Looking for Juliet

This is the story of adventures of two people and two animals at our farm called “Alkyonis” (Greek for Tranquility.) The farm is big and has meadows, streams, a small forest, a lake and a big house. In farm live and browse fourty-two cows, a black angus bull, thirty calves, ten sheep, one ram and six Guinea chickens and of course our dog, a white American Samoyed with name of Snowflake who roams the place when we visit there. And now, let me start with the two people in the story: my grandfather whom I call Pappou (Gr. Grandfather) and myself, Igor. My Pappou is like me. He agrees himself, “We are of the same cloth, Igor!” he often repeats. He also is seventy years old, and that makes me sixty-one years younger! Just the same, he certainly has energy as much as myself. So we keep well with each  other. We both love adventure, learn new things, during the weekend we spend together. Pappou is a good teacher but my questions “keep him on his toes,” he says. We also enjoy visiting new places like Alaska; where we spent one month there two summers ago. But that’s another story.

We also both love thinking things out, “pondering the issues,” as he calls it. Most importantly, we both love animals, especially mammals; you know, the animals which just like us grow their babies in their belly and after delivering them they raise them giving milk and love. Pappou and I, like to observe them during our frequent weekend visits at the farm and we now believe they are just like us in many ways. For starters, they too know they are alive! Then they think. They also have shame, pride, love and affection for their children, their own kind and their friends, even from other species. They feel often very sad, lonely, or other times happy and playful. But then who cares? We humans are the smart ones who write the stories and make unfeeling rules often cruel to them. “At least in the past,” Pappou said, “But lately,” he added, “We are learning to pay attention to their needs and be kind to them. We are linked together,” he likes to say, “And what happens to them will also happen to us in the long run.” But back to the story and the two other heroes.

One of the animals in the story is a white Angora billy goat previously known as Pretty boy; and for a good reason. He has long curly horns jutting out on either side from the top of his head. He also has a long white coat, a beard like an old man’s and a heavy smell heavy to us, but “it smells like roses” to the female goats, pappou says. Pretty Boy soon after his arrival in lkyonis Farm, which as we shall see happened out of the blue, he looked very pretty with his white curls in the face. He was also curious as he made himself right at home among the other animals at the farm. We soon built him a small shelter for the night, because goats do not like to stay out at night. But then he became restless, wondering the meadows, beahing all the time looking for a companion. He even became very friendly with the small calves chuckling and snorting, sticking his tongue out, thinking perhaps they were creatures of his own kind. I renamed him Romeo. It was then that Pappou and I decided to find him his own well…. Juliet-Juliet is actually the last animal in the story. But first, about Pretty-Boy’s arrival; he was actually abandoned a few days earlier there in the middle of the night by its previous owner who was informed by a common friend that we were looking for a goat. The owner then took it upon herself to bring him to the farm. Beginning form her own farm beside a little town called Red Oak a few miles from our farm, she was announcing her traveling progress through complicated back roads. “This is Roberta Gaines!” She will announce in our answering machine at my grandparent’s house twenty miles away from our farm where she was heading.  “I am now twenty miles away from your place!” and she will hang up. Ten minutes later sure enough “This is Roberta Gaines and I am fifteen miles away and it’s growing dark!” Apparently, the lady was desperately determined to deposit Pretty Boy in our place, maybe she was fed up with his restlessness and she was eager to get rid of him “in a good family for free” as she earlier had put it. Eight messages and one hour later she finally did that! We never met Roberta Gaines, bless her heart! And we found Pretty Boy in the morning waiting for us among the animals. And now back to our efforts to find his Juliet. We started asking around. Many telephone calls later we finally took off on a Friday directly from my school for a place far away located somewhere several miles west of Charlotte, North Carolina. That is over 200 miles from my school! We traveled in our rickety farm jeep for several hours with the blinding, dipping sun in front of us, talking and telling stories to each other looking for a place named “” Catawba County Stockyards” where goat auctions are held every Friday night. We were happy and in a good mood, but as the night came and we were well past Charlotte, still looking for a Stockyard, it became a little of nightmare. Every kindly person we stopped and asked, pointed out west saying “eight miles more from here straight!” Just when we thought it was hopeless, here we were in the middle of the night at the middle of nowhere at last at the Catawba County Stockyards! We registered in a hurry, received a number and sat in a little wooden theater-like small place among other people. Presently, the auction began; the auctioneer with his sing-song voice will announce the name of the coming in the small enclosure in front of us numbered goat, its age and type. Ourselves, city-folks, as we were, looked a little odd around the other farmers and their families. “ten…ten…ten…fifteen…. fifteen,….teen…teen…. teen…teen….twenty…twenty….!!!: He will rapidly announce in loud voice, as each of the little goats will come in and then out, full of fear and bleating.

Finally, we both saw her! Number 33! A back, white and brown goat with curved horns straight back, nine months old- a female French alpine! We knew right away we have found Juliet. “Forty…forty…forty…fifty…fifty…fifty-fifty-five…fifty-five…”the auctioneer went. I got excited, and cried, “Pappou buy her!”  He raised his hand “do I hear sixty? Fifty-five once, fifty-five twice…Gone! He said. Juliet was ours! She was friendly and people friendly. Pappou said goats bond to their mother, even to people. She liked us from the beginning. She quickly sat in the back of the jeep while I fell asleep. I slept all the way back home. It has been a long day. The next morning Romeo and Julie met! It was love at first sight! They quickly approached and actually kissed each  other twice. Now five days later, Pappou told me Romeo and Juliet are together all the time jumping in the air or running around. They are happy with each other. We hope in May Juliet will have two kids. I cannot wait.


Igor Pediaditakis 7th grade
with a little editing from Pappou.

May 2002


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