Holy Sheep!

Brian Golden

My Tuesday morning began pretty typical. The alarm went off at precisely 5:05 a.m. and I was up and about as usual. As I threw together my attire for the day I took a peek out of the window and saw a heavy fog shrouding the surrounding hills. I had taken a sick day on Monday (due to a nasty sinus infection and headache), and I was anxious to get back to the office and see how many e-mails and phone calls I had amassed, not to mention I had a story to write.

Now anyone familiar with the area where I grew up knows that there are two ways into the city from my house, the well-traveled County Route 36 with a left turn down Polkville Hill, or the twisting, winding Dan Main Hill Road, my preferred route. This morning was no different as I hopped into the Green Machine (a sarcastic reference to my aging Neon) and down the road I went.

Animals of all varieties are a given in my neck of the woods, and over the years I’ve managed to avoid collisions with all sorts, domestic and wild (one particular morning I dodged a young deer, a rabbit and a skunk in rapid succession, thinking to myself, what is this a Disney movie?). I even watched in disbelief one afternoon as a baby black bear took a header out of a tree in my backyard. I’ve slammed on the brakes more times than I can count to spare the lives of chipmunks, squirrels, cats, dogs, foxes, woodchucks, coyotes and so on. You name it I’ve missed it, even if by a foot (I was, however, in the car with a friend when he took out a chicken right up the road), but I was completely unprepared for what I was about to experience this particular Tuesday morning.

Sheep. And we’re not talking a couple of sheep, we’re talking a large group of sheep, commonly referred to as a flock, herd or mob (for the purposes of this writing I think I’ll stick with mob).

I was perhaps a mile and a half from my house, driving carefully due to the dense fog and cresting a blind hill, when a host of shadowy figures appeared through the blanket of misty whiteness. As the fog parted I suddenly found myself barreling toward the mob of sheep (if you haven’t noticed, it always seems like you’re driving much faster when approaching a potential collision). Slamming on the brakes, I veered dangerously close to the ditch, aiming for a slight gap in the mob. And I almost made it. Above the screech of the brakes I heard a loud thump and a grunt of pain from one of the adult sheep (I’m just glad I didn’t hit one of the little ones, I don’t know that I could live with that), yet I was optimistic when I realized I hadn’t run the poor thing over, it had just bounced off of the driver-side door of the car. I continued on my way for several reasons. One, the hour (it was 5:15 in the morning). Two, I’ve known the family that owns this mob for years and three, I promised myself I would stop back on my way home that evening. Which I did.

I didn’t quite know what to expect when I returned that evening, but it turned out my fears were unfounded. Not only were the owners of the sheep completely understanding, they actually apologized to me for the incident. Best of all, none of the sheep had been seriously injured, much to my relief. The only damage to the Green Machine? A driver side door that will not open, forcing me to climb in and out of the passenger side, an inconvenience I am happy to put up with for now until I can get it fixed. And the moral of this story? Please drive carefully because you never know when a mob of sheep could be just around the corner.