Appalachia

“Ole Billy’s” Beard

Today’s guest post was written by Garland Davis.

billy-goat

I recently told the story of roping the Billy goat. During that narrative, I alluded to another incident with “Ole Billy.” Some people have expressed interest in hearing the story. So here it is.

It was during the summer break from school. One of those days when I wasn’t working on one farm or another. I know it was a Monday. Mama was washing clothes. She was hanging the clothes on the line when “Ole Billy” stared bellowing and baaing. She looked down the hill toward the barn, thinking that maybe a bobcat was going after one of the newly born kids. But, Billy had gotten his head caught between a fencepost and the gate post. He was putting up quite a racket.

I was on the back porch in the shade reading a Science Fiction story. (I know because it was all I read in those days.) Mama yelled at me to go set “Ole Billy“ free. I hurried down to the barn. Now, I had often thought about cutting Billy’s beard off, just to see how he would take it. An impossible task. Billy was prone to take offense at the slightest provocation and would butt in the flicker of an eyelash.

Here was Billy with his head caught. The perfect opportunity!  Instead of opening the gate, I went to the tack room for a pair of scissors. When I approached him with the scissors in my hand Billy doubled the volume of his complaining. I think he realized that something not good was about to happen to him. I grabbed his whiskers in one hand and applied the scissors. One snip and Billy was beardless. I didn’t think he could get any louder, but he turned up the volume.

I put the scissors down and unlatched the gate to set him loose. Billy was in full Butt mode. He immediately made for me. I dodged and closed the gate. He was on one side and me the other. I was safe from his wrath. The only problem was that I was in the goat lot and Billy was outside. He took a couple of whacks at the barn door and a pair of fence posts. Then he spied Mama’s laundry. He was off. He was butting at the clothes and knocked Mama’s clothesline pole down. The weight of the clothes drooped the line until some of the washing was in the dirt.

Mama saw this from the back porch, grabbed a Bakker stick and went to chastise “Ole Billy.” I took the opportunity while he was distracted to run for the house. I went through the back door right in front of Mama who was two steps ahead of Billy. He stormed around the porch leaving a profusion of pellets otherwise known as goat pills. He finally went back and attacked the clothesline again. Finally tiring of his fun and probably famished from all the activity, he wandered down to the edge of the woods and began to consume a bush.

Now Mama didn’t hold with cussing and was known to stuff a cake (Mama always said cake instead of bar) of Ivory soap into a boy’s mouth and make him hold it there for fifteen minutes while standing on the back porch staring at the wall. I tried to avoid this punishment. I would rather opt for Daddy’s belt than stand there for fifteen minutes wondering who the last person was to wash their butt with this soap. Mama denied it, but I heard her say a few choice words regarding Billy’s parentage that morning.

“Ole Billy finally wandered back to the barn and I went and opened the gate and he went in to oversee happenings among his herd. I avoided any future confrontations with Billy after that incident.

For a long time afterward, I was worried someone would say, “What happened to Billy’s beard?” I knew the finger would point to me.

—Garland Davis


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

Tipper

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15 Comments

  • Reply
    Chip
    May 17, 2021 at 5:01 pm

    Tipper, Thank you so much for a very entertaining story,, and for the ray of sunshine you bring into the lives of so many people every day. THANK YOU!

  • Reply
    PinnacleCreek
    May 8, 2021 at 3:47 pm

    The time I was around 6 years of age and repeated a word I hear a neighbor say. I had to wash my mouth out with soap and water and sit on the couch for a long time even before “time out” was popular. I still believe that only served to make me remember the word, whereas I found later children soon forget a bad word if you do not draw attention to it. I am not a strict disciplinarian unless it is something dangerous.
    The closest I ever came to a goat is when a Billy goat jumped on the front of my my car when I was pulling out from a patient’s home in the country. The horn took care of that.

  • Reply
    Karen Toler
    May 8, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    Oh that was a good story!!! I had a run-in with our neighbors goat..OH He smelled so bad…it took me along time to get rid of the smell off my clothes!!!

  • Reply
    Kenley Redditt
    May 8, 2021 at 2:01 pm

    I’ve had my fair share of dealing with goats. That, was a funny story!!!
    Goats are very amazing and aggravating.

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    May 8, 2021 at 1:20 pm

    That’s funny! I have my own Billy goat story. When I was about eight or nine I was a Billy goat. There was an epidemic of brucellosis in our area of Western North Carolina. If an animal had contracted the disease it would have to be put down. An agent from the state came to test our cattle for the disease. At the time we only had one milk cow. Daddy walked the man to the barn to draw blood from Bossie. I followed along behind. When they went in I walked around the corner, hid and watched through the cracks. When the men were through they stepped out and were standing there talking. Not knowing that goats are also prone to the disease I put my hands up to my mouth and let out with a “BAA!”. “Do you have a goat?” asked the man. “No?” Daddy said. “Are you sure? I thought I heard a goat.” Daddy had lost some of his hearing from being too close the artillery gunfire during WW2 so he probably didn’t hear me. “I’m sure! I don’t have a goat.” “BAA!” I did it again and stepped behind the barn just before the man peeped around the corner. “BAA! “I thought I heard it again” he said. “I’ve got pigs and chickens but I ain’t never no had goats!” “BAA!” The man shook his head and started to leave. “BAA” This time he didn’t even look back.
    Daddy never mentioned the incident and I didn’t dare ask. I don’t think he heard me but I’m not sure. After all it was he who had taught me to make the sound of a goat.

  • Reply
    Charline
    May 8, 2021 at 11:57 am

    What a treat of a story! And the SOAP was a real LOL moment! Thanks, Garland and Tipper.

  • Reply
    dee
    May 8, 2021 at 11:56 am

    A very enjoyable story to start my morning off but bless his Mother as she bore the brunt of Garland’s goat’s beard cutting.

  • Reply
    Paula Rhodarmer
    May 8, 2021 at 10:04 am

    That was a hilarious story! I enjoyed it, Garland.

  • Reply
    Shirl
    May 8, 2021 at 9:24 am

    That was a funny story and I believe every word of it. You didn’t say who had to clean up the goat pills. My guess is that mama gave a young boy the choice of picking up every pill or dreading the minute daddy would get home.

  • Reply
    Margie G
    May 8, 2021 at 8:52 am

    That’s a good story!!! You can see it all happening by the way Mr. Davis writes. I have not had a lot of goat experience but I think they’re very strange looking in the face. I do know they’ll eat everything and aren’t picky about it.

  • Reply
    Gayle Larson
    May 8, 2021 at 8:36 am

    Loved the story. Thanks Garland.

  • Reply
    Larry Paul Eddings
    May 8, 2021 at 8:31 am

    Now, that goat story made me smile.

  • Reply
    Miss Gina
    May 8, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Great story! I can just see it. Thank you for funny story to start the day.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    May 8, 2021 at 8:17 am

    Hmmm Could say the moral of the story is ‘Don’t cut off a billy goat’s beard’. But it is really another illustration of ‘think ahead’. Country boys work their angels overtime while they are living through the not-thinking-ahead stage. The wonder sometimes is that we survived at all. I have a few of those episodes in my boyhood past myself.

    I have a feeling there was a sequel to this story that involved Mr. Davis and the laundry. It was those what-comes-afters that taught us to think ahead.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    May 8, 2021 at 6:36 am

    Well, isn’t that just what kids do, especially boy kids! Thank’s Garland!

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