Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Skin Deep

Well, after a few years of seeing baby goats born every year you start to notice the family traits. All of my offspring are beautiful and smart, for example. In Brandy's LaMancha kingpin family, many of the kids have the same habit: they like to stand at the door and grab the sliding bolt with their teeth, sliding the bolt back and forth incessantly so that it makes a clacking sound.

Wronny will slide the bolt until the farmer yells at her to stop. You don't even notice the bolt noise any more until you hear the farmer yelling: "Knock it off, Wronny!" The farmer doesn't even look to see who's doing it. When it goes on forever like that, it's always Wronny.

The Nubians are universally puzzled. Their puzzlement spans all the generations.

In the April family, there is never a generation that goes by that at least one kid doesn't get April's beautiful face. First Mabel had it, then Cammy had it, then Biscuit had it, and this year little pink Hermy has it.

And that brings us to the exception that may or may not prove the rule, although we are starting to think there may not be any rules. But anyway: Big Orange.

Big Orange is tall and elegant and orange and shy and retiring and unfailingly sweet. She is a pacifist, above all. She is the Gandhi of goats. Whenever there is any kind of line she runs immediately to the end of it; she would never think of cutting in front of anyone.

This morning, Winnie, who thinks she is all that and likes to swagger around pushing everyone out of her way even when she isn't going anywhere, came up to Big Orange and stood in front of her and for some reason didn't t-bone Big Orange but instead got a sleepy look.

Big Orange kindly began kissing Winnie's head and cleaning the top of it in a cheerful and solicitous manner, even though 99% of the time Winnie only comes up to Big Orange because she is planning to take her lunch money.

Anyway, Big Orange is a saint.

Now Big Orange had a daughter, a little orange daughter that we are calling Tangerine right now while we mull over some of the excellent name suggestions we have received. Tangerine looks just like Big Orange. She is slightly less orange, and has slightly shorter ears, but really those are the only differences. Any person off the street would be able to walk in here and pick out Tangerine as Big Orange's daughter.

But Tangerine is the OPPOSITE of Big Orange. Tangerine is the angriest baby goat in the world. She is like one of those terrifying human babies that people have sometimes where everyone tiptoes around looking ashen and whispering, "don't wake the baby! Please GOD, don't wake the baby!"

When the farmer goes out in the morning with bucket of milk for the big babies, Tangerine - who is the smallest of the big babies - comes like a BAT OUT OF HELL for the bucket, shrieking the whole way like a fire engine and flinging her body against any obstacle, animate or inanimate, that gets in her way.

Almost entirely because of Tangerine, the big babies are now referred to as The Piranhas. When she isn't hungry, or shouldn't be hungry because her belly is like a beach ball, Tangerine still shrieks like a fire engine whenever she sees a human or any other entity she thinks might be capable of milk propulsion. We cannot figure out why, but she seems to think she can somehow stockpile milk for future use, and that screaming is the best way to make powerful friends.

When in the few moments a day she overcomes her milk monomania, she is gregarious to the point of being annoying, chewing hair, lap hogging, prancing and dancing and making a show of herself. Again, the opposite of her mother.

Oh well. What can you do? Sometimes the orange is truly orange and sometimes the orange is only skin deep.