I received word from my mother last weekend that one of our former family goats, Courtney, passed away.
Courtney the Goat (Photo from ClintJCL)
And you read that right– our family used to have goats. Circa 1995ish, we got two small goats to help eat all the poison ivy and brush in our yard. We had a male and a female. Originally my siblings and I pitched the names “Mickey” and “Mallory”, but once my mother realized the inspiration was Natural Born Killers, that idea got vetoed.
So we named them “Kurt” and “Courtney” instead– after Kurt Cobain and Courtney Love.
Like her namesake, I found Courtney the Goat to be very loud-mouthed, particularly that very first summer when she was young. I remember times I would be sleeping inside and awake to her crying at the top of her lungs. We would tie the goats up at different sections of the yard each day, so I thought maybe her leash was tangled. I would run out and discover that she was not tangled at all. She was complaining because she wanted to eat something that was just outside the scope of her range.
Meanwhile, I would look over and see that Kurt WAS tangled. He couldn’t even take a step in ANY direction. And yet he was quiet and as happy as he could be munching on the vegetation he could reach.
Courtney is also the reason I ended up getting poison ivy ON MY FACE. She liked to climb things and one day she climbed my Dad’s woodpile…and fell off into the vegetation behind it. So once again I woke up to her crying. I ran outside and found her stuck in all this brush behind the woodpile. I got on my hands and knees and crawled through a thicket of plants to retrieve her and bring her back to the fence (where she was free to find something else to complain about). I did not realize it at the time– But some of those leaves I was crawling through were poison ivy. Yeah, that was fun.
(It could be worse, I know at least two people who managed to get poison ivy on more private areas!)
I think my mother said she saw Courtney one day on the top of old tires looking down at the town at Occoquan and screaming– for no apparent reason. Sometimes, I think, she just liked to be heard.
And I can still remember the horror I felt standing on the Supreme Court steps at 3 AM with the goats and watching them both release their bowels RIGHT as a security guard approached. And goat poop! It’s crazy– the tiny, tiny, little black balls scattered with remarkable distance and contrast across the white marble steps. I scrambled and tried to gather up all the poop onto a single sheet of paper. I failed. Those stupid little balls kept rolling away! Luckily the security guard could care less about the poop. He just wanted to make sure the goats had a good home and weren’t crammed into an apartment in D.C.
Despite all her complaining (and pooping), I was fond of Courtney the Goat. She did put up with a lot from Kurt and she was so cute with her slender, dainty, physique. I liked watching her and Kurt buck up on their hind legs and head butt each other. I liked seeing what they would eat and they wouldn’t eat (Tostidos and cigarette butts were on the “Will Eat” list). And I loved watching her “talk” to my Mom– she would bleat when my mother called her name.
I think Courtney ended up with a very full life– first with my family in Occoquan and then later at the farm they moved to when my parents got a townhouse. And how many mammals out there get to say they pooped on the Supreme Court steps with no repercussions?
One of Courtney’s Accomplishments (Photo by Christopher Chan)
I’m glad for part of her full life, I got to be around. I’ll remember it as a time of wonderment and learning– getting to know the goats and watching all their antics. They are definitely interesting animals!
P.S. I would have better Courtney pictures for this post, but all my photo albums are 250 miles away!
P.S.S. These memories are how I remember them. If any of the details are incorrect, I’m sure my mother will correct me in the comment feed. 🙂