Bob Maloney, 62, of Foxberg, OR, didn’t know as he set out last Saturday morning with a pickup load of goats, that he would be on the news all over the state by noon.
Mr. Maloney was taking some goats to market. He had loaded them in his old Ford pickup which is equipped with a cage on the back, then shut the tailgate on them. Of course, it didn’t shut completely, because it was an old Ford, and their tailgates never work correctly.
But he shut it as best he could, then set off down the road toward the market about 20 minutes away in the nearby town of Linnville.
It was a bright sunny day and Mr. Bob was happy. This batch of goats, eight in number, had grown well and would bring good prices at market. The goats in the back seemed to be relatively calm and things were pretty quiet until Mr. Bob took a hard fast left onto 99W from Abbey Rd right in downtown Falayette.
The tailgate on the Ford, which was never very secure to begin with, plopped down open with a thunk.
Old Mr. Bob thought he had hit a skunk. He says he can tell what he hits (because apparently he hits things pretty often) by the tone of the thunk it makes, and he was sure certain that that thunk was a skunk thunk.
He thought nothing of it till a half block later when he started hearing noises that sounded like loose goats, and sure enough, when he peered into his side mirrors, there was goats spread all over downtown Falayette.
Mr. Bob told me that, “Well eight goats don’t seem much on the farm, but boy I tell you when they is spread all over three and a half blocks of town, running between semi trucks and street sweepers and knocking shopping bags and egg cartons and milkshakes out of people’s hands and chomping down on flowers and shrubbery in front of stores and houses it seems like one whale of a lot of goats.”
He pulled over and put the hazard lights on.
They wouldn’t work, so he just pulled over and shut off the engine.
It wouldn’t shut off. So he just pulled over and opened the door.
The door wouldn’t open, so he just pulled over and climbed out the open window.
By this time, some goats were already five blocks away. About 20 cars had stopped all over the road and several people were running around chasing the goats. Another group of people was standing on the sidewalks on both sides and yelling,
“Call animal control!”
“Call the sheriff!”
Added to that din and the noise of eight frantic bleating goats was air brakes kicking in as half a dozen semi trucks slowed down and honked their horns, screeching of tires as another two or three motorists going too fast narrowly missed a goat or two and Mr. Bob yelling, “Come here goaties!”
In another ten minutes, three accidents had happened involving seven cars. Steam was rising from smashed radiators, the air was thick with cell phone waves and bellowing people and sirens from police cars and an ambulance.
One goat was all the way out of town and headed up Mineral Springs Rd. Another was headed down to the Yamhill River and a couple more were checking out the local sewer system on the south edge of town.
About a hundred people or so were now running all over town chasing the goats. The police chief had a megaphone which another concerned citizen had grabbed and was bellowing, “MAA, MAA!” into it with very little success.
Right about then, a large semi truck with two trailers swerved to miss another little goat and smashed into Antonio’s Italian Restaurant, sending spaghetti noodles and pepperoni slices flying everywhere.
Mr. Bob, now slightly bewildered, had settled down on the tailgate of his truck and was peacefully and contemplatively smoking a pipe. A pan of grain was beside him which he rattled every now and then, hoping the goats would come back. He knew he didn’t have enough strength to go chasing goats all over town.
Bob Maloney had left his farm at 10:35. He made the fatal left turn at 11:01 precisely. It was now 11:30, and the news crews from three different stations had arrived, taking pictures and interviews.
Mrs. Pinkerblip, 78, of 1025 N Bridge St, told Adam Constricki of DueWee News that she had been sipping tea on her front porch when an old Ford carrying eight goats had sputtered past. Two of the goats had seen her and “maa”-ed politely (according to her) and a couple minutes later she heard a thunk.
“Well I jest sipped tea,” Mrs. Pinkerblip said, “and thought about what that thunk was. Before I knowed it, there was goats all over town.”
Mrs. Cornita Harrish, 67, of 2398 S Bridge St, told Mavis Dooley of Westside Newscasting, “I was playing rummy with three of my friends, you know Arnica Parrish who lives over on Monroe St and has the little brown Chihuahua? Yes well there was her there, and let’s see….who else was there….”
Ms. Dooley, your local reporter, interrupted Mrs. Cornita to ask, “How many goats were in your front yard, Mrs. Harrish, and what were they doing?”
“Oh yes, the goats,” Mrs. Cornita giggled. “There was about three or four of them, and one of them turned around so his tail was to me and my goodness these little round things started popping out, hehe. The rest of them were eating grass and stuff in my yard.”
“Oh I don’t care!” she bellowed over to her neighbor, Carson Longworth, 96, of 2400 S Bridge St, “my lawn ain’t been mowed in weeks.”
At this point, Ms. Dooley was knocked over by a fast-approaching goat and she retreated back to the safety of the news van.
As she was running back to the van, she saw that Animal Control had arrived with flashing lights and a screech of tires. Rubber was still blowing into the atmosphere when six uniformed Animal Controllians leaped out with tranquilizer guns, shouting, “Where are the rabid okapis?”
Apparently someone had mistaken a goat for an okapi, just how we are not sure.
In short order, all eight goats had been tranquilized, loaded and piled back into Mr. Bob’s truck, and with the tailgate bungee corded together, he was off once again for market, where we believe he did indeed get a good price for his goats.