Phyllis can't resist little lambs by Bob Karolevitz We were talking with a sheep man and his wife recently, and our conversation quickly turned to the time when Phyllis had a flock of her own.
He was lambing out 200 ewes � which was almost three times as many as my wife�s 70 � and already he had lots of bottle babies which needed individual attention.
�Why don�t you come and help us?� they said, directing their comment to Phyllis, not me. �It would be like old times for you,� they added.
Before I knew it, Phyllis was demonstrating how she held a milk bottle between her legs and had one in each hand so she could feed three hungry lambs at the same time.
�Oh no!� I thought. �She�s already caught up in reminiscenses. It won�t be long before she agrees to their plea � and once again I�ll lose my wife to a lambing pen.�
It�s hard for guys to understand, but there is something about springtime and new births that brings out a natural instinct in gals. At least some of them want to be intimately involved in the process, and Phyllis is one!
Me? I get queasy at the sight of blood, and I hate the smell of lanolin. Obviously I don�t have the same maternal drive.
Moreover, I can still remember the almost-frozen little lamb in the kitchen sink as we tried to revive it in warm water.
�See?� Phyllis exclaimed gleefully. It�s alive. Keep soaking it until it bleats.�
And I did, although I didn�t like putting my hands in that gosh-awful mess.
I also recall force-feeding that life-giving first milk down the throats of tiny orphans. Phyllis had a standing order with the local dairy farmer for colostrum when we had trouble milking a ewe. I even built a special stanchion for that.
I was volunteered to help with breech births, too; and I made midnight runs to the barn to check on a ewe in labor. However, it was not my cup of tea, but Phyllis enjoyed it.
Needless to say, I held my breath when those fellow farmers offered her a chanc e to become involved again. I could see that her resistance was low as she almost said �yes.�
Of course, the offer didn�t include me, and I was relieved when Phyllis was apparently satisfied with mere recollections of a sheep-filled past. I wanted to say �You can�t turn back the calendar,� but I wisely held my tongue.
I�m still thankful that there are still folks out there who do what we did for a long, long time. If they didn�t, I couldn�t enjoy an occasional leg o� lamb or chops.
But if Phyllis had her way, all of her sheep would have died of old age. She shed many a tear when her wethers went off to slaughter. As a matter of fact, she always hoped that all of her new lambs would be female so that they would be spared as mothers.
I suppose that � and arthritis � influenced the decision to sell out, but I noted that she still has a few lingering thoughts of participation again. But not me!
Admittedly, I enjoyed seeing all those new-borns gamboling in the pasture. However, I was inwardly glad when the sheep man and his wife said a friendly goodbye and went back to their ovine labors.
They had rekindled fond memories for Phyllis; but, thank goodness, that was all.
� 2003 Robert F. Karolevitz