Monday, November 17, 2014

Smell That Country

We are country folk. Walking to the mailbox takes longer than a football halftime. Mowing the “lawn” is a commitment. Assorted animals have raucous sex in plain view and without shame. And NOTHING smells like it was whipped up in a Johnson and Johnson laboratory to smell like pumpkin spice and applesauce.

As country folk, we recognize that the “real” world stinks. Literally. 

FACT: There is no deodorant big enough for Mother Nature.

“What is that stench?” I said to absolutely no one, while sucking air through my teeth because the hairs in my nose were sizzling. 

Sunlight jittered. A light, calm breeze heavy with hell’s foul breath wafted. 

I checked the horses in the barn. They were happily crunching, munching, and tooting their way through life. Pretty standard stink there. Not the source of the truly foul odor that floated across my yard in a toxic cloud. 

The smell wasn’t coming from Mr. Abe’s, our Moroccan neighbor. The festival of blood . . . er . . . um . . . the festival of Eid was over and everyone had cut their chunks of bloody goat meat out of the trees and dragged them home. 

FACT: Yes! You read that correctly. My neighbor slaughters dozens of animals twice a year and then hangs them in the trees while everyone from their mosque enjoys a picnic. It’s a cultural treat for the eyes, but there’s less smell than you might think.

Another gust of wind gagged me.

Not Mr. Abe’s then. The stink was coming from the other neighbor’s house, Mr. Medina: retired former pizza restaurant owner and bare-chested weekend hobby farmer.

A Nubian ram, the size of a small pony, lifted his nose to the sky, curled his lip, dropped his head to his side, curled in to himself, and peed on his own face. The smell exploded across two acres of pasture like the stench of an open landfill. 

It was the filthy musk of a full-grown boy goat in raging, snorting . . . rut . . . er . . . lust . . . um . . . love . . . WITH A DONKEY.

I pinched my nose as I watched the impossible sight of the enormous boy goat leaping after Mr. Medina’s donkey. The donkey, eyes whirling around in his head like pinwheels, ran for his sexual purity. The donkey brayed. The goat pranced. Goat smell continued to choke me.

Then, if that wasn’t countrified enough, I gaped as Mr. Medina popped out of his barn door like a cork out of a bottle—broom in hand. He started to chase the goat, chasing the donkey. The trio circled the pasture. I rubbed my eyes and coughed.

FACT: Mother Nature is nuts.

I thought about helping my neighbor as a good Christian woman should. I didn’t. I was too afraid the goat might start chasing me. I couldn’t risk it. I don’t run that fast.

FACT: Mother Nature plays for keeps.

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is except to say, “Run hard. Run fast.”

Linda (Sniffles) Zern

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