Sarah Simpson

Sarah Simpson Column: Looking for a goat time on Good Friday

If you drive by the farm market a little slower you see the goat pen.

My friend Mr. George Brewster got two helium-filled Mylar balloons for his birthday, a nine and an eight, as he turned 98 on April 5.

I’d made a note to call him that day and to wish him the best of days but instead, and not surprisingly, all it took was a 10-minute call for him to make mine.

He made me laugh so much. His outlook on life meshes so nicely with what I like to write about.

Full of joy and gratefulness for his life, his wife, his friends and his town, Mr. Brewster spoke of the little things that give him reason to smile. He talked about the news of the day and how it’s not really new anymore, it’s the same thing over and over again and how he’s much more interested in the little things in life. Those are what give him real joy. Little things, like balloons:

“You’ve probably seen these balloons but I never have!” he told me. “You could move one in front of the other and make 89, or you could turn one upside down to make 86 or 68…I could make myself younger!” he proclaimed with a chuckle.

Mr. Brewster is a talker, though quite apologetic about it. I spoke for less than three minutes worth of our 10-minute conversation and while he’d likely feel bad about that, I certainly don’t. If you ever get a chance to chat with somebody who has seen so much of life, you’re best to listen.

So if it’s alright with you, I’d like to tell you about a day my family had over the long weekend that I would have told Mr. Brewster about if I hadn’t been so keen to listen to what he had to say.

It was actually Good Friday and after a week of long and trying days, I was determined that we were going to have a good day. How? I had no idea but it was going to be a good day.

It ended up being a “Goat Friday”. Let me explain.

If you’ve ever been travelling along the Trans-Canada Highway just north of Mount Sicker Road, you know about Russell Farms Market on the west side of the highway.

If you look closely when you’re zooming by you see the market and the farm field and the buildings and that’s about it.

But like Mr. Brewster reminded me on his birthday, “If you move too fast, you don’t see anything. It’s when you slow down that you begin to see the small joys in life.”

If you drive by the farm market a little slower, though, you see the goat pen. If you’re lucky, while you’re going slow, you’ll notice the three goats. I’d been promising to take the kids to see the goats for a while but life happens and we’ve been zooming by them more than anything.

Well, on Good Friday we went to see the goats. Honestly, we had nothing else to do and we hoped that seeing the goats would at least entice the kids out of the house.

It worked!

The amount of joy we got from those three goats was silly. I was so amused by the under-bite on the biggest of the trio. That goat was really interested in the muffin my husband was eating and that made my son laugh. My daughter just squealed with delight at the whole situation, the goats rubbing their bodies on the fence and sticking their heads through and over the fence for a pet, which she gleefully obliged.

“Goat away!” my son would shout over the highway traffic. That made us all giggle. He’s become a pretty clever wordplay comic. “Goat out of here!”

We got in the car, so invigorated by the sunshine, being together, and the success of our goat visit that we headed out for a nearby hike. We picked Mount Richards because the Maple Mountain lot was teeming with mountain bikers. We got a few hundred yards up the Mount Richards Mainline when we saw a family and their three animals walking toward us. I knew my dog-loving daughter would be happy to see more animals. As they neared, we noticed that they weren’t actually dogs at all. They were three (you guessed it!) leashed goats trotting along with the family.

My entire family laughed and laughed at the site. The poor family walking by had no idea why we were so delighted.

“I hope they had a goat hike,” said one of my family members.

“It is a goat day for that,” said another.

“It’s actually a pretty Goat Friday,” said yet another.

The rest of the hike, and the day, went really smoothly. The best family day we’ve had in a while. All because we took the time and slowed down one day and noticed the goats as we drove by, and then because we took the time to slow down even more another day and went for a visit.

So, if you’re life is speeding by, try slowing down and looking for the little things. Maybe you, too, could have a really goat time.

ColumnistComedy and Humour

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The organizers of the annual 39 days of July festival hope to return to live shows in Charles Hoey Park this year, like in this photo taken in 2019, but audiences at the show may be limited to 50 people due to health protocols. (File photo)
39 Days of July hoping for outdoor events in Duncan this summer

Annual music festival will run from June 25 to Aug. 2 this year

Cowichan Valley WildSafeBC coordinator Amanda Crowston teaches a Grade 5/6 class at Ecole Cobble Hill last fall. (Submitted)
The bears are back in town and so is WildSafeBC

The bears are back in town so keep an eye out, reminds… Continue reading

The Regional District of Nanaimo has its sights set on busing to the Cowichan Valley in time for March 2022. (News Bulletin file)
Bus link between Nanaimo and the Cowichan Valley expected by next March

Unallocated transit hours already in Regional District of Nanaimo budget

North Cowichan has heated exchange over timelines of its official community plan review. (File photo)
North Cowichan’s OCP review divides council

Tight timelines leads to heated debate

Matt Ellison was a star with the Kerry Park Islanders before embarking on a pro career that included stops in the NHL and KHL. (Submitted)
Ex-NHLers to highlight Kerry Park-Peninsula alumni games

Matt Ellison and Kyle Greentree commit to suit up in August

A bullet hole is seen in the windshield of an RCMP vehicle approximately 4 km from Vancouver International Airport after a one person was killed during a shooting outside the international departures terminal at the airport, in Richmond, B.C., Sunday, May 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Homicide team IDs man in fatal YVR shooting as police grapple with spate of gang violence

Man, 20, charged in separate fatal shooting Burnaby over the weekend

Minister of Health Patty Hajdu responds to a question during question period in the House of Commons on Parliament Hill in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Advocates say drug users were shut out of Vancouver’s decriminalization proposal, demands redo

The coalition is asking the city to raise the proposed drug thresholds from a 3-day supply

David and Julie Kaplan with their children Estelle and Justin. (Special to The News)
COVID-19 border closure stops B.C. family’s cross-country move

Maple Ridge couple, two kids, turned away at New Brunswick border

Kelowna RCMP precinct. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Kelowna RCMP reviewing rough arrest after video shared on social media

The video shows an officer punching a man while arresting him for allegedly driving a stolen car

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains in the B.C. legislature, May 13, 2019. (Hansard TV)
B.C. to provide three days of sick pay for COVID-19 absences

Province will support employers on cost, labour minister says

B.C. doctors could face consequences for spreading COVID misinformation: college

College says doctors have a higher level of responsibility to not spread incorrect information

The seasonal Search and Rescue program will run between May to September. ( File photo/Canadian Coast Guard)
North Vancouver Island Coast Guard Inshore Rescue Program ready to relaunch

Teams have protocols in place to ensure COVID-19 safety while providing marine safety net

Kelowna resident Sally Wallick helped rescue a kayaker in distress a week and a half ago. (Sally Wallick/Contributed)
VIDEO: Kelowna woman rescues capsized kayaker in Okanagan Lake

Sally Wallick is asking people to be prepared for the cold water and unpredictable winds

Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about phase two in B.C.’s COVID-19 immunization plan. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
All of B.C. will eventually ease out of COVID-19 restrictions at same time: Henry

People who have received two doses of a vaccine can’t yet return to post-pandemic activities with each other, she says

Most Read