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The Idiot's Guide
By Beth LaBuff

As dusk grew over Eagleton,
Jake wrangled with the traffic,
Weary of his function in
The business demographic.

At middle-age he pondered whether
Life might be much better
Distanced from the hoi polloi,
Then he received THE LETTER.

With trepidation Jake unsealed
The business envelope
From the legal offices
Of Payne, McMann, and Shope.

The notice from within informed
That Uncle Will had passed.
He left Jake the Chevon Ranch
And all that he'd amassed.

BUT Jake must live on Chevon Ranch,
Read the stipulation.
He must run and work the spread
To meet the annotation.

"This could be my lucky break--
An exit from this rat-race.
Country life could be the thing
And Chevon Ranch--the place."

To Jake's befuddlement, the ranch
With locale so remote,
Didn't come complete with cows,
But with a billy goat.

When life gives you lemons--
You make lemonade.
When gifted with a billy goat--
Life throws you a grenade.

From this responsibility
He would not abdicate.
He'd cast his heart, his soul, his lot
In Chevon Ranch estate.

He needed information--fast
To keep this ranch afloat.
At the town's library he found
Idiot's Guide to Goats.

Chapter Two -- Don't Turn Your Back
Goats have been known to butt.
"BUTT! I'm SHOCKED they used that word,
This book is filled with smut."

Chapter Seven -- Shearing Goats
Goats must be shaved and sheared.
"I'm sure that's probably because
The billy goats have beards."

Chapter Thirteen -- Breeding Goats
For this you need a nanny.
"A NANNY! I don't have a child.
That's crazily uncanny!"

Chapter Fifteen -- Raising Goats
Then soon you'll have a kid.
"A KID!" I've yet to find a wife.
Oy vey! Heaven forbid!

Epilogue...
Jake persevered and prospered.
He soon increased his flock.
Met a gal, then married her,
Shhh! There's a NEW KID on the block.


Author's Note: Chevon is goat meat.
BETH LABUFF has been married for almost thirty years. She and her husband, Tilman, live in northeastern Arizona. Beth is the music accompanist for the Holbrook, Arizona School District. If you would like to write to Beth, you can do so through the Letters page of this magazine.