People with brains, panache, or character. Sometimes all three.
"Do not ask, "what
or J. Alfred Prufrock in Texas
Let us go and eat a biscuit."
by Norman Conquest
Weimar goatherd and his drove. TE
We decided to
take a break from our writing. We were running a slight fever and
feared it might be the early stages of bucolic plague, which usually
hits us every spring. It is frequently misdiagnosed as the bluebonnet
We fed our medication
to the dogs and bluffed our way past security. We found some overalls
on a clothesline and just like in the movies, they were exactly
We headed straight
for Weimar, where it's still possible to get a 23-cent cup of coffee
and sit at a counter.
was my arroyo
Near the center
of town, we noticed a herd of goats, albeit a small herd. They were
brunching on elderberry shoots and tender spring sprigs of blood
weed. They had a weed-choked arroyo nibbled down to shallow-pile
carpet. Exposed slugs and snails were immediately eaten by a pair
of ducks. It's good to be a goat in Weimar in springtime.
Now for those
of you unfamiliar with blood weed, it is only slightly less aggressive
than kudzu*. If it were edible it would erase famine from the dictionary.
Had Jack's beanstalk existed, it would've been blood weed. Only
gravity and sap-flow prevent it from interfering with commercial
as they are, weren't given a huge cranial capacity. They don't know
that blood weed is inedible. To their ample palettes and unample
brains; they're eating snow peas or Belgian endive. Mulberry leaves,
they do know, however. Mulberry leaves are to goats what catnip
is to cats.
was a complete set of goats. The Billy had a set of formidable horns
and was tethered to a tire. He looked unhappy about his mileage.
His lone tire looked like it needed to be rotated, since it was
worn a little more on its south side. Every one of the others had
a small harness, which we're sure was helpful when the time came
to practice for the Weimar Iditarod.
scene was being directed by David Kraemer, who occasionally looked
up from his (just barely overdue) library book to check for coyotes.
ourselves, not because of our love for goats (which is a strong
love, we assure you) but because it has been years since we've seen
someone actually consult a book without yellow pages. We had to
know what it was.
To tell the
truth, we had been to town earlier and had been told by nodding
heads in Weimar that indeed, he has been seen reading in public
before, and not always the same book! Strange behavior is common
with foreigners. It's part of what makes them so - foreign. We were
told he was English.
Armed with this knowledge, we confronted him. His smooth yet forced
monotone led us to believe he was making fun of us. His American
"accent" was well polished. But then, in conversation he said the
word "drouth". We suddenly found ourselves talking to
a Texan and not an Englishman.
The ice broken,
the conversation flowed like a globally-warmed glacier. He showed
us the book's title. It was "Lives of the Poets." We couldn't make
out the "Arthur," but we think it was Stephen King. Isn't that exactly
what you would have a goatherd read?
Lives of the
Poets, we mean. No one wants a Goatherd reading Stephen King. Or
Henry Miller either.
A Fling in
a Far Flung Place
up in San Antonio and is well traveled. He has taught military dependents
in as far-flung places as Crete (now known as Crete) where he met
his wife Susan. When the Air Force transfered her to Germany, David
transfered himself to be with her. She is now a Weimar Physician.
were not advance scouts for a traveling cabrito restaurant, Mr.
Kraemer proceeded to introduce us to Carlotta, Genevieve and the
others. The Billy was Weed Eater, who was half of the Duo "Weed
Eater and Round Up."
We didn't see
Round Up. Naming a herbivore after a herbicide might seem prophetic
to superstitious folk. We didn't want to know, so we didn't ask.
David didn't tell.
among the goats
The two ducks
were year-old Easter survivors - former pets of a neighbor's children.
We spoke with
David about the gliding ability of geese, and about fruit trees
and pickle factory relics in the Weimar museum. Conversations like
this are what we live for.
It's good to
know someone is reading "Lives of the Poets" in Weimar, and it's
good to know that Genevieve, Carlotta and friends have plenty to
eat. We left Weimar knowing that David would soon return his book
although he would probably read again. We also knew that Weed Eater
would get a new tire eventually.
Weimar is lucky
to have this herd of happy herbivores and if other towns would relax
their animal ordinances just a little, we might just get out from
behind The Bloodweed Curtain, to say nothing of the money to be
saved on tractor blades.
A recent drive
to Weimar found the rotation of goats from the farm to town in progress.
Round-Up is healthy as a horse and three sets of twins were frolicing
as fast as they could. David says his route to the farm passes the
Jeddo homestead of The
Monroes, proving once again it may be a small world, but it's
still a big state.
*Kudzu is a very aggressive vine that covers the states of Mississippi,
Alabama and the scenic parts of Georgia. Imported from the Orient,
it was supposed to be used as cattle feed. Why they didn't bring
it to Texas, where the cows are, is beyond us. It has been known
to cover entire communities like camouflage netting and there are
rumors that descendants of elements from Hood's Brigade still reside
outside of Chattanooga, under a blanket of Kudzu.
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