So we're onto story number two in the 'Jiminy Grows Up' saga.
Story number two is a story of all the pets that came and went. And no I'm not going to bore you with stories of crappy little dogs that were so cute and oogie woogie baby shnookums, who's a little bubby wubby that shits on the floor so cutesy... No, none of that bullshit.
Growing up on a farm you're privy to more than the usual selection when it comes to pets. Sure I had cats, dogs and goldfish but I also had leeches, cows, sheep, a fox, random birds and so on..
So we'll kick it off with the cats. Nothing too exciting here. Most of our cats were feral cats we found somewhere on the farm. As such, most were insanely aggressive and would go from brushing against your leg to leaving claw marks in your scrotal regions for no reason. I don't know what happened to them all though. One got bitten by a snake and died. Another disappeared for a week, then randomly appeared halfway up a tree a few kilometers from our house. We still have that one. It eats alot of bugs. The rest must have exited with no real fanfare...
We went through alot of dogs. Previously I'd portrayed my dad as someone who was into animals, someone that would go above and beyond the call of duty to save a drowning sheep, or rescue a butterfly or whatever.
Well scratch that, because now I'm going to portray him as he really is; A vicious killer.
Dog Number One: This was a playful, intelligent blue heeler that got excited about anything be it a shoe, a dragonfly or a tractor. It also had a penchant for sitting in the back of the ute and leaning out around the side. I told dad I didn't think the dog should be leaning out so far, but he gave me the 'Nah, it's fine!'. So I shrugged and assumed that dad knew best. As you have to when you're a child.
One day I come home from school and find out the dog's fallen out of the back of the ute and been squashed. I was shattered. I screamed at dad that I had told him this would happen. He looked at the ground, obviously upset for the loss of the dog. That was the end of Dog Number One.
Dog Number Two: This was a crazy, hyperactive kelpie puppy. It was rather fond of snapping at the wheels of anything that came close by- Tractor, motorbike, car, ute, bmx, anything. Again, I pointed this out to dad and suggested he tell it off should it continue it's dangerous ways. "Nah, it's fine!" I was told. Hmm... ok... I thought.
One day I get home from school. Mum somberly told me that Dog Number Two had been squashed whilst snapping at the tyres on the tractor that dad was driving. Again, cue yelling at dad. So that was the end of Dog Number Two.
Dog Number Three: A brand new border collie/kelpie cross. This was a playful little pup. Unfortunately, it too enjoyed chasing anything on wheels. Again, I told dad to berate it if it kept doing it. And he said... 'Nah, it'll be fine!"
A few weeks later. A very guilty looking dad tells me he ran over it on the motorbike.
I think that sums up the dogs. Also, I've stopped calling dad 'The Dog Killer' as I can tell he feels really guilty about having three dead dogs on his conscience.
Or more accurately, the steer. Larry was a tender hearted steer, orphaned at a young age and cared for by us. He was awesome. You could feed him, pat him and he would even let us ride him whilst he strolled about munching grass. Larry's downfall was that he was too attached to humans, so when we'd put him down the paddock with the rest of the cows he's see the lights of our house at night and would jump fences and walk through channels to come up and stomp around our verandah. Which became a pain, but wasn't too much of an issue.
Our laundry was a little weird and the only way to get to it was by walking outside as the laundry door only opened onto the verandah.
One fateful evening Larry was longing for some human interaction and came trundling up to the house. The laundry light was left on and thinking this would be his best option for getting some attention he decided to venture in.
Then came the mayhem. The only explanation we could come up with was that as Larry walked into the laundry, he bumped the door which swung shut behind him.
We heard what sounded like a wrecking ball wrapped in a mad cow and we got up and ran outside to see what all the commotion was about. Dad opened the door and then jumped back out of the way.
Now, as you all know, cows weren't blessed with particularly nimble extremities and with no way to open the door, poor Larry had panicked.
And by panicked, I mean shat all over everything.
So this mad animal comes hurtling out of the laundry, covered in a foul, slick green and takes off along the verandah and into the backyard.
We peered through the door.
Being a laundry, it contained numerous whitegoods; a washing machine, a dryer, a chest freezer and the hot water system.
These were now greengoods. The entire laundry was covered in smears of green cows shit.
There was even splatters halfway up the wall. "How does a cow shit up there?" Mum had asked.
A mass cleanup ensued as dad took the motorbike and escorted Larry back down the paddock.
After a few hours of scrubbing vomit-inducing shit off every surface in the laundry, we were all sent to bed. Mum was not happy. When dad got back from escorting the green beast, I heard mum having very stern words with him. Then I drifted off to sleep.
Life went on, I had school the next day and there was other things to worry about. After about a week, I noticed we hadn't seen Larry for a while.
"Where's Larry?" I'd asked dad.
"Oh... um.... he's... Ask your mother."
Which I did.
Mum responded to my question by taking me out to the now clean and sanitary laundry.
Opening the previously green chest freezer, she gestured inside.
Gazing in, I saw a massive stack of plastic bags with little stickers on them.
I gasped as it dawned on me.
The freezer that had once been coated in Larry was now full of Larry.
"There's Larry." Mum said, grinning.
A few days after 'The Greening', Larry had been sent to the abattoirs and mum had the local butcher reduce Larry to bite size meal form.
As the immensity of the situation sunk in, I swallowed hard and vowed to myself that I'd never ever shit anywhere other than the toilet.
Thinking back, it could have been quite traumatic for a developing child to eat his former favourite pet. And it would have been, had I not had other things to worry about...
Eggbert was the best pet ever. A merino lamb, abandoned by it's mother. A runt, if you will. Eggbert was found lying half dead in a paddock. We took him home, fed him milk formula and raised him up into a big strong lamb.
He played with the dogs and would come up for pats. It was like 'Babe' but a sheep instead of a pig. When we'd go to bring in all the other sheep, Eggbert would run along beside me on the motorbike, bumping around with the dogs, completely oblivious to the fact we were bringing all his fellow sheep in to be trucked off and slaughtered.
Life was good. Eggbert was happy. I was happy. Then one day Eggbert disappeared.
"Where's Eggbert dad?"
"Oh, we had to umm... send him off... with the rest of them."
My jaw dropped. So again, my parents had sent one of my pets off to be slaughtered.
"But he was a pet!!!" I shouted.
"Yeah, well what were you going to do with a pet sheep? It's just going to shit everywhere and when it gets older, you're not going to look after it."
Having just lost Dog Number Two recently, I retorted.
"Well, for starters I wouldn't have run over it."
Best call by a 9 year old ever. Or so I thought at the time. Moments before I rushed off and cried.
Next story: More tales from the farm. Or something. Unless I change my mind.
If you're sick of hearing about my childhood, please say so and I'll think of something more interesting to write about.
Or if you don't want to hear anything from someone who once called a pet Eggbert, I'll understand.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
So we're onto story number two in the 'Jiminy Grows Up' saga.
Poorly articulated by jiminycricket at 6:52 PM