By Teresa Michaud

“Oh no, Raymond, the oven went out.” I said. Raymond entered the kitchen and looked over the situation. He decided to pull out our stove and bring in the one from the garage. I helped him haul in the other one. I finished cooking our supper while he went to work on our oven. Out came the toolboxes. He removed stove panels and screws and placed them here and there on the countertops and the floor. We ate supper a little late and that was fine. The dishes would wait. This evening, we were expecting some very special company.

The doorbell rang it was Chenisse Ouellette. She is a grade 7 student. She came over to visit the new baby goats. The last few days, three of our angora goat does each gave birth to a set of twins.  Chenisse came over with her little brother, Lee, who is in grade 2. She also brought along her Mom, Lecha, her little niece, Amélie, also in grade two, and her Mom’s good friend Judi. Although the kitchen was in disarray, I was not embarrassed. These wonderful people would never judge, if anything, they would want to help. We chatted in the house for several minutes exchanging introductions. My husband, Raymond, stayed for a little while but was unable to hang about since he was late for milking the cows. I could see that he really wanted to stay and visit with the kids. When Lee and his niece, Amélie were born, Lee’s father, Claude, a very well known businessman in our area, was as beaming with pride. He had just earned bragging-rights since he was a father (Lee), became a grand father (Amélie) and an uncle all in the same month. Lee is as out-going and friendly as his father. Amélie, I found to be extremely bashful. As I spoke with her, she timidly buried her chin in the collar of her coat and spoke very softly.

We all went out to the little barn together. Amélie followed behind. The children were excited to see those tiny babies. Chenisse and Lee each had cameras and snapped pictures like the Paparazzi. Amélie stood back a ways and watched the others play with the new kids.  Regina delivered her twins only this afternoon so they were resting. I had set up some bails along the wall so that the children could easily see over the walls and admire the newborns. Robin delivered on Tuesday night and was in the pen next to Regina with her two kids. Reine had given birth early on Monday. Reine is very friendly with people. She and her kids were out in the open where we were and our guests were able to pet her and handle the kids at will.

Lecha asked Amélie very early on if she would like to hold Uchenna, the little girl goat. She just shook her head. Judi and Lecha had turns cradling the babies. Chenisse was cuddling Uchenna in her arms while Lee was enjoying himself hopping on the bails to look at the newborns and taking their pictures. Occasionally I heard Judi and Lecha trying to coax Amélie into holding a baby. She would only shake her head and back away. I quietly walked over to Chenisse and asked if perhaps Amélie was afraid. Chenisse did not think so; she believed that she was just timid. Lee and Chenisse visited the big bucks. Lee loved the huge intimidating horns on the ‘big boys’. They took pictures, asked smart questions, and were amazed that they mostly used their horns for grooming themselves. Later on, I caught Reine’s little boy baby, Uzair, and asked Amélie if she wanted to touch his fleece to see how soft it was. She reached out her hand hesitantly and touched his back; she then withdrew her hand and smiled shyly at me. I set him down and he scampered towards the stairs.

A flashback came to me of when I was two years old. My father was carrying me in his arms at a parade. After which, my babysitter came over to us. She was holding her beautiful fur majorette hat while she spoke with my father. I was admiring it. It was so plush and white. It had a fluffy, royal blue feather rising up off the front. I yearned to hug that hat and wanted to bury my face deep into it. She finally asked me if I wanted to touch it. I put my finger on it, immediately drew it back, and smiled, much the same way that Amélie had. I knew that everyone had had turns holding the babies except Amélie. I really felt bad. I knew that she wanted to hug one of those sweet little kids. I averted my attention to the others. We watched as Uzair tried to climb up onto the first step of the staircase to the hayloft. We were enjoying the show. He was really working hard. He tried and tried, but the steps were just too narrow and he kept falling off. Meanwhile, I turned around and looked back to where Amélie was. She was sitting on a bail holding Uchenna in her arms. Her face was beaming.

Amelie