St Anthony of the Desert

Orthodox Christian Mission

Las Cruces, New Mexico

Fr Gabriel

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Ride suspended because of goats

I don’t know my goat breeds very well outside the usual handful you see everywhere.  I think these two were Oberhaslis, a very popular breed of dairy goat in America, but I am not sure.  They were on the road as I began my daily bike ride of 25-30 miles.  They were strays.  I couldn’t ride past them.  I called 911, got the local police station and told them the whereabouts of the goats and asked for them to call animal control.  She said they’d send a truck from livestock management.  So I tried to herd them, but they were too fast and wily.  They kept moving just out of my reach.  I guessed they were some young person’s 4-H project for the summer and I felt bad for the unknown youth and his or her missing goats.  Mostly I did not want these beautiful animals to get struck down on the road like so much road kill.

We had goats when I was young.  They fascinated my three year old self.  One was eventually struck by a truck in front of our house.  He died.  My brother was heart-broken.  Funny how these memories flash back when you are in a situation that resembles the one stashed in the back of your brain files.

Eventually animal control came, and I had to leave and ride home.  I hope they snared the goats.  I hope their owner gets them back.  They did have identification tags that you could read to find the owner – if you could catch them.

I got in only fifteen miles total today because of the great goat chase.  Not much road mileage, but a lot of memory mileage as I conjured up the home of my youth out in the country roads that have now simply been swallowed up as suburban Philadelphia and Bucks County.  Both kinds of mileage are good, one for your body and one for your soul.

May your memories be as kind to you as mine are to me.  Reminds me of the line in the prayer at the bowing of the head at Vespers:  “Guard them at all times, both during this present evening and in the coming night, from every enemy, from all adverse powers of the devil, from vain thoughts and from evil memories.”*  Amen.

*Translations may vary.  This wording is in the 1983 Vesper book from St Tikhon’s.

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