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Sweet Pea in the Manger ©

Our son, Jess, is home for a few weeks over the holidays and it’s so good to have him here with us on the farm. He’s been pondering what kind of a gift he could get for his mom that she would treasure and last week he came up with the perfect idea: a goat!

The very first animals we bought for the farm were goats. Three of them: Oreo (Black and white naturally!), her daughter, Babe, and a related cousin, Snickers, who was my wife’s favorite. Unfortunately, Snickers succumbed to an accident a few years ago, the details of which I’ll spare you, and Oreo died of old age. So, for the last eighteen months or so, Babe has been on her own and to hear my wife pine over her you would think the world was coming to an end.

So, Monday a week ago, Jess got the inspiration to go get his mom a new baby goat to keep Babe company. He went to Marview Farms, in Arabi, GA (https://marviewfarms.com/), a wonderful source for all kinds of organically raised meats and live animals as we were searching for. Jess and Max, my other son, snuck away in my pickup truck with a large dog cage in the back in late afternoon so as to be there just as the goats were coming in from their pasture time.

In not much more than an hour they were back in our driveway just as it was getting dark. It so happened that we were having a few guests for dinner that night so Jess and Max called everyone out for the “unveiling” of his mom’s special gift and the latest addition to our farm’s menagerie of animals. Bess could not have been more surprised or more elated about the thought of Babe finally having a stable mate with whom she could roam the farm; after all, nothing worse than a lone goat, you know!

Well we unloaded the baby, white with brown markings, goat and put her into the corral with Babe where she’d be safe while they got used to each other. Of course they both had to have a snack right off the bat to give her a proper welcome while the rest of us proceeded back into the house to sit down to a big farmhouse dinner while we would ponder and pick the name of this newly adopted member of the Milby family. What should we name her was the burning issue of discussion ………until we landed on “Sweet Pea”. That was the name Abby, our granddaughter, suggested and Bess agreed. That settled it!

The next major decision of course was, where would Sweet Pea sleep on her first night at her new farm? After some serious deliberation it was decided to let her sleep with Babe in the barn. Now our barn, even after its renovations this year, is a rather modest structure with a pecan tree growing right through its side to make it unique. It houses our chickens in the NE corner, my tractor on the West side, the cattle in the South central area and now the goats in the SE corner. That makes it sound huge I know but in reality its only about 40×40 feet. You can see pictures of Bess with Sweet Pea in front of the barn on Facebook  at www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsofCentralGA/.

No, the barn isn’t fancy but it does provide a small measure of protection from wind and rain but not from the cold. No, God’s coat would have to do that; no fires in the barn!

And so it was also, when Mary and Joseph welcomed baby Jesus into the world over 2000 years ago. As the bible tells us, there was no room for them in the inn of Bethlehem so the innkeeper let them spend the night in his stable, perhaps not unlike our barn. Mary didn’t have a proper cradle for him so she laid baby Jesus in a manger which is a trough or a rack for fodder used to hold food for animals. Perhaps some goats like Sweet Pea had just eaten their dinner from that manger before Jesus was laid in it for His first night on earth. Certainly could have been.

Humbling thoughts that our eternal king would choose to spend His first night with us in a manger isn’t it?

May you have a blessed Christmas as you snuggle into your warm comfortable bed tonight after a wonderful day of celebration!

Thanks for reading All About Seniors…..see you next week

Bill Milby is a Director of Visiting Angels® of Central Georgia, a non-medical, living assistance service for seniors. If you have questions or comments about this column you can reach him at william.mercylink@gmail.com or search for us at  https://www.facebook.com/VisitingAngelsofCentralGA/