Originally published in 2003
One fine morning in September, I was awakened from my sleep by Dear Son informing me that someone had stopped by the farm and wanted to buy a goat. We used to breed and show Alpine dairy goats for 4-H. Groaning, I crawled from the bed, performed the bare minimum of morning hygiene and slipped on a poly/cotton knit, red dress that was covered in small white stars.
I met the gentleman out by the pasture fence where he was talking with Dear Son. He was the typical older farmer I had seen locally….leathery face, small and stooped wearing khaki pants with a tidy plaid button down shirt and baseball cap. I introduced myself and we began to discuss the merits of the dairy goats and what he wanted the goats for. I pointed out their excellent bloodlines and milking history but was interrupted.
“I have no interest in papers and registries. They are idolatrous.”
“But a registry tells you how good an udder a doe will have, how much milk she is likely to produce. The number of stars in their pedigree indicates exceptional milkers…,” I explained.
“I’m not interested in bloodlines or any of that idolatrous registry stuff. I don’t care if they are show goats. God will give that goat as much milk as I need.”
Ooookay. I then pointed out which goats were for sale. He immediately dismissed Sylvia and wanted a price on two junior doelings who were clearly of a better quality than Sylvia. He was certainly no fool when it came to recognizing quality animals.
“How much fer those two?”, he said, pointing to the pair.
“One hundred dollars per goat.” These were quality goats from good bloodlines and I wasn’t about to sell them for less just because Mr. Farmer Dude had a theological objection to registered goats.
He turned to me and practically spat out his words, “You raise your goats in an idolatrous and evil way. If God had intended goats to be registered, they would be born that way. In fact, your dress you are wearing is idolatrous with those stars on it. God says we are not to make any graven images.”
Slightly taken aback by this turn of conversation, I replied, “My Bible says we are not to make graven images of God and worship them. I don’t worship stars.”
“Oh, yes, you do. Those stars are a graven image and your dress is an idolatrous worship of stars.”
Throughout my years in the South, I had encountered the occasional religious goof such as the cashier who had a fit of anti-Christ apoplexy over my $6.66 purchase total but never had I met such fire and brimstone resistance to an article of my usually very modest clothing. Mr. Goober was wearing a pink/purple plaid shirt and obviously saw no hypocrisy in wearing such a garment despite the fact that had God intended for pink and purple to align themselves into repeating columns of perpendicular lines, He would have created it that way. Clearly he was idolizing plaid and I needed to administer correction for the sake of his soul.
“Pardon me but it looks to me like you are worshiping plaid.”
At that comment, he turned on his heels without further ado and walked as fast as his decrepit old legs could toddle him back to his truck. He had been in the presence of an idol worshiping, star-wearing woman on a farm from the depths of Hades that bred demonic goats and he couldn’t make his exit from this evil fast enough.
“Have a nice day,” I cheerfully called after him while waving. He didn’t acknowledge me but climbed into his truck, sprayed gravel backing out the driveway and nearly got killed pulling out in front of a large semi-truck in his haste. I watched him depart with some sadness knowing that yet another deceived plaid worshiper had not come to a saving knowledge of polka dots and tie-dye.