Friday, December 18th, 2015
L’Elizabeth is a coffeehouse+ bar in Providence, Rhode Island. It is well appointed with stuffed couches, antique coffee tables, candles and low lighting, a highly polished wood bar, wool carpets, and serves positively the best Irish Coffee you’ll ever taste. I have a hazy memory of it being a good spot for romantic dates. But the last time I went there was for pure solace. My good friend Rita had flown up from Florida to help me cope with my father’s recent death and we were exhausted after a day of packing and sorting my dad’s belongings. Late in the evening we headed over to L’Elizabeth for the aforementioned Irish coffee to close out the night. After a while, a bubbly young man tending bar came around to our table and proceeded to hug both me and Rita, exclaiming over and over again “Share the love, share the love!” Really, I don’t know what the right response should have been, but we started to giggle. “Share the love”, he continued to warble as he made his way to the next table for hugging. That young man transformed our evening.
Mr. Newman Goat has been trying to share the love recently, much to the dismay and confusion of Waldo the pig. In psychological terms, I believe this a case of transference. I’m quite sure Newman realizes that Waldo is NOT Tetsuro our long-time pig resident who sadly passed away earlier this year – and yet he still hopes to maintain the same somewhat bizarre combination of bullying and cozy cuddling that he and Tetsuro had worked out. Feeding time is one that severely challenges my logistical tools, and matched against the wits of Newman who has figured out every lock, gate closing and defensive movement I’ve developed and thus daily tries to get to Waldo’s dinner first. Waldo is not quite as astute as he needs to be about the need to scurry into his own pen when food appears and so more than once has had the pee scared out of him as Newman bears down on me, him, and the food bowl. Yet on long afternoons or cool evenings, I find these two quite comfortably snoozing in the same space together.
Newman is, in fact, a really old goat. I worry that he is getting soft. Last week I found him snoring away right next to Dee Dee Donkey –it’s not that they dislike each other, but, you see, Dee Dee will NEVER share her food bowl with anyone, not no one, not no how. That should pretty much disqualify her for being included in the Newman Goat Friend Circle. Nevertheless, I have proof of the two of them downright snuggling.
It seems to me that this season in particular has been, in fact, a fine one for snuggly feelings. The farm has been buzzing with visitors wanting to do meet and greets with the animals, and the postman has delivered about a gazillion packages full of presents for the animals – everything from applesauce and pumpkin for Waldo, to medicine for Bullwinkle. People are arriving bearing gifts of paper towels, vinegar, dog food, pitchforks – their eyes light up when the deliver the presents and see how they will be put to immediate use. There is just something about these animals. I never, ever get tired of seeing the delight in people’s faces when they are approached by a bold Jean-Claude llama, or a goat nibbles on their digital camera.
The holiday season is one full of happiness for some, and sadly one that is an emotional minefield for many. Whatever your beliefs, however you choose to spend your time over the next few weeks, remember that there are always several dozen animals at Star Gazing Farm who will gladly share their love with you – now, and any old time of the year!
‘Til next time,
Be honest, be kind, and share the love. ~ Suzi Quatro