September 28, 2008
Five new sheep appeared in the pasture this weekend. They looked somewhat like the sheep we used to have, just smaller. In fact, upon further review, they may have indeed been the same sheep.
The shearer arrived Friday afternoon, on the home leg of a grand journey, shearing the sheep of the southlands. Our Gang of Five was almost an afterthought for him, we’re sure, given the large flocks he had shorn. But for us, it was an event for the ages, preceded by all the planning and obsessive concern one normally associates with NASA launches. Would we have them rounded up in time? Would they escape the run-in shed before he could buzzcut them? Would the two neurotic black sheep just go ahead and have the nervous breakdown we all know is in them, waiting to happen?
We woke up early to encourage them to move into the same relatively smaller compartment, the better for Mr. Smith to do his work. But no amount of cajoling, bribery, earnest pleas or stern threats could convince them to comply. It wasn’t until much later in the morning, just an hour before Mr. Smith was to arrive, that Frances hit upon the magic ingredient: Fig Newtons [tm]. Happily, the sheep marched in for their close-up.
What happened next, when wool met shears, is difficult to reconstruct given how quickly it transpired. The practiced Mr. Smith basically grabbed each sheep in turn and flipped them around so that they were sitting on their tushes. Only once, when Page tried to make a break for it, was his rhythm disrupted. Displaying the practiced know-how of the true professional, Mr. Smith snagged Page while simultaneously subduing Firefly. The rest was history.
After it was over, the Five took a good long look at each other before arriving at the inescapable conclusion that they were the same sheep as before. In truth, they look remarkably different. They even look like a different species, more like small deer than sheep. But the next day, anxieties subsided and routine returned to the pasture. Thankfully, it will be another 6 months or more before we revisit this event. Enough time to lay in a serious supply of Fig Newtons.