Monday, June 26, 2006


I realized that I referenced the Shamrock story in the previous post thinking that I had written about it in this blog at some point. After perusing the history files, I see that I have never shared this story in the blog genre.

It's a shame. One that I will try to alleviate today. Then maybe, you can see where the hysterical laughing/crying jag came from.

Look Who's Coming To Dinner

My sister was born on March 16th - the day before St. Patricks Day. Did I mention that her name is Shannon? Yes. Shannon, the Norwegian-Irish lass.

I'm not exactly sure how "Irish" lambs are. I suppose there are some of the little buggers roaming about the Irish countryside.....

I distinctly remember the day - I was probably 4 or 5 when my Mom and I carried this adorable little lamb out to the bus stop to surprise Shannon for her birthday. The lamb had a little green ribbon around it's neck with a pin on it that said, "Kiss me I'm Irish".

We named the lamb, of course, Shamrock.

Shamrock grew, as lambs are wont to do, into a full-fledged sheep in a very short time. He had no idea he was a sheep, since we were on a cattle ranch and had nothing to compare himself to. He hung out with the rowdy cow dogs where he learned to chase cows, bulls and cars.

The cows and bulls were so totally freaked out at the sight of a woolly little lamb rushing toward them menacingly. Herding the cows using Shamrock was definitely more expeditious than using the dogs.

The cars, on the other hand, didn't seem to notice a difference.

Shamrock also loved to head butt.

He also liked to head butt people in the butt (which I supposed would be called a butt butt - but I digress...).

I had a little white pony-riding helmet that had fingernail polish painted polka dots in red all over it. I would wear this helmet and spend an afternoon head butting the pet sheep.

(It is about here that the hysterics began to creep towards the surface. I mean, really. How in the world can this story be real? It's ridiculous.)

After a few years my Dad announced that Shamrock's car chasing days were through. He had found him a beautiful home on a sheep ranch in Idaho. He would be the bellwether of the flock and never be subjected to any harm.

This was a win-win that was out of character in a rancher. We were taught at an early age that you did what you had to do. My father loved his animals and there are none that were better cared for, but it was a business. And business is business. (The story of Patches comes to mind here - but that is for another time.)

So, Shamrock went away to Idaho with many hugs and tears, but happiness was in our hearts that he would be happy and safe. I still have the image in my head of Shamrock ambling over rolling green hills, bell on collar, leading the sheep to greener pastures.......

Be very careful in believing that the grass is always greener.

A few months later, Grandpa was over at dinner. We were all gathered around the dinner table - Norman Rockwell style - when Grandpa said in his heavy Norwegian accent, "Well, ya, is dis da kid's sheep? It's goot, not too tuff."

We had been eating Shamrock for God knows how long.

The children screamed. Mom insisted she didn't know. We cried and cried and retched and cried.

And Dad and Grandpa got the hell out of the house.


At 5:34 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

Oooh. I saw that coming, but still...
When we visited Grandpa and Grandma we used to love patting the soft little rabbits he kept in a in a cage in the garden. Luckily (?), it was many years before I realised we probably ate them, too.

At 6:16 AM, Blogger said...

I had a sneaking suspicion that the farm in Idaho wasn't real.

That's why I could NEVER be a farmer or rancher. *sniff*

Oh! And it almost felt Dr. Seuss-y when you said "shamrock grew as lambs are wont to do..." :D

At 6:16 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Oh no, no, no.

That is awful. As much as I get it. Oh just no.

When we were little we had a pet duck for all of a summer, I still refuse to eat duck. Poor, poor Shamrock.

At 7:39 AM, Blogger Ant said...

I feel quite bad for finding it so funny - but your hysterics halfway through the telling just added to the hilarity...

A priceless story!

At 1:10 PM, Blogger anika said...

OOOOH MY GOSH! I did not see that coming! Oh noooooo ... Bwahahahaaaa Shari, you have the best stories ever.

At 1:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is it with Grampas? We used to love petting the cute little bunnies at my neighbor's house (my adopted Grampa) right up until the day that we were over there eating some kind of chicken dish, and Grampa blurts out that it's actually made of the fluffy bunnies.

Never eaten rabbit again.

Hmm, can't seem to muster the same sympathy for chickens, though...

At 5:29 PM, Blogger rennratt said...

I love the idea of you wearing a helmet, head butting a pet. I literally screamed with laughter when I read it.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger Kingfisher said...

Shamrock was better off. You forgot to define the important part of bellwether, which is wether.

I'd rather be dinner.

At 5:42 AM, Blogger Squishi said...


A lot of our animals "went to the farm".

When i was old enough I figured there was NO farm.

Until last year, when my sister was 33, she still believed her Labrador "Sam" went to the farm, and was devistated when I commented otherwise.


It must be a standard parent story. Meanybums.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger Janie said...

you. must. be. joking.
i think i will blissfully focus on the shari-head-butting part! :) btw, have you ever met a man named zinedine zidane?!


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