Monday, March 05, 2007

It's Been A Full Year... 

...Since our family lost a true patriarch when my Grandfather Harold Widegren passed away. I've missed him greatly in this past year, as have all of our family members. As a sort of tribute, I'm going to repost a story about him which I originally shared on this blog in February, 2004, one that hopefully will bring laughter and joy on such a sad anniversary.
...The folks across the street from my Grandparents raise animals for slaughter (and other forms of amusement). This particular family are never without a number of chickens, some cows and a handful (or so) of goats. Specifically, it is them damned goats which cause the most trouble due to the fact that they simply have a nasty disposition. Additionally, they seem to be able to defeat whatever crude means of restraint that their captors choose to employ on them. As such, the goats routinely wander across the road to my grandparents' yard to chew up whatever they can get their vile little goat teeth on. Some years ago, the goats' bitey targets included a very nice garden that my Grandfather had planted and lovingly maintained. He complained loudly to his neighbors about the goats and their eating habits to no avail. Finally, after several destructive episodes, the neighbors conceded that something had to be done. If the goats wandered into my grandfather's yard again, he was given carte blanche to shoot them.

The goats, of course. He could shoot the goats. No shooting the neighbors, not even a little...Anyhow...

The reason that my grandfather's neighbors were so cavalier about passing out the license to kill was that them goats were scheduled to die anyway. Indeed, since the goats' sole purpose was to be raised for the slaughter (and since they were nearin' "slaughterin' size"), why not kill two birds with one stone? My grandfather would get the satisfaction of avenging his considerable property damage at the hands of these vile creatures and the neighbors would get to use the goat meat and goat bones and whatever else come out of dead goats for...Well, whatever people use goat things for. As should be expected, however, there were two minor snags in this seemingly clever plan: My grandfather didn't own a gun, nor was he aware of the "goat usage" intention of his neighbors.

The very next day following the goat death pact agreement, the goats once again freed themselves to feast on my grandfather's garden. Seeing this, my grandfather sprung into action, seizing the larger male goat which he then tied to a tree. Remembering only the basic directive of "kill the goat" from the previous day, but lacking any sort of firearm with which to accomplish such a task, grandpa quickly visited his garage, returning only with a shovel. The account of what happened next comes straight from my then 76 year old grandfather:

"I looked at the goat and it looked back at me...Then I brought up the shovel and came down on his head, square and hard. So hard, in fact, that I broke my shovel. Damn goat broke my shovel. And he didn't die straight away, either...Just lay there on the ground, lookin' up at me, moving it's hooves and going 'eee, eee, eee'...Well, I figured I had to finish the job, so I grabbed the handle and proceeded to beat this goat the rest of the way dead. Part way through, I saw my neighbor pull into his driveway so I dragged the goat behind the garage where they couldn't see. I buried the goat there when I was done."

"You...Uh...Buried it?" I asked.

"Behind the Garage." he replied.

"Don't you figure they would've liked to use the carcass? After all, I figure that's why they said you could shoot it." I inquired.

"Never thought of that." he said. "Humph. Well, it's done now. Maybe they figured it just up and ran away."

They say that on certain nights in Grand Junction, when the moon is bright and full, you can see the broken spectre of a goat, bleating his final death-bleats in the pale moonlight behind a ghostly garage while a phantom homeowner takes whack after solid whack at him with an ethereal shovel handle. Some folks say that the ghostly goat has a shovel-shaped dent in his lifeless, spooky goat head and that the homeowner has a look of glee on his face as the scene plays out on it's spectral stage...But that may just be folks tellin' tales...

Or it may just be true...

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