This first picture is of my dad, Jim Craig, and Rosalie and Shirley Hawes. The second is of my grandson Colton riding a goat. I can’t find a picture of the actual goat this story is about. His name was Billy The Kid. That was a good name for him because as it turned out he was a little bit of an outlaw!
The following story was published in The Western Ag Reporter several years ago in my column I had with them called Backhome.
I can remember the day so clearly when Billy came to live with us. Our children, Dustin, Holly, and Mindy were 9 ,6, and 3 years of age. We were visiting my parents. As we were walking up the steps, in front of all 3 kids, my Dad told me and Mike that he had a surprise for the grandkids; another “little kid.” Then he brought this little goat around the corner.
I could see my husband’s eyes saying, “No way in —-!” But his mouth just said, “Gee, thanks, Jim!” The kids were jumping up and down and loving on that little goat like he was the most amazing thing they had ever seen.
Billy came home with us that day. I have to admit that even I thought he was adorable. I envisioned Mike building a little goat cart for Billy to pull the kids around in. He was going to be so much fun!
Fun? Well,……memorable may be a better word description for Billy. Mike had a few descriptive names for Billy that I can not share. He never saw his charm. It took the rest of us a little longer.
Mindy, our youngest, had a special bond with Billy. No matter what Billy did, no matter how many times Dad threatened to take him to the sale yard, she would defend him and plea his case. When we first got him, she was just barely three. Billy seemed to sense how small she was and was never really rough with her. But every time he saw her, he would drop his head, and give her a little butt, just enough to make her lose her balance. She would get up mad, and scold Billy. He would stand there a minute and take it, then cock his head from side to side, as if to say, “Ah, you know I love you!” and then bounce off.
Billy had a tremendous appetite. He liked anything; my flowers, my garden, the kids’ homework, the leaves off the lilac trees, the clothes on the line. He ate anything and everything! But Mindy continued to defend him. On her fifth birthday we got her a blue bike. It had a white basket with pretty plastic flowers. She loved that bike. One day she came outside to see Billy eating the last of her plastic flowers. She was ready to help load him in the trailer!
We had a dinner bell by the front door. I was busy in my sewing room and the kids were all out in the yard playing. I heard the bell and came to the door and no one was there. I went back into the sewing room and the bell rang again. I opened the door and no one was around. The third time, I’d had enough. I crouched down by the office window waiting to catch my trouble maker, and here came Billy on a dead run! He jumped up on the steps, grabbed the bell string in his mouth, rang the bell, and then jumped off the step and around the corner!
Another time I answered the door and a neighbor man was there to see Mike. Billy ran through the opened door, about knocking him down, stopped right in front of him, pooped on my floor, and ran back out. The neighbor looked up at me and smiled, and said “Good trick!” He laughed. I didn’t.
One day we were going to town. We walked out to the car and there was Billy doing a little jig on the car hood! That was the day Billy went to the sale yard. Mike had won.
Although I can’t find a picture of Billy, this picture of Colton riding his goat, and Dad with his little goat and cart, and any picture I see of a goat, always brings back memories of our Beloved Billy.