Tuesday, July 18, 2017


September 26, 1958
     This morning Ed delayed his departure long enough to fashion a makeshift gate at the entrance of the corral. Would Heidi take one look at this so-called gate, whinny derisively, and knock it down with a flick of her tail?
     Ed put Heidi and Pokie in the corral, brushed the sawdust from his suit, and drove off to work. A while later, I looked up from my cereal and saw Pokie munching on my baby lilac bushes. Giving a shriek that startled Kathryn and sent Dizzy flying, I dashed outside, then braked to a stroll as I neared Pokie. I didn't want her to suspect there was any feeling in my heart but love and admiration, any thought in my mind except approval of her lilac pruning.
     I extended a cupped hand as if it held a leafy morsel: "Here Pokie, here Pokie, Pokie."
     She lifted her head long enough to give me a bored stare, then went back to work on the lilacs. I backed away from her, calling affectionately, "Here, Pokie, yum‑hum, here Pokie, Pokie."
     I got a round of applause from Kathryn, who had come out to the front porch to watch the proceedings. "Oh, Mrs. Malley, if only I had a movie camera!"
     Since I couldn't lure Pokie to the corral by the force of my personality, it was time to try something else. What did Kathie do when Heidi got loose? The oats!
     I rushed to the barn, scooped up some oats and called Pokie, shaking the coffee can suggestively. Her head jerked up. She gave a bound of joy and began loping toward me. Screeching to a stop, she buried her snout in the oats.
     Now I had to induce Pokie to duck under the bars of Ed's gate and return to the corral where she belonged. I wasn’t thinking clearly, or it might have occurred to me that if she could duck in, she could duck right out again.
     "Here, Pokie," I said, extending the tin of oats between the bars and trying to shove her under the lower bar with my other hand. Poked humped into the knee chest position and refused to budge. Meanwhile Heidi had ambled over and was helping herself to the oats.
     "Come on, Pokie, there's a good goat," I lied. "Shoo, Heidi, go away!"
     Heidi bared her teeth and growled. I swear she did. I figured if she felt that way about it, I'd better drop the can. In a flash, Pokie ducked under the bar and began fighting for her share of the oats.
     I wiped my brow and started for the house, only to become aware that Pokie was trotting along beside me, friendly as could be.
     "Oh, Mrs. Malley, if only I had a movie of you and that goat!" Kathryn was hooting.
     She’s such a necessary adjunct to our household, I have to put up with her odd sense of humor. I returned to the barn, shadowed by my buddy.
     "Okay, into the clink you go!" I removed the bar from the stall door and entered, Pokie hard on my heels. Whoosh! I was out again, slamming the door behind me. I was stooping to replace the bar when bang, the door flew open, striking me squarely on the nose.
     Moral: when you're on one side of a door and a goat is on the other, make sure the door is bolted before you stick your nose out. Otherwise you'll get a nasty scrape and jocular comments from your housekeeper and your husband.
     Ed looked at my nose, heard my story, laughed heartily, then redeemed himself by promising to make the corral escape proof in the near future.
January 9, 1959
     When I walked down to the mailbox I noticed that Heidi wasn't in the corral. Vonnie must have forgotten to put her out. I went into the barn, sliding the door shut behind me. I opened the door to the ramp, then opened the stall door warily in case of a stampede. Sure enough, I was almost knocked down by Pokie. My leap sideways had placed me directly between her and the grain barrel.
     Meanwhile Heidi was skittering around in the doorway of the stall, trying to avoid a pail that had rolled under her feet. When she finally emerged, she glared at me as if I had deliberately tried to trip her up. Kathie says Morgans are ponies, but she looked about a hundred hands high to me. I pointed to the runway that leads to the corral and said, "Out, Heidi!”.
     Pokie had given up trying to butt the grain barrel to its side and was trotting down the runway like a good little goat. Heidi shifted around and pointed her nose in the right direction, which meant that her kicking end was pointing at me. She looks a lot bigger than a pony.
     She ambled down the runway, then stopped dead. I had forgotten to open the gate to the corral. My oversight created a ticklish situation. I hurried down the runway, sidled past Heidi ("Good girl, nice girl"), and opened the gate. Pokie trotted into the corral, but Heidi had meanwhile turned around and was heading back toward the barn.
     "Come on, Heidi, it's open now," I said, but we had a new problem. When she tried to turn around, there wasn't room. I could see she was considering going into the barn and starting over, but the door had swung to just enough to discourage her. Heidi backed up a couple of feet, and her blanket caught on a branch. She moved forward again and to save face, pretended she was interested in nibbling on a dead leaf.
     So there we were and what to do? I could race through the corral and back to the barn so I could open the half closed door, but Heidi had been doing some thinking, too. She began backing again, this time avoiding the protruding branch.  She backed all the way down to the wide part of the runway and cantered triumphantly into the corral. "Smart girl!" I applauded, relieved that one of us had brains enough to work out a solution.

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