Garland and the Billy Goat

Today’s guest post was written by Garland Davis.

There was the incident of the Billy goat. The doctor had prescribed goat’s milk for my grandmother and my dad came home one Saturday morning with three or four nanny goats and a Billy. Look up worthless in the dictionary and you will see a picture of a Billy goat. I can tell you, they really get mad if you cut their beards off. A whippin’ for that one. But that isn’t the story I am trying to tell here.

I had seen a TV show where the hero roped a wild bull and saved the damsel. I had a rope which I fashioned into a lasso. I was roping anything I could. My brothers went along for a while. They would run and I would chase them swinging my loop and try to rope them. Finally, one of them said, “Why don’t you try to catch the Billy goat.”

Now this seemed like a good idea to me. I chased after the goat trying to swing the loop. He would either outrun me or turn and chase me. I came up with a brilliant plan. I would tie the rope to a fence post and my brothers could chase ole Billy past me and I would rope him. Fantastic plan!

They got ole Billy up to a dead run and as he approached I swung the loop and floated it out toward his head. Now I tell you, neither Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, nor Hopalong Cassidy ever threw a more perfect loop. Right over ole Billy’s head. He hit the end of that rope at a dead run; his feet flew out from under him; bam he hit the ground and didn’t move. Stone cold dead.

We knew we were dead too when daddy found out. I gathered the rope and hid it in the barn. We ran off and volunteered to hoe mama’s garden, trying to build up as much good will as possible before the storm hit.

Right on time daddy came home from work. We had a routine, as soon as he got home we would go to the barn, milk the cow and goats, clean the stalls and feed them and the pigs. We dreaded going to the barn. Dad was in a hurry as usual and rushed us toward our doom. As we turned the corner of the barn, we saw ole Billy standing out there eating grass. I was suddenly convinced that prayers were answered and vowed to be more attentive in Sunday School.


I hope you enjoyed Garland’s story as much as I did.


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  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 11:30 pm

    Funny story! And I love all the comments.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 6:15 pm

    Loved this story. Gave us a good chuckle.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 3:28 pm

    I tried roping a cow while astride a horse – no saddle. The cow just stood there and the horse took several steps before I could get the reins again. I yelled, “Whoa!.” on the way down. The cow just stood there like she was thinking, “What will that kid think of next?”

    The other one I remember was roping a pig that escaped the pen. I weighed about 75 lbs and the pig about 100. I looped the rope around my wrist before throwing it and got drug down through the woods quite a distance before that pig got tired . My sister had to help me get him back to the pen.

  • Reply
    aw griff
    July 14, 2018 at 2:06 pm

    My wife and I got a good laugh out of your story.

  • Reply
    Jane W Bolden
    July 14, 2018 at 12:29 pm

    Cute story! Glad Billy survived.

  • Reply
    Kenneth Ryan
    July 14, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Good story, Garland.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 12:06 pm

    This is so funny!

  • Reply
    Ken Roper
    July 14, 2018 at 11:30 am

    I enjoyed Garland’s story of him and the Billy-Goat. I thought for a minute or two, the Goat was dead, but only knocked out. I have never had Nanny-Goat milk, I guess I’ll take Roger’s word for it. Thanks for a funny story. …Ken

  • Reply
    Garland Davis
    July 14, 2018 at 11:10 am

    Tamela, One brother served in the Army and for seven years and went back to NC. The youngest retired from the Navy after twenty years as a Warrant Officer. I retired from the Navy after thirty as a Chief Petty Officer.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 11:08 am

    One more thing and I’ll shut up. Have you seen or read about “fainting goats”? Google it, it’s pretty interesting. Maybe Garland’s billy goat was one of them.

    • Reply
      b. Ruth
      July 14, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      No you won’t!…I thought of that very thing myownself…we had a neighbor that had some of those fainting goats…they are right funny…Here lately, we haven’t seen’em!
      thanks for your comments Papaw

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 11:01 am

    Thats a good story. Funny too! My husband likes goat milk. I tasted it , not bad but i couldn’t drink it like cows milk. As for roping, we had got a calf and it got out on me and it ran every way but my way. I was going back and forth. Finally, I decide to get a rope and rope him. And i sure did. Shew ,he was fighting me with everything he had, and i just let em cause i wasn’t giving in. He finally got tired and i pulled hin back to the barn. ( what a work out)!!!! If it had been a goat, i think it would have been easier. I told my husband what happen and he thought it was funny. Me, not so much!

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 10:08 am

    We have never had goats, but many rural people do nowadays. My experience with a goat was very humorous.. I encountered a few critters on my day to day excursions into Home Health visits. One area nobody liked because it was really in the boonies. I loved it, and found the folks to be easily pleased and, yes indeed, the sweetest hearts in Appalachia. Occasionally, I would have an adventure such as trying to kill a copperhead with my SUV tires. This worked well until I ran back and forth over one only to find out when I reached the home that it had been dead a couple of days. Not so proud of my accomplishment then, as I had gotten a lot of praise earlier in the year for actually killing one in that manner. All humans love praise!

    Now back to my goat story. I had just finished up in this little community with my last patient when lo and behold Mr. Billy Goat Gruff decided to jump up on the front of my vehicle. He did this repeatedly until he had successfully marred the paint with his hooves’ marks on my hood. I was surprised at my own ability to treat this as hilarious instead of getting upset over the scratches. You can’t just get his insurance info to turn into your insurance company, and if I had called the local police to do a report they would have just laughed at me. Besides, that is not how you create good will in a small community by reporting their goat. It gave me one of many fun stories to tell in an otherwise boring office. Then there was the time I picked up two stranded teenagers only to find out they were dog drunk. But, that is a story for another day 🙂

  • Reply
    b. Ruth
    July 14, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Loved this story…especially the description of the rope loop floating out toward the goats head and how you out threw your lasso better than the great Western movie stars…Wow, that one brought back memories…they sure did rope and ride in those Saturday morning westerns…I am of course a girl..but along with my brothers we practiced our roping and lassoing big time after a trip to the movies…LOL
    We had goat here when we moved to our place…We only had enough cleared acreage for some goats, rabbits and chickens…The goats cleared more…became pets and spoiled. Our Billy-goat would climb up on the deck porch walk the rail and grab an old cow bell I had hanging on a limb and ring it…He knew if I heard that old bell a clankin’ that I’d come running outside to see what the commotion was all about…He learned by accident when he grabbed the limb that the bell was hung on to eat a few of the young tasty leaves…When he realized the reaction from us then that was all it took…He knew I would entice him down off the deck railing with a piece of cookie or broken carrot, etc… To this day we are not sure how he managed to get up on the deck unless he jumped from the low side and ducked under the first low rail and then jumped on the top rail..that part of the deck was out of our view from the kitchen window/door. We watched and never saw him come up the side deck steps….but would appear walking down that narrow rail like a good mountain goat walks on the side of slick rocks..LOL
    Thanks Garland and Tipper for sharing your goat story…however, I am now ready for the story of the goats beard haircut…and just how mad did that goat get…!

  • Reply
    Wanda Devers
    July 14, 2018 at 9:47 am

    Reminds me of the time I thought I had killed our former neighbor’s rooster. the rooster had gotten a little threatening when I was walking so i began to carry an old pool cue as a walking stick. That rooster started advancing & I swung the cue intending to scare him away but I actually conked him right on the side of his head. He went down and I was sure he was a gonner. I was horrified and was thinking how I was going to have to confess to my neighbor when the rooster jumped up and ran away.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Inventive bunch of boys! Wonder what they all did as adults.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 8:59 am

    Dusty and I have both been considering getting a Billy Goat here lately. He and his new bride want to get a pygmy goat to keep as a pet. I want to get the kind that has a motor and a blade and will cut down heavy brush. His kind of goat costs around $150. My kind costs around 20 times that much.

    • Reply
      July 14, 2018 at 10:57 am

      In case anybody doesn’t understand my use of “here lately”, the “here” part has nothing to do with my present location. Here lately or herelately isn’t any dictionary I have looked at. My best definition would be “recently”. It is a word (or phrase) I learned as a child and still use. I don’t know what prompted me to look for it in the dictionary but I can’t find it. Does anybody else say herelately?

      Is it in your dictionary of Smoky Mountain English?

      • Reply
        b. Ruth
        July 14, 2018 at 7:15 pm

        I’ve begun to say “here lately” at the beginning of a sentence. Therefore here lately, I say “here lately”!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 14, 2018 at 8:58 am

    Wonder if Billy learned anything? Looks like Garland did. One of them being if you are going to tie on to a running animal don’t hold the rope. Tie it to something stronger that it is.

    Never been around goats much myself. Probably a good thing for the both of us. I remember Hal Holbrook in “Mark Twain Tonight” trying to tell the story of the old man who bent down to pick up a coin and the goat up on the hill that took that as an invitation……..

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 8:55 am

    Garland, that story was so funny! I never expected the ending to turn out that way. You didn’t fool your mom when you offered to hoe her garden. She probably didn’t find out about Billy, but she spent some time trying to figure out what it was you wanted. I pulled the volunteer stuff when I wanted to get permission to go somewhere.

  • Reply
    Nancy Hofmeister
    July 14, 2018 at 8:50 am

    Funny story and I laughed when the children went to hoing to build up good will. Kids are smart that way.

    • Reply
      July 14, 2018 at 11:03 am

      No, Dads are smarter. That’s how you use a billy goat to hoe the garden.

  • Reply
    Roger Greene
    July 14, 2018 at 8:42 am

    I guess all of us that grew up on a farm in the post war years seeing Roy Rogers and Gene Autry shows had to try to rope something. Mine was a 3 or 4 hundred pound heifer, but I hadn’t thought about how to get the rope off! Had to run her in the barn and shut her up till Dad got home. He just laughed at me and after we got her lose shared a story about a neighbor’s bull from when he was a child.

    Oh, and whole goat’s milk is much better than whole cow’s milk. Much easier for the human digestive tract. Makes great home made ice cream, just add a little vanilla and about half the sugar you’d use with cow’s milk.

    Also, if God had intended for us to drink cows milk, He would have given us four hands! (You gotta think about that one a moment.)

    • Reply
      July 14, 2018 at 11:01 am

      God gave a cow four teats so I can milk one side and let the calf have the udder side.

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 8:39 am

    Thanks for the story, Garland, I chuckled while reading it.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 14, 2018 at 8:07 am

    Love it! Goats are fun

  • Reply
    Colleen Holmes
    July 14, 2018 at 7:10 am

    Love the story. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    July 14, 2018 at 7:07 am

    Oh my. To paraphrase Art Linkletter, kids do the darndest things. You had to make your own fun then.
    Its odd to me that goat milk is the universal milk for all species, I believe. We made goat cheese in Girl Scouts but I wasn’t about to eat THAT! I have learned after all these years to enjoy a bit on salads.
    I’m glad the goat was alive. We have read some bad things happened with ropes.
    So, don’t rope-a-goat if not absolutely necessary, I guess.
    Enjoyed the story…

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 6:46 am

    My Uncle use to have a Billy that would chase you if you got in the pasture with him, I was more scared of that goat than a dog, he would start making an awful noise with his head a slanging coming right at you. I could remember if I wanted to visit I could take a chance and shorten the distance by going thru the pasture or take the rock road which was a bit longer way around, most time I’d just take the rock road. Got lucky a few times ran like my pants was on fire and got past Ole Billy.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 14, 2018 at 6:45 am

    That’s a wonderful story, Garland. Guess he just had the wind knocked out of him, but a little boy wouldn’t know. That’s just the kind of thing kids should do, it helps them grow up to be responsible adult.
    And I bet you were more attentive in Sunday School….for a little while!

  • Reply
    July 14, 2018 at 6:32 am

    Loved reading this!

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