Midlife Musings: Nancy Knight
“Beatrice needs to see the doctor,” my wife Laura said, her voice filled with concern.
“Oh, no!” I cried. “Is our baby hurt? Is she sick? What’s going on?”
“She’s got a terrible limp,” she replied. “She can barely walk. I hope we can get him out here soon.”
I shook my head with worry — both for Beatrice’s health, and for the anticipated expense of this medical house call.
Yes, there are doctors who still make house calls. Because Beatrice is not our daughter, not in the traditional sense, anyway.
Beatrice Our Goat:
Beatrice is our goat.
We brought home an infant Beatrice and her half-sister Nigella nearly four years ago, at a point in our lives where we were in desperate need of cheering up — and I can tell you that top scientists concur (my wife is a top scientist, by the way) that nothing will cheer you up faster than an adorable baby goat.
“So, yes, anything bringing pain to our beloved goats was a cause for anxious fretting.”
They are like barn puppies, little energetic balls of joy and happiness, moving from here to there not at a trot or a walk or a run but always in an ecstatic playful hopping bound. Add to that the fact that we were bottle-feeding them, gazing into their adoring eyes while they sucked down their milk, and our love for them both was immediate and deep.
They’re now nearly four years old, and while they no longer locomote across the pasture exclusively in hops but now walk with something approaching serene dignity, they’re still wonderful, much-loved members of our family.
Our Beloved Goats:
So, yes, anything bringing pain to our beloved goats was a cause for anxious fretting. And the idea of having to fork over the dollars to pay for Beatrice’s care only stoked the fretting further.
But what did NOT cause anxiety was the thought of seeing her vet. (Author takes a moment to fan herself.)
You see, Dr. Abraham (not his real name, for obvious reasons) is what you might call a total smoke show. His chiseled features belong on a movie screen, not in a smelly livestock stall. He body-builds in his spare time and it shows, with the tight fit of his scrubs around his bursting biceps.
And the capper is that he ends every visit to our barn by, and I’m not kidding, stripping and showering outside the back of his vet truck — ostensibly to get all the farm germs off before his next patient call, but I swear he looks like Jennifer Beals in Flashdance while he does it. Yes yes he really only strips off his oversuit and boot-encompassing galoshes, but still, ladies, he strips them off. And showers.
Goats’ Annual Checkup:
I know what you’re thinking. You are confused. “Didn’t she mention a wife?” you’re wondering. “Isn’t this woman married? And gay?” Details, details — yes we are two gay ladies but every time Dr. Abraham comes over we all but question our sexuality, turning to each other, confused—“We… we ARE lesbians, right?”
“I’m well aware that I’m a mature post-menopausal woman dangerously close to 60.”
Well, during Dr. Abraham’s previous visit, we were soundly put in our place for thinking outside the boundaries of marriage and sexual preference.
I’m well aware that I’m a mature post-menopausal woman dangerously close to 60. Still — I don’t know about you folks but I think in my own head I’m frozen in amber at somewhere between 27 and 35, and anything that brings to my attention the jarring reality that it just ain’t so comes with a bit of a shock — like, well, the following.
During the goats’ annual checkup a few months ago, Dr. Abraham happened to mention during our sexually charged intimate banter — Okay I really meant during the time-filling chitchat while he poked and prodded a goat butt, he mentioned that he had gone to Cornell University for his undergrad degree.
“US TOO!” we both squealed like schoolgirls, batting our eyes, each of us angling to stand in front of the other.
“Really!” he replied, truly interested. “What year did you graduate?”
When we told him he thought for a moment then said, “Oh, I think you were there at the same time as MY MOM.”
Well, nonetheless, while we were currently dreading a poor diagnosis for our beloved Beatrice, we were still looking forward to Dr. Abraham’s visit.
Solving a Household Issue:
As it turned out, our worst fears were unfounded. Dr. Abraham pointed out an issue with Beatrice’s hoof, which was growing in at an odd angle — not ideal, but certainly not that serious. “Your farrier should be able to fix this,” he said, referring to the provider who trims the hooves of livestock — usually horses, but not exclusively.
Then he headed outside … to shower… sigh…
By the way, the farrier was able to alleviate a lot of Beatrice’s pain but what really did the trick for her was when Laura wrapped the two sides of Beatrice’s cloven hoof in duct tape, holding them together and preventing the odd angle from getting any worse. Beatrice is extremely stylin’ with her one silver hoof, like a caprine Michael Jackson.
And I have to say, if our solving a household issue ourselves with a good bit of duct tape doesn’t re-establish our lesbian bona fides, I don’t know what does.
Photo Credit: Illustration by Nancy Knight
About the Author:
Nancy Knight is a freelance graphic designer and writer. She and her wife of 30 years live on a farm in Western New York, where they are bossed around by one very spoiled dog, two ornery but adorable goats, about 23 chickens (give or take a few), three demanding but loving barn cats, and by the ongoing threat of Nature trying to reclaim her 53 acres of pasture and forest.