Y LIFE HAS never been typical. I did not grow up in a large city with street lights and paved roads. I did not even grow up in a small city. I grew up in the microscopic town of Ganado, Texas. My town was large in square acres, but had about as many people as a Wal-Mart Super-center on a Saturday afternoon. We call ourselves “Ganado Potatoes,” because the potato is the most popular crop in our farms. The name doesn’t rhyme when folks from the city pronounce it, but to us it is just as much of a rhyme as “cat” and “hat.”
While most other families were growing their potatoes and other various kinds of crops, my family and I had a more unique kind of farm; we had a goat farm. Not regular goats, though. We raised fainting goats. Fainting goats are the same as normal, more widely known goats, but they have a unique characteristic. If you run up to one and stomp your foot on the ground near them, their legs and body stiffen, and they fall right over.
They would often startle each other in the stampede causing a chain reaction of fainting animals.
Every morning, I gladly awoke at five in the morning, snapped on my heavy dark denim overalls, slipped into my leather steel toe boots, and walked over to the farm to perform my daily routines. I first had to pressure wash the goat’s food and water buckets to clean them of any bacteria. My Ma always said that if a fainting goat’s food and water is not completely free of germs, the goat’s legs and body will not stiffen all the way, and he will break his neck when he falls down. I, personally, always thought of the rule as a myth, but I had to follow my Ma’s orders. I then refilled their water buckets and their food buckets with the vilest smelling and most unappetizing slop one could imagine. It looked and smelled as though a human ate an entire barrel of raw potatoes, threw it up, then a wild boar came behind them and did the same. Needless to say, it was one of my least favorite jobs. After gladly finishing the task, I got to let the goats out of their barn. Even though I grew up on the farm, it never got old watching the goats run out of their night-time home. They would often startle each other in the stampede causing a chain reaction of fainting animals. After they revived themselves, I watched as the goats hustled over to the food and water to eat their breakfast, once again, causing a chain reaction of fainting. Once they recuperated, I had to carefully walk over, without frightening them, and brush their fur and teeth. When I finished grooming every animal, I was able to walk home, shower, and get ready for my day of schooling while my Ma and Pa worked on the farm.
I was always so proud of my goats. They were a bit of a tourist attraction in my home town. There were people from all over the country that had heard from other locals about my family’s farm. They would stop by, pay an admission, and receive a tour of the farm. My Ma was the tour guide showing them the barn, the horrific slop, the place where my Pa milked the goats every morning, and finally, the goats. An opportunity to witness the goats fainting was, of course, the true reason our visitors paid to be admitted. Men and women of every generation would run full force at the poor, defenseless goats, nearly tripping over their stiffened, fainted bodies. They would go into hysterics laughing so hard at the unusual creature. Seeing folks appreciate the work my family and I put into raising the animals, made me happier than a puppy with a treat.
Sadly, like all good things, my blissful, entertaining life on the fainting goat farm had to come to an abrupt end. When our nation’s economy took a turn for the worse, my family was hit hard. People no longer wanted to “waste” money on unnecessary things such as our farm. My family had no choice but to sell our beloved home and start a new life elsewhere. Though I do not live on the farm anymore, and I never will be able to again, I will never forget the wonderful times I spent with the adorable, hilarious creatures I shared a majority of my childhood with.