Thursday, April 25, 2013

the goat who loved CBC


I've written a short story for my grandchildren. I was relieved when they laughed in all the right spots. (My grandson offered editorial advice. See if you can guess what it is.)
The opening sentences make a rather slow beginning, but I was thinking of illustrations as I wrote them.
My grandson has asked if there will be a Season Two.

I know the gratuitous use of CBC in the story may remind you of the Rollings Reliable Baking Powder story in Anne of Green Gables but it just made such an irresistible title.

The Goat Who Loved CBC

Near the ocean is a big city
and near the city is a town.
Near the town are rolling fields and farms
and one of the nicest farms of all belongs to the Nelson family.
They have a tall gray house with a porch on two sides.
They have a garden full of flowers and vegetables and a giant clump of rhubarb.
They have a pond and an apple orchard and a huge green barn.
The Nelson family have lived on this farm since Pops was a baby.
Pops is Matt and Valerie and Katie’s grandpa.
It was his idea to get a goat.
The Nelson farm is famous for its apples but they have animals too.
“That’s what farms need,” Pop said, and so three lambs politely nibble the grass beside the pond.
Two horses wander along the fence and watch the boys and girls riding their bikes on the way to school.
A little crowd of chickens scratch in the dust beside the driveway, and every spring, baby pigs splash in the mud beside the pond and ducklings bob around like corks on the water.
Pops saw a little goat at the auction in town.
He brought it home as a surprise.
Mom was surprised.
“A goat?” she gasped.
“I hope he won’t get into things and make a mess.”
Dad was surprised.
“Hmmmmm,” he said, staring at the little goat.
Matt and Valerie and Katie were surprised.
“Thank you Pops,” cried Matt.
“A friend for the lambs,” squealed the girls.
“Let’s call him Hector,” they chorused.
The goat looked surprised too.
Pops led Hector into the barn and found a spot for him to sleep.
The next morning as Mother stood by the kitchen window stirring pancake batter she saw something that made her gasp.
Hector was in the garden.
He had already gobbled up half a row of radishes.
Dad and Matt rushed outside and encouraged Hector to leave the garden.
“Hmmmmm,” Dad said frowning.
That afternoon, Dad and Pops fixed the fence.
The next morning as Mother stood by the kitchen window mixing up biscuits, she saw something that made her drop her spoon.
Hector was in the garden again.
He had already gobbled up half a row of lettuce and half a row of green beans.
Dad and Matt rushed outside.
The girls followed close behind.
Together they tried to coax Hector to leave the garden.
When Hector ran to the left, the girls followed him.
When Hector ran to the right, Matt was close behind.
When Hector skipped over the carrots and slid past the cucumbers, Dad waved a sack at him and shouted.
Pops brought a pan of apple peelings and called to Hector.
Hector skidded to a stop and walked primly out of the garden with Pops gripping his collar.
“The rodeo is over,” Pops said.
That afternoon Pops and Dad made the fence around the garden higher and added a latch to the gate.
The garden was safe but that week Hector got stuck in the mud beside the pond and caused a big commotion.
The next week, he made the lambs nervous by galloping back and forth and round and round.
The week after that, as Dad was working in the orchard he spotted Hector in the lowest branches of an apple tree crunching on any apple he could reach.
“That goat can climb like a…….like a goat,” sputtered Dad at dinner that night.
When Mother found Hector pulling the sheets off the clothes line the next afternoon, she didn’t laugh like the children.
“That goat,” she said grimly.
But Hector was just practicing. At least that’s what Pops said when he found Hector sitting inside the cab of the farm truck listening to CBC radio.
He had managed to work the latch open with his bony little nose and had nibbled the gear shifts and all of the little knobs on the dashboard. Pops always kept the radio tuned to CBC and Hector seemed to share his taste in music. Almost every day, someone would spot Hector relaxing in the truck, happily listening to the radio.
The locks on the old truck didn’t work so it was hard to keep Hector away from CBC now that he had learned to love it, and Hector didn’t seem to mind being scolded and chased out of the truck. Day after day he sat and listened to CBC as the battery of the old truck wore down.
It was Matt who suggested changing the station. “Maybe he won't like a different kind of music,” Matt suggested.
When Hector scrambled into the truck the next afternoon and nibbled the radio dial on, he was shocked. This was not the music he liked. He showed his displeasure by pressing on the steering wheel with his little hooves. The horn sounded again and again.
After that, Hector seemed to forget about CBC on the truck radio and found other things to do.
The summer days hurried by.
The garden grew lush and green and the children helped to dig up the potatoes and carry in the squash.
The lambs grew thick woolly coats.
The ducklings became big white ducks and flapped their wings in the late summer sun.
The apples grew large and round and sweetly red.
It was harvest time.
It was a lot of work to pick such a large orchard.
The green barn steadily filled with boxes until it could hold no more.
“The apples will be shipped out this weekend,” said Dad.
“We’ve really had a bumper crop,” grinned Pops.
“That barn full of apples is like money in the bank.”
But not quite so safe, as it turned out.
Pops and Dad left to help Uncle Clive. He had sprained his knee just before harvest and needed help to bring in his fruit too.
“Don’t worry,” said Pops. “Tomorrow morning, the buyer will be here with his truck to pick up all of our apples.
That night, as the children slept soundly under their quilts, a truck drove down the country road.
As Mother peacefully dreamed, the truck turned into the lane that led to the Nelson farm. It didn’t take long before it quietly rolled to a stop behind the big green barn.
By the pale light of the moon, two men slid silently out, and quietly closed their doors.
The engine of the truck softly purred.
Soon they were loading box after box of apples into the back of their truck.
These men were not the apples buyers.
They were thieves.
No one in the house had heard the truck.
No one in the house was wondering who had come to the farm in the dark of night.
No one in the house was awake.
But someone in the barn was awake.
Someone in the barn had heard the truck and was wondering who had come.
Hector.
When the thieves slid the heavy wooden doors open, Hector was watching.
When they began to load the apple boxes, Hector saw.
He hopped sideways twice and was outside in the cool night air.
He sniffed the bumper of the truck.
He wandered to the driver’s side and nudged the door open with his boney nose.
He scrambled into the truck.
Hector felt happy.
It had been a long time since he had relaxed in a soft seat and listened to CBC.
Hector nibbled the dials.
There was a whir and a blip and a beep.
Hector stared at the dials.
He wanted CBC.
He nibbled again.
On came the radio.
The loud music was soon making Hectors ears twitch.
This did not sound like CBC.
Hector was not pleased.
He hurled his pointy hooves onto the steering wheel in displeasure.
Bwonk, BWONK, BWONK!!!!!!!!!
Lights in the house sprang on.
The truck doors flew open.
Hector hammered the horn with his little hooves and threw back his head.
What happened next was hard to sort out later.
Perhaps the thieves thought Hector was dangerous.
Perhaps Hector thought the thieves were going to scold him.
One thing is certain though;
Everyone ran at once.
The thieves were not as familiar with the farm as Hector was.
They were not familiar with goats either.
Hector lowered his head and ran.
“Yow, ow,” yelled the robbers.
They floundered into the mud at the edge of the pond and Hector ran back and forth making a dreadful commotion.
Mother grabbed the phone. Two police cars and a farm truck were soon bouncing up the lane.
The cold, wet thieves went to jail.
The apples were safe and sound.
Hector was a hero.
Pops and Dad were astonished when they heard the whole story a few hours later.
“I knew that goat belonged on our farm,” crowed Pops.
“It’s a good thing after all that he learned how to get into the truck,” smiled Mother.
“It’s a good thing he’s a goat who loves CBC you mean,” laughed Dad.

2 comments:

CitricSugar said...

Just the right amount of whimsy. Lovely.

Peg said...

What a wonderful story! You need to be published (other than on a blog, I mean)!