredom, or been caught by a panther, or penned up. Even the donkey was confused by her absence. He would walk out into the woods a quarter mile, stop and bray loudly and continue on and bray again until he was far enough away that you could just barely hear him. When he went on these excursions he stayed gone ‘til dusk and then trotted back home and into the barn where he’d lay down against the stacked bales of hay and empty burlap sacks.
One morning, about three months after the Judas goat had been gone the little jackass jumped up from sleep with a start. He flipped up the door latch and pushed through the door in a rush. He brayed as loud as he could, extending his neck and trumpeting skyward in the effort. Then he cocked his ears and moved his head slowly to one side. He stretched his head skyward and let go again with a mighty bray ending with the comical hiccupping. Then he took off at a gallop as if someone had dropped a hot coal on his rear. Out the gate and up the slight hill throwing dust and leaves in his wake, he went out of sight and made not a sound again.
Milo assumed that he must have heard stray cows. He’d done that recently and brought home three of Shep Izzard’s steers at lunch time that day. He told Liz over dinner, “Donkey went cow catchin’ this morning. He’ll probably bring home some of the neighbor’s stock. Or better yet, maybe he’ll catch us some wild cows. Now that would be great. I wouldn’t have to go cow catchin’ again. Just send the donkey!” - - - - - - - - They laughed.
The following morning as dawn eased the last vestiges of night aside, Milo heard an unfamiliar noise from the barn. One side of the double door was ajar, but that was nothing to be alarmed about since Donkey didn’t bother to close the door behind himself. Milo heard the noise again. He pulled the heavy door aside and Donkey was standing in front of him. Milo looked into the darkened interior and laying where Donkey usually did, against the hay bales on top of the old empty burlap was Judy. She didn’t get up or make a sound. Milo thought at first that she might be injured. As he walked slowly to her, she got up and he could see a tiny tail flicking back and forth just a few inches behind her back legs. Her milk bag was distended and the little kid was bumping and pulling on the nanny goat’s teat. Judy had brought them a handsome little doe kid and, “What’s this Milo thought.” There were two little doe goats - twins!
The little ones grew quickly and took to the children like they were all the same kind of kids. Over and over again Milo and Liz tried to coax Judy and her babies up on the porch with carrots, oats or fruit. And none of the three would come any closer than the steps. Each one would look up at the blue porch ceiling and dodge their heads and back away while staring upward. Even Donkey would not come near enough to the porch to see the blue ceiling. Wasn’t much doubt that there were three haints for sure and a haint accomplice, at least.
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