To temporarily digress from the family history focus of this blog, I’ll tell you a story of a recent “unicorn” sighting… Let me explain. Hubby comes home one night and, after sitting down to dinner, reports rather animatedly that he saw a sheep just up the road, while driving to work that morning. I quickly glanced in his direction, examining his face and wondering whether he was running a fever, but he insisted it was true—he’d even captured an image on his iPod. Now, where we live in south Florida, that’s pretty much like saying that you’ve spotted a unicorn. While I believed him, this was an incredibly strange development. Such things simply don’t happen here. Where on earth could this sheep have come from?
With dinner over, we went out on our nightly skate, and, after doing our usual route, we were perhaps 1/2 mile from the house when my husband started talking about the sheep again. Having not yet seen the iPod image, I probed for full details—black face and legs, adult-sized, fuzzy white wool, looked like Shaun the sheep, appeared to be in good health, etc.
Miraculously, I turned my head quickly to look between two houses to get a view of a mango tree laden with fruit, and voila!—there was “Shaun”, standing there, looking straight at us. I shouted back to hubby that I’d just seen his sheep. We both spun around like maniacs and returned to the spot. And sure enough “Shaun” was standing there munching away on someone’s lawn. Just then, the homeowner, an elderly gentleman, arrived home in his car, and we made the mistake of asking him whether he was aware of the sheep. Oh, yes, he said, unhappily. He’d been trying to shoo it away for several days, and claimed he’d even been tempted to go get his gun and fix himself some stew… Next thing we knew, he was grabbing a rake and running around the lawns of various neighbors swatting the air in “Shaun”‘s direction to drive him away. This was definitely not the outcome we’d hoped for when we asked him about the poor lost sheep.
With little we could do, we skated home. I called the police non-emergency line to file a report; the dispatcher listened to me somewhat skeptically at first, but promised to report it to the relevant authorities. Then, miraculously, ten minutes later, “Shaun” galloped right past our lanai, full throttle to the east. We dashed out the door, but darkness was falling… That was it. He’d vanished into the night. We never saw him again.
We hope “Shaun” made it home or found a good new home. This is not the type of habitat a sheep should be running loose in… packs of coyotes can often be heard howling in the night in response to the occasional ambulance siren.
I still can’t help but look for “Shaun” now, every time we drive past that spot. A sheep–here? Very bizarre! Where I grew up in NJ, we saw sheep nearly every day. We even had some ourselves for a while. But, the streets of south Florida?! Amazing.
So now you know what counts for excitement around here!