It would be their first holiday season in a rental house, but the family was determined to make it their best ever.
Fall was grim and soggy, but the weather couldn’t dampen their joy. They knew if things worked out, they would spend the next Thanksgiving and Christmas in a brand new home all their own, nestled on acre after acre of beautiful wooded land in the rolling hills of Haralson County near Tallapoosa, home of the annual New Year’s Possum Drop.
Preparations for the new home were already under way. House plans were being chosen, survey work was done and the septic tank site had been marked.
All that acreage made the new place feel just like a farm, and the family was determined to treat their new property that way.
They knew they wanted critters, so they bought a large dog. The dog was allegedly a first-rate livestock guardian, so the family bought some goats for guarding.
The herd included five nannies and a billy goat named Fred.
The land had enough vegetation to keep an army of goats happy and well-fed forever. The herd frolicked gleefully night and day, munching through briars, shrubs, kudzu, small trees and the landlord's tender sweet potato vines.
The family had hoped the goats would clear off the future home site, and Fred and the five sister wives didn’t let them down.
Things were swell. All was well.
But on a rare, sunny day, a girl goat fell ill. Since none of the family members had veterinary training and since each goat had cost less each than a vet visit, the family decided to treat the goat themselves.
The problem seemed digestive in nature. The “symptoms” were evident and abundant.
Determined to nurse the nanny back to health, the family turned to a time-honored home remedy and took turns feeding the puny goat Pepto-Bismol and Pepsi Cola.
Despite the family’s valiant efforts, the girl goat croaked.
She was mourned, but Thanksgiving was just a few weeks off, and the family shook off their sorrow and looked forward to a festive feast with dogs, loved ones and the surviving goats.
But before the turkey went into the oven, Fred’s health went into a dive. The family - not to mention Fred’s four surviving wives - were distraught, dismayed and desperate.
Fred was coddled and babied and constantly nursed, but with each passing day, he only grew worse.
Pepto and Pepsi hadn’t cured the dead nanny, so the family sought alternative goat medicines. They looked on Google, on Animal Planet TV and finally, in the refrigerator. On the bottom shelf, way in the back, they spied a product that had been bought weeks earlier, but never eaten.
It was creamy and smooth and gluten-free and didn’t smell too bad. They hoped Fred would gobble it right up.
And he did. Slowly at first, with a lap and a slurp, Fred nibbled the food and soon begged for more
He seemed to be healing, but the family left nothing to chance. On bended knees, with Bibles in hand, they asked the Lord’s blessing and rejoiced as Fred grew stronger.
By Thanksgiving, Fred was good as new, eating briars, bossing his babes around and butting heads. He is now called Fred, the Miracle Goat.
The family is grateful for their early Christmas miracle and want to share their medical secret with other goat keepers. It won’t take long.
They’ll say that when poor Fred seemed way past repair, he was healed in a jiffy by yogurt and prayer.
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