Monday, September 7, 2009

Gentle as a Lamb

Lambs. I fell in love with them when just a little girl. Dad would stop by fields in the spring so I could watch the little tykes jump and play, long tails twitching with excitement.

Dad drove a milk route picking up milk from the farmers then taking it to the creamery for processing. Up at the crack of dawn, he would make his rounds then come home to do his farming chores. But this isn't about the milk route. This is about one special morning when Dad pulled in the driveway stopping the truck at the house instead of going directly to the barn. Mom, my sisters and I came out to see why Dad changed his routine. Smiling he opened the door, and two small lambs peered out at us. That was the beginning of our small flock of sheep.

Sometimes a ewe will not accept a baby. She will butt it and try to hurt it or will ignore it completely not allowing it to nurse. One day Dad came to the house with a bundle in his arms, a rejected newborn lamb. I was given the job of feeding this lamb and seeing to its care. We put the baby in a towel-lined box in the basement. Dad fixed a bottle of warm milk with a long black nipple attached the end of the glass bottle. He pried open the lambs mouth and inserted the nipple. The hungry baby suckled immediately. I became the new mom.

I christened the lamb, Pamper. As Pamper grew stronger, we ventured outside. She followed me like a puppy. Then when she was big enough, Dad took her back to the barn and the rest of the flock. Every morning when I walked to the barn, Pamper would be waiting with her two front legs hooked over the fence rail watching for me.

I still can remember the smell of that curly lamb. I can still hear the little 'maa' sound she made as a baby. Sometimes I forget what an unusual experience it is to grow up on a farm. Unusual and so wonderful. 'Maaaaa'.
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