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Baa-Baa-Black Sheep


Growing up in Vermont, my family always had animals. We had a cat named Sir, then there was Frankie (he had blue eyes-so I named the first after Sinatra, then after a Bobcat got the Frankie, I got Frankie II..originality of a kid!)

There was a bunny named Funny Bunny,

then lots and lots of bunnies as we had a mating pair, a turtle named Harvey, lots of fish (I think we had two fish tanks), a guinea pig named Carmen, a dog named Ursa, then Bruno and Muttsy when Ursa had passed away, then we also had a black sheep named Chuck.

Now how we acquired Chuck was because of our father. He's always loved animals, and was always bringing them home at the request or the thought of pleasing of his 4 kids!

So one day he came across a sheep. It was almost a barter situation from what I remember. He had worked on someone's house and they had this sheep, so part of the deal was that he'd bring the sheep home to live and for his kids to play with.

We were all so excited, to have this black lamb. He'd be so little, cute, and fluffy! Ummm, but he wasn't little, cute, or even fluffy! He was a full grown male sheep with horns, still had his testicles, and was the devil incarnate! You think I'm joking, but I'm being totally serious. Needless to say he was really, really mean.

He was only afraid of

our father.

The rest of us, even mom were at the mercy of Chuck if he was roaming about, which he usually was. We would race the 50 feet to the car for school. We would plan on bolting out the front door to get into the car for safety before he realized his "prey" was outside. One day my 3-year old brother was not so lucky. After Chuck head-butted mom to the ground, Chuck laid into my brother and ran him over a couple times. After he had bloodied my brother, our father decided it called for the end of Chuck.

After that day, we sold Chuck to our neighbor Forest, probably just to be slaughtered. (Sorry Chuck, I don't blame you. You were a sheep, in Vermont, in winter, with your balls, and no lady friend....of course you were mean...I would be too!)

Anyway, I was relaying to a friend stories about my childhood animals, and images of Chuck came up. I relayed why Chuck was afraid of our father, as well as a game we used to play with him.

First, why Chuck was afraid of our father: It was summer, and as a family we would go get ice-cream in Woodsville, NH. This bigger town was about 20-25 minutes from our house. Yes, we were from a rural small town in Vermont, and that was 'the big city' for us. Chuck was outside since it was nice out, but we didn't want him to run away (at that point anyway). So we had a basketball pole, basically a large pipe filled with cement.....so it wasn't going anywhere. We used a heavy chain to tie Chuck to the pole.

We left, ate our ice cream, and drove back home. As we approached we saw our front door open and the chain was broken in two. We went into the house and there was sheep shit everywhere, and Chuck was sitting on the couch. Our father was livid. He picked up Chuck by his back hair, and threw him off of the porch and onto the front yard. (I'm sure we got many laughs at the thought of Dad chucking Chuck. How much chuck could our father chuck if our father could chuck Chuck?)

Then there was the game: So our father had parked his old school red tractor in the front driveway. My cousin's were at the house, Chuck was roaming around, and we decided to play a game that involved Chuck as the enemy and the tractor as safety. (Kid logic, use what you have and make a game of it.)

So the game involved all of us kids (myself, two cousins, and my younger brother-not bloodied by Chuck yet). So we were on the tractor with a frisbee. Someone would throw the frisbee, someone would be designated to retrieve it, and beat it as fast as they could to our father's tractor. Now this seems doable, but remember Chuck was roaming around, hated us, and was super fast. Ever seen a male sheep run with crazy eyes at something to headbutt...super-fast!

So we needed a way to distract Chuck from the retriever. Let's all think.......Hmmmm......Ah-hah! We'll act like rodeo clowns! Our grandfather had taken us to a traveling rodeo the summer before. We'd seen it done, so we figured we'd add that into the game. So using that as inspiration, we decided the rest of us would act like rodeo clowns, hopping around, and get Chuck to chase us on the other side of the tractor than the frisbee was, leaving the retriever free to do her or his job.

We had a blast, but poor Chuck....I am sure he did not. How frustrating to not get those little shits!

As a an adult and one who believes strongly in karma and not harming anyone, this really bothers me. I also identify strongly with Chuck. He was not in an environment that allowed him to thrive, he was constantly frustrated, taunted by kids that distracted him from his mission....and what do a lot of people do when they are frustrated? Lash out!

I have always felt like the black sheep of the family. I am not traditional, never married, don't have kids, multiple move-in-boyfriends, have lived in 9 different states, chose music as my career, have never stayed at a job longer than 4 years, ​​has been a bartender since '07, then switched to a wine store-winery-and now back to a wine store.

(Growing up as a teetotaller I can't imagine my former self ever imagined that she would be pursuing her sommelier.)

Then I'm vegan, liberal, bike to save on gas, compost, (my realtor thinks my requests are crazy-"can't live here because I can't compost at this condo") recycle, believe in global-warming....the list goes on and on.

So yes, I still feel like the black sheep not just with my family, but also with society. I march to the beat of my own drum-I am an Aquarius after all. So I'll doan my pussyhat (Yes, I still wear one of my several options of colors everyday), read about what's happening globally, get so frustrated with what seems like 'no brainer' issues that I react, but unlike Chuck it will not be a physical reaction, just be a statement in order to promote thought in people I come across daily.

Because education is key, and promoting individuals to think about what is moral and not base their reactions just on what someone else thinks is where real change can happen. Vegan is good karma.....Cheers:)

#animals