Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Pox, The Loaves, The Fishes, The Fat Girls

I do not like to complain but we have had a tough row to hoe lately, what with the goat pox, which eventually spread almost everywhere and struck down almost everyone, including me (how unfair!) and most of my Nigerian relatives.

Most of us really couldn't care too much about it except it is kind of a pain. The Nubians didn't notice it, I don't think, and the LaManchas only had very mild cases. But a few of the goats were miserable, including Cammy who had a nasty pox blister right under her eye, but especially all of the Toggs and Togg crosses.

For some reason they were hit very hard. Penrose was miserable and got lots of sympathy until her daughter Lucy got the pox, then she was shunted aside because Lucy had the worst case of all, much worse than Penrose. But even Eo was under the weather.

The only ones who didn't get it were the fat girls. The fat girls have their own separate shed where they are served a complete bread and water diet. Just kidding about that, they don't get any bread. It is a maximum security facility with no outside contact or grain-smuggling visitors, and that's why it remained pox-free. They just get little dry twigs of grass hay, like something you would throw in the bottom of a hamster cage. Every day they stare at the feeder in disbelief - is this a joke?

Then they gobble the dry sticks like mad, like the old Catskill Mountains vaudeville routine - the food here is so terrible! And such small portions! If it is their birthday they get a leaf of chard as a special treat. You think that is a joke but food is so scarce in there that they fight over the chard when they see it coming. The ground shakes, believe me. If you have never seen a chard riot, it is really something.

The fat girls are Breezy, Tubster, and Snow Pea. Not to say there aren't other fat girls, but these three are the ones who have gone beyond the pale. Tubster in particular from a very young age has been remarkably spherical. No amount of dieting reduces her; somehow she is able to skip the step of digesting and gain weight just by thinking about food. It is kind of a miracle, like the loaves and fishes, only in reverse.

Or something like that.

Anyway, now that we are starting to come out of the end of the pox tunnel, everyone looks a little brighter. I don't want to jinx anything but still - STILL - there are three goats who have never gotten the pox, in spite of living right at the center of the outbreak. Two of them are mother and daughter. The other is probably just too dumb to catch anything. I won't say who they are, but you probably know.

Don't worry, unless I decide to do another one, this will be my last post on the tiresome subject of the pox.