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story.lead_photo.caption SubmittedThe columnist’s husband’s nurse, Michelle Perry, snaps a selfie with her goat, Rosie.

We became friends with one of David's nurses during this past year. She helped make a rough time a little easier, and we looked forward to seeing her several times a week. Before we knew her name, David just called her Sally. She is a kidder, and a good sport, so she went along with it. Later, when we found out her name was Michelle Perry, we nicknamed her Sally Michelle. She is also a country girl and recently started adding to her little farm family. She may not have known at first how little goats, with those sweet little eyes, can steal your heart, but she knows now!

Many years ago when our boys were still at home and we lived on the farm, we had all kinds of animals and fowl. One thing we never had, or even thought about having, was goats. Then we went to several church outings where people brought sheep or goat meat for our barbecue.

David said, "I think I'll buy a couple goats from someone I know, bring them home and fatten them up to butcher."

(I thought, that's pretty tough talk for a man who buys 300 baby chicks to raise for fryers, then lets them die of old age!)

Well, here he came one evening from work, opens up his pickup camper and out jump two big-eyed, pretty little black and white goats.

"We are not going to name them," he announced sternly.

Hmm. Sounded like a little quavering in his voice. I wonder if he was talking to me and the boys or himself?

We tied them up so they wouldn't run away. We figured we would tie them here and there to eat grass. I don't know how they do it, but did you know goats know how to untie ropes? And it didn't take long until we realized they don't run off — in fact, you can't even run them off! They would stand and look at me through our screen door. I would chase them away into the woods with my broom, and somehow they would beat me back to the house. It sure got exasperating.

David has always loved to grow flowers, and we had invested in several kinds of flowers and rose bushes. Did you know goats love flowers, too? It was only a short time until David's beautiful flower garden was as barren as a desert.

It's pretty hard to believe, but they will also pull clothes off the clothesline.

One day as we were returning from church, one of the boys said in a frightening tone, "Dad! Mom! Someone is sitting in our car!"

As we got closer, we could see it was one of the goats sitting in the drivers position. I had left the window partially down, and he had managed to get in. We all had a laugh over that. As aggravating as they was, we were getting pretty fond of them.

Our oldest son, Daniel, had just gotten old enough to get his drivers license, and he had worked and saved and bought his own first car. He was very proud of his Pontiac Firebird. He kept it parked where he could look out the window and see it.

One evening as we were eating supper, Daniel laughed and said, "Look at the goats on our woodpile."

We always had a huge wood pile as high as the house. They were prancing around and Daniel laughed when they jumped on his dad's truck. Then David said, "Take another look, son."

Daniel's face went kind of white when he saw them stepping on his new car.

The goats were becoming quite a nuisance and the time had come we needed to do something, but what? The thought of eating them now was unthinkable. We gave it some thought then David was elected to give them away at work. So without a lot of fanfare (we couldn't look them in the face and tell them they had to go), David loaded them and took them with him. The man asked David if he had any advice.

"Yeah, if you don't want to keep 'em, don't take them home," he said.

We never heard, or asked, what happened to the goats. But if you've never been around a little goat, or looked into their sweet little eyes, you probably won't understand. They are so lovable, but they will eat up everything you have.

As of now, Michelle has three Nigerian Dwarf goats, and yes, they are named (Stella, Luna and Rosie). They are triplets. The last two, Jazzy and Baby Blue, are fainting goats.

I smiled when someone asked if she was going to butcher one. I can tell you now, speaking for our friend Michelle, these babies will never be on the table — well, unless they climb up there. Michelle said all five of them are in a contest to see who can holler the loudest when she leaves and when she gets home. She says, "I just love them!" And it sounds to me like the feeling is mutual.

David knows every year when we go to the Missouri State Fair I will be headed for the goat arena. They are always there with their big soft eyes, waiting to get their heads patted. They are so easy to get attached to that you forget all the trouble they can be. I always leave thinking, "If we ever move back to the farm "

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