Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson Column: Looking for a goat time on Good Friday

If you drive by the farm market a little slower you see the goat pen.

My friend Mr. George Brewster got two helium-filled Mylar balloons for his birthday, a nine and an eight, as he turned 98 on April 5.

I’d made a note to call him that day and to wish him the best of days but instead, and not surprisingly, all it took was a 10-minute call for him to make mine.

He made me laugh so much. His outlook on life meshes so nicely with what I like to write about.

Full of joy and gratefulness for his life, his wife, his friends and his town, Mr. Brewster spoke of the little things that give him reason to smile. He talked about the news of the day and how it’s not really new anymore, it’s the same thing over and over again and how he’s much more interested in the little things in life. Those are what give him real joy. Little things, like balloons:

“You’ve probably seen these balloons but I never have!” he told me. “You could move one in front of the other and make 89, or you could turn one upside down to make 86 or 68…I could make myself younger!” he proclaimed with a chuckle.

Mr. Brewster is a talker, though quite apologetic about it. I spoke for less than three minutes worth of our 10-minute conversation and while he’d likely feel bad about that, I certainly don’t. If you ever get a chance to chat with somebody who has seen so much of life, you’re best to listen.

So if it’s alright with you, I’d like to tell you about a day my family had over the long weekend that I would have told Mr. Brewster about if I hadn’t been so keen to listen to what he had to say.

It was actually Good Friday and after a week of long and trying days, I was determined that we were going to have a good day. How? I had no idea but it was going to be a good day.

It ended up being a “Goat Friday”. Let me explain.

If you’ve ever been travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway just north of Mount Sicker Road, you know about Russell Farms Market on the west side of the highway.

If you look closely when you’re zooming by you see the market and the farm field and the buildings and that’s about it.

But like Mr. Brewster reminded me on his birthday, “If you move too fast, you don’t see anything. It’s when you slow down that you begin to see the small joys in life.”

If you drive by the farm market a little slower, though, you see the goat pen. If you’re lucky, while you’re going slow, you’ll notice the three goats. I’d been promising to take the kids to see the goats for a while but life happens and we’ve been zooming by them more than anything.

Well, on Good Friday we went to see the goats. Honestly, we had nothing else to do and we hoped that seeing the goats would at least entice the kids out of the house.

It worked!

The amount of joy we got from those three goats was silly. I was so amused by the under-bite on the biggest of the trio. That goat was really interested in the muffin my husband was eating and that made my son laugh. My daughter just squealed with delight at the whole situation, the goats rubbing their bodies on the fence and sticking their heads through and over the fence for a pet, which she gleefully obliged.

“Goat away!” my son would shout over the highway traffic. That made us all giggle. He’s become a pretty clever wordplay comic. “Goat out of here!”

We got in the car, so invigorated by the sunshine, being together, and the success of our goat visit that we headed out for a nearby hike. We picked Mount Richards because the Maple Mountain lot was teeming with mountain bikers. We got a few hundred yards up the Mount Richards Mainline when we saw a family and their three animals walking toward us. I knew my dog-loving daughter would be happy to see more animals. As they neared, we noticed that they weren’t actually dogs at all. They were three (you guessed it!) leashed goats trotting along with the family.

My entire family laughed and laughed at the site. The poor family walking by had no idea why we were so delighted.

“I hope they had a goat hike,” said one of my family members.

“It is a goat day for that,” said another.

“It’s actually a pretty Goat Friday,” said yet another.

The rest of the hike, and the day, went really smoothly. The best family day we’ve had in a while. All because we took the time and slowed down one day and noticed the goats as we drove by, and then because we took the time to slow down even more another day and went for a visit.

So, if you’re life is speeding by, try slowing down and looking for the little things. Maybe you, too, could have a really goat time.

ColumnistComedy and Humour