"If providence did beards devise,
To prove the wearers of them wise,
A fulsome goat would then, by nature,
Excel each other human creature." - Thomas D'Urfey

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Thanksgiving Tail ... uh ... Tale

A Thanksgiving Tale  by Marigold

Once upon a time there were a lot of people in strange clothes who didn't like where they were living.  Since there was no Internet back then, they had to rely on those travel  stories from friends in order to find a new place they wanted to live.  You know, the kind where somebody goes someplace you can't afford and then invites all the neighbors over for snacks and endless pictures?  Oh, wait.  I guess they hadn't invented photography yet, so maybe they just came for the snacks. 

Anyway, this group of peculiar dressers with their big buckles, short pants and love of black and white, finally settled upon 'The New World'.  I am not sure why it was called 'new' since it was most likely decidedly really old, but I suppose it was new to them and people who dress funny tend to see things differently.  So how, then,  to get to this New World?  Well, back then about the only way to get somewhere that far away was  by boat since it was across the ocean and horses don't swim all that well.  So they set about procuring a ship and trying to figure out what to pack.

Of course this whole boat thing wasn't going to happen instantly, so one thing they had to consider was what to take with them that would continue to provide them sustenance over the long haul.  Chickens were a good choice, of course, because though most are dumber than posts, they do lay eggs.  Also, since they have such post-like intelligence, one could always easily catch one to eat if one were desperate.  So chickens went on the list.

Now this group was inordinately fond of bacon, so someone decided a couple of pigs simply had to go along.  Plus they could always be used to help with any tilling of the soil or stump uprooting.  They weren't all that big either.  I feel compelled to mention, here, that though pigs are normally very intelligent, the two that went along for this ride simply could not have been.  I mean knowing what was in store, would you go?   So anyway, stupid pigs went on the list. 

What about cows?  Well, cows are far too big and weigh too much.  The boat might sink.  Plus they make an awful mess.  And they moo.  But what to do about milk?  Someone mentioned goats at this point.  Well, shoot!  Of course!  Goats give great milk and they can pull little kids in wagons, clear out brush, provide you with philosophical commentary, and all sorts of good things.  Besides, no one liked Chevon, so you could actually convince a goat to come along for the ride.  I'm not sure if Peanuts had been invented yet, but I'm sure that probably served as a great incentive if they did.

So this group of ridiculously attired persons, who, by the way, were called Pilgrims, contracted the boat called The Mayflower, to take them and their motley band of animals across the pond to The New World.  This happened waaaaaaay back in 1620.  That was a hay of  a long time ago.

Now, then, you are likely wondering how I knew there were goats on the Mayflower.  I can assure you, I did not make it up.  While I admit there is no record of a goat in the actual documents from aboard the ship, it is known that in 1623, Emmanuel Altham visited Plymouth (which was the name of the place they landed in the The New World and not an automobile) and recorded that there were six goats, fifty pigs and many chickens.  Fifty pigs?  Apparently pigs are very prolific.  Who knew?  Although I do seem to recall reading something about that in one of those mass-forwarded emails.  Oy.  Don't think I better go there.

Oh, well.  So the question remains, what kind of goats arrived on the Mayflower?  Obviously they would have been dairy goats.  Nubians?  Nah.  Had they been Nubians, they would likely have become lost somewhere in the bowels of the boat and never again seen the light of day.  Either that or forgotten they were supposed to going somewhere in the first place and missed the boat entirely.  So what about La Manchas?  Nah.  Aliens hadn't landed on the Earth yet, so they couldn't possibly have been La Manchas. 

Oberhaslis?  Saanens?  Toggenburgs?  These are all good choices, but the fact remains that there is likely only one answer to this age-old question.  The Alpine. Now anyone who really knows me, knows that I would be loathe to bestow any sort of honor, such as being the goat of choice on the Mayflower, on an Alpine.  But, the facts of the matter are these.  Alpines always have to be first.  That means when the Pilgrims were looking over stock to bring on the voyage, the Alpines would have been first in line, butting everyone else out of the way in the process.  Secondly, Alpines are undoubtedly smart, but their sense of greed seems to override any other sense, thereby rendering them temporarily Lizard Brain when it comes to anything involving food.  A fact which would have made them exceedingly easy to convince to walk up that plank and into that boat.  (I feel it prudent to mention, here, that  any Mini-Nubian or Nigerian Dwarf worth their salt would have, at this point,  been standing at the back of the crowd, picking their hooves and looking nonchalantly off into the distance,  having recognized the obvious ruse.)

But the fact that makes it most likely the goats on the Mayflower were, indeed, Alpines is this.  The Picky Snit.  Everyone knows that during a voyage of months, food supplies often became tainted.  People and animals often became sick and died before reaching their destination.  Plus, rats always managed to find their way on board, despite the fact they were never invited.  This is just like in the barn, and is, by the way, the reason the Peanut jar now has to live in the enclosed (and locked) Sacred Grain Room.  Anyway, every Alpine possesses the Picky Snit gene.  Thus they would have refused to eat any food that wasn't in tip top condition and thereby survived the long voyage.  They might have been skinny, mind you, but they would not have been ill.   It really is the only feasible explanation.

So in 1623, there were only six goats at Plymouth.  Yet more proof that those goats on the Mayflower were Alpines.  In the three years from 1620 to 1623, any other breed would have grown to much greater proportions.  But given the Alpine temperament, one year would have been enough to drive those Pilgrims to distraction and likely resulted in a fondness for Chevon.  It is what it is.  I'm just sayin' ...

So there you have it.  In my superior Marigold-Holmesian penchant for uncovering the truth, I have given you, pardon the Thanksgiving pun, food for thought.  This year remember that we are all on a journey and ought to be thankful for that journey, no matter how hard or bizarre the circumstances along the way.  Some folks get stepped on, and some folks, like the Alpines,  likely do the stepping.  But we all, in the end, come out on top of the stump.  Still, should you happen to find yourself squashed under foot by some one or some thing, try not to blame them.  Instead remember this:

"We're all pilgrims on the same journey - but some pilgrims have better road maps."  - Nelson DeMille

The question is , just who's road map do you want to follow?  Now that is a query worth pondering.  Happy Thanksgiving!  May you find yourself not a turkey.


Millie said...

You certainly have put a lot of thought into this. I can see the logic quite well.

Marigold said...

Dear Millie,
Thank you! I do pride myself on being a logical sort of goat. :)

Kelly said...

Marigold you definitely have a way with words. If some Pilgrim didn't agree with you do you give them a head butt? All the goats, both Alpine and Nubian send you all wishes for a very Happy Thanksgiving. The sheep are still in the field and therefore have no comment. Fuzzy the llama swears up and down that there WAS a llama on the Mayflower. And you thought Nubians were dense! Much Love.

Marigold said...

Dear Kelly,
I just leave all the butting into submission up to Ella. Why do you think the Pilgrims got so tired of those Alpines so fast? All I can say is that I've never actually met a llama, but if they are like Nubians, only taller, well, I don't suppose I really want to meet one. Now, about that Teddy ...

Candy C. said...

Marigold, you have the Alpine goat-onality down pat! It's like you are describing my own 'sweet' Madeline! ;)
Regardless, I'm glad the Pilgrims brought goats to the New World for where would we be without them?
Happy Thanksgiving!!

DebH said...

You write such good stories! Love them and your wit, but mostly I love the inspiration...Your a good one! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Marigold said...

Dear Candy,
Of course I have the Alpine Goat-onality down pat. I live with one. Well, I *try* to live with one. Do you suppose the Native Americans had some sort of goats? Interesting thought, that.

Marigold said...

Dear DebH,
Hay! You are inspirational yourself! Thanks for the compliment, though. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!!!!

Mrs. Micawber said...

I have never tasted Chevon, but if it's half as good as goat's milk cheese, it's a wonder any goats survived to tell the tail back there in Plymouth.

On a completely unrelated note, I remember seeing a photo of Agatha Christie (I think) as a child sitting in a little goat-drawn cart. And I've definitely seen a similar image on a book jacket: http://www.amazon.com/celias-house-d-stevenson/dp/B000J2DRUE

Goats do it all! :)

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Marigold - and to all the other goats and humans at your place. (And even to the ducks.)

Marigold said...

Dear Mrs. Micawber,
Yes, indeed, we goats are very multi-purpose. Agatha Christie probably had a goat with my Sherlock Holmesian genes who advised her on all her mystery writing. That was probably the very goat in that picture, in fact. Happy Thanksgiving! But please do not encourage the UrDuck'H'ai. They are on over-quack as it is.