Is This What She Meant By Rendezvous?!
"Bonita's in Labor! I see feet!"
Patty was on the second shift of drive-by goat monitors I had lined up for the day. The workshop was originality planned a good month before goat births were due, but the snowstorm that nailed the Northeast had us moving the date to whatever worked for the bulk of the students and the staff at Hubbard Hall. March 9th and 10th it was, and so I would be away for the bulk of two days with red circles drawn around them on the calendar. So I got friends to stop by and check on them. Yeshiva was there in the morning while I was teaching people the D scale. And I ran home at lunch. When I was there, just a few hours earlier Bonita was walking around, eating hay, and nickering like it was any day of the week. She showed no sign of being in early stages of actual pushing-hard labor. I knew if I didn't hear from them nothing was happening with the girls. But if a phone rang….
"I see feet! Front hooves and a nose! Here comes the head!!!"
My heart was racing. My head was pounding. I had seven fiddle students hanging on my every response and another hour of practice time left in the camp day. I wanted to be there but knew I couldn't. I was three miles away and the middle of a lesson. I called Yeshiva and told her about the birth and she said she wasn't worried about Bonita, just little Francis, and congratulations in her sweet, forever calm voice. Yeshiva was an Old Hat at this. I felt a lot more like Patty, all exclamation points and fuss and happy. So I hung up the phone, looked at my seven students, and asked point blank. "Who wants to go see a baby goat being born?"
We were at the farm in under ten minutes.
I ran inside to get the milk pail, towels, and baby bottle and then ran back towards the barn. Eight of us total stormed the joint, and Patty looked up smiling. At her feet was a beautiful little baby girl, still wet from birth but breathing and cleaned up from hay and Patty's attention. The farmer had delivered her, pulling her out gently while Bonita pushed. I hugged Patty and thanked her and wrapped the baby up in the towel to keep her warm. There were coos and pictures from the fiddlers and before long Bonita broke out into more cries and another water sack burst from her rear end....
This time Patty put up with my panic and excitement and terse words (I get bitchy when I get worried, sorry Patty, I love ya) but I pulled out the second little one and it was a big, healthy boy. It was a flurry of people and happy cries and little babies still warm from their mother, taking first wobbly steps and bleating for attention. Bonita licked and cooed, I hugged and smiled, and the Fiddlers didn't seem to mind having to start the next day an hour early...
When all was well and done I milked out a quart of Bonita's thick eggnog style colostrum and poured it into a little baby bottle I bought at Rite Aid. The little ones didn't know to suck yet, so instead of first meals we brought the babies inside the farm house. At this point and all Bedlam broke out. Nine people were in the house when Boghadair ran past everyone with a mouse in his jaws. Annie escaped and ran outside, people somehow caught her. Sheep were baaing at the ruckus. Merlin was yelling for hay. And in all this happy chaos the little babies got their cords cut and new belly buttons dipped in iodine. People patted backs and helped carry towels and milk pails and buckets. It was nuts. I was so happy.
It takes a village, it really does.
So now there are two healthy, perfect, amazing little baby goats asleep on an adult-diaper bed liner in a got crate in a living room with a wood stove. Every four hours they get a yummy meal. It's a pleasure having them here, and somehow it feels totally natural. Like they are end tables that always complimented the room. This is my life, and how I live it. Some folks search for the perfect coffee table book. I just accessorize with things that gnaw on coffee table books.
We named them Ida and Dorian, in honor of the fiddlers. I love that.