May 29, 02
This Memorial Day weekend my wife worked in the Emergency Room all three days in 12 hour shifts.
While the cat's away.... Or so they say.
A buddy of mine and I were planning on going up to a "small" animal swap meet on Saturday. These are sales where farmers and hobbyists gather to sell their extra Spring livestock. The only thing that my wife said before she left for work was an emphatic "NO MORE ANIMALS!" I still like to go because all of the babies are neat to see and you never know what you might find.
We got there plenty early to be sure to have a shot at the good stuff. As we were sitting in the pickup watching folks unload, a truck with a stock trailer drove up and parked. We were in perfect position to watch it unload. The back trailer door on the left opened, and the guys started hauling out portable stock fence panels, setting them up in a ring around the end of the trailer. As they were doing so, the trailer was rocking pretty wildly.
"Jeez, that guy needs new springs," I said to my buddy.
When they got a corral built around the back of the trailer, and opened the other door. Out came a critter and it was love at first sight. It snaked its head out and let out a bellowing roar that penetrated my soul. It was a fully grown two and a half year old, eight foot tall, bull dromedary (one hump) camel.
"Aw, man. I gotta have it."
"Yeah, sure," says Crazy Ray.
"No, I'm serious."
"Deb's gonna kill you."
"Naw, she loves animals." And out I shot to start bonding.
After an hour of questions and dealings, we went back home to get our horse trailer and my family inheritance.
My buddy just said, "You know at first I thought you were nuts, but I gotta admit I kinda admire your guts."
After we arrived home, I spent the rest of the day leading the camel around the farm, terrorizing the rest of our horses. It was amazing to see. The bigger the horse, the more frightened it was. My Clydesdale mare, Dolly, was absolutely terrified. The Quarter Horses, Arabs and Mustangs weren't much better. The pony was standoffish. But it didn't take long before the miniature horses and the camel were taking turns chasing each other around.
After putting everyone up in stalls for the night, I stayed up late just to greet Deb and take her into the barn. She was surprised to see me still awake, and even more surprised to get a big smile, hug and a kiss.
Under a furrowed brow, she said, "You didn't. I said NO MORE ANIMALS."
To understand what happened next, you need to know that more than a week ago, I received botulism toxin injections in my vocal cords to try to temporarily remedy my spasmodic dysphonia. These shots unexpectedly rendered me pretty much totally mute, which had already made for some very difficult horse/camel trading that day.
We entered the stable. I flipped on the light switch. There followed a thick moment of silence during which the atmospheric temperature perceptibly rose.
I innocently and eagerly watched Deb's face expecting to see it flood with joyous emotions................... Didn't happen.
"What the...? You must be out of your mind! Explain yourself."
At that point, being mute and everything, all I could think to do was point to my throat and flap my jaws. It didn't much matter, because the rest of the conversation was one-sided and unidirectional....and lasted the rest of the week.
To make a long story short, by now Deb has pretty much warmed to the idea of owning a camel, especially after everybody in the Emergency Room thought that it was such a great loving gift and neat idea. She has agreed that the camel can stay on the farm, but she has not yet decided about me.
By the way, the previous owners named the camel Hershey because its hump looked like a Hershey Kiss. How unimaginative. I renamed it Kookamunga, but my wife and her mother think that I'm the only kook among us.
Moral of the story: Get a botox injection of your vocal cords whenever you anticipate a situation where you may have some difficult explaining to do.
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