By Glenda Price: CNJ columnist
When our two daughters were in 4-H they bought a few good ewes, mostly Suffolks and Hampshires, planning to raise their own show lambs. They needed a good ram, of course, and some folks down the road had a high-powered Suffolk.
He was big and long and had muscles in all the right places, especially his rear end. His head wasn’t too great, though. He had a Roman nose that looked like it had been broken in several places. We noticed it, of course, but didn’t think too much about it.
We are among those 4-H leaders and parents who believe in the kids doing everything themselves, so we turned the ram out with the ewes, helped the girls decide how much of what kind of feed he and the ewes should have and went on about our own business.
A couple of weeks later I happened to be outside at chore time and heard one daughter scream. I ran out to the pasture in time to see her picking herself up off the ground near the feed trough, crying. The ram was backing up, pawing the ground.
As I watched, he lowered his head and charged, knocking her flat again. I yelled at him (which he totally ignored) while I flung the gate open, grabbed my 10-year old and drug her out of there. Meanwhile, he backed up and got ready for another charge.
While I was checking out the damage my husband showed up. After we determined nothing was broken and explained the situation he glared at that ram, drew himself up to his full 6 feet 5 inches and declared, “I’ll teach that old booger a lesson.”
I held our daughter, who was still crying, and we watched while Dad stomped into the pasture and yelled at the ram, “Come on, you reprobate. Charge somebody your own size.”
The ram obliged.
Later, Dad said his plan was to kick the ram in the head when he got close. Dad, fists clenched, waited for the charge. Our daughter watched through her tears. I held my breath. Dad raised one boot to meet the ram’s head, ready to give him a kick in the face he’d never forget.
He kicked him, all right, but the ram slammed into his other leg. Dad turned a complete cartwheel in the air, long arms and legs flying, and landed with a thud. It was spectacular. The ram, meanwhile, kept on going awhile before turning around, backing up, pawing the ground and taking aim again.
Next time Dad was better prepared, and he eventually won the battle, but watching her father’s dramatic wreck made our daughter forget about her own trauma. She actually laughed while tears continued to spill down her face.
We all learned something that day: Animals with damaged noses didn’t get them by being nice and gentle.
Come to think of it, that probably applies to people as well.