Sometimes when I get up on Sunday mornings, I have no idea what story I’m going to tell. Today is no such Sunday. I could have written this story last week, but I would have had to amend it this week. I had no way of knowing what was going to happen.
As many of you know, Elaine and I have been llama ranchers for the last three decades. We have raised llamas (and alpacas and my favorite; yaks) through the good times and bad. We have seen llamas that have sold for thousands of dollars in the good times. We have seen llamas that needed to be given away during the bad. It is a lot like agricultural Amway. Some people made huge money, while other lost their (construction language).
Elaine and I had a different plan. Our animals were not to breed and sell, our plan was to use the animals for their hair (to make yarn) and to pet them. Breeding the animals and growing the herd was not our intent. (It is not as mean as it sounds.) That said, a few baby llamas were born on our ranch.
One llama born on our ranch was a beautiful black and white male. I noticed he had jet black hair around his eyes, he looked like he was wearing a hood concealing his identity. Most people would have called him Bandit. I needed to be more specific. I named him Dillinger.
As time went on and keeping with our desire to keep our herd manageable, Elaine called the vet and turned Dill from a male to not a male. (Yes, that was mean.)
I don’t know if Dillinger forgave Elaine for having done that. He never said, but then again, he never acted like it bothered him. He was determined to remain king of the herd. We often found him standing like a statue on a rock in the pasture. His younger, llama best friend (Silky Bob), loved to walk up to Dill on his rock to knock Dill off his perch. It was what they did; llama wrestling.
When the weather turned bad a little more than a week ago, Elaine noticed that Dillinger did not come to the feeder for the herd's daily feeding. Assuming the worst, Elaine walked into the pasture looking for Dillinger. After more than twenty years of life, Dillinger had given up his rock.
Silky Bob was not born on our ranch. Silky Bob was born in Oregon. Some close friends Elaine had met in the world of llamas and yarn gave him to Elaine. Silky is a Suri llama. His hair hangs off him like white “dread locks”. He is named for Bob Marley.
If Silky is not the most athletic ANIMAL on the planet, he is certainly the most athletic llama. He taught himself to crawl between the wires of the pasture fencing, escape the pasture EVERY DAY, only to return for water, and try to knock Dillinger off his rock.
The morning after Dillinger passed, Silky Bob arrived at the feeder with his long white locks covered with snow and ice. He had spent the night with Dillinger. The vet tells us he caught pneumonia, Silky died two days later.
Silky and Dillinger are fighting for the same rock.
Elaine and I are talking about rebuilding the herd. I don’t know if I can take it. You know, sometimes I hate Sunday.
Our crazy lives!