Wednesday, August 6, 2008


During our visit to the state fair, we made it to the livestock area after we'd walked down the midway. When we got to the sheep barn, I recalled that some of my couple-times-removed cousins had said something at our recent family reunion about taking some sheep to the fair. I couldn't remember what their last name was (big family / big reunion), so I wandered around looking for a sign that said these sheep were from the PIP City* area. There were no PIP City signs, so I called my grandmother to ask what the cousins' last name was. After she consulted with Grandpa, she told me that it was "Corbett," and to tell them that she sent her greetings.

One more trip through the sheep barn did not yield any Corbett-related sheep, so I wandered over to the sheep concession stand. Yes, there was one. I asked the guy if there was some kind of directory so I could find my family. He replied, "You need to go to the Sheep Department Office. It's around the corner."

The Sheep Department. Really.

In the Sheep Department office, there was a woman helping a family fill out some sheepy paperwork, so I waited until they were done. I told her that I was looking for the Corbett family sheep. She opened a big folder. "Cochran... Compton... Connor... Cunningham... Dabney... Nope, no Corbett. Are you sure they're in the Junior Division?"

I replied that I wasn't sure, but that the concession guy had sent me over here.

She frowned for a second in thought, then said, "Maybe you should try the General Sheep Department Office. It's the next room over."

There were two sheep departments. Sheeps department. Sheeps departments. Whatever. Who knew?

As I entered the next room, it struck me that the General Sheep Department was a lot busier than I would have guessed. I mean, I have some wool slacks, but still...

There were about five people helping a couple of customers/presenters. I saw a map of the building with some names on it, so I looked for Corbett, but in vain. A nice friendly voice interrupted my thoughts. "Can I help you?"

I looked around. All of the other customers had gone away. "I'm looking for some cousins of mine. They told me they were bringing some sheep to the state fair."

"What breed?"

"I... uh... I work in a very tall building. I think the sheep were black."

There was a two count, and all of the workers started laughing. After a moment, one of them took pity on me and asked, "What's the last name?"


Without any hesitation, the lady said, "They're in wave two. They'll be here on Wednesday."

I was amazed that she knew this off the top of her head without having to resort to the Goog, or even a little book. I quipped, "The sheep community in this state must be really tightly knit."

"Yeah, there aren't too many of us weft," she replied, with a wink**.

*PIP = Past Its Prime - This city was a medium sized industrial center in our state until it started to decline about 25 years ago.

**OK, she really didn't say that last bit, but the rest actually happened.


M&M said...

"GENERAL Sheep Department"???

I am now picturing the sheep you see on teevee commercials of the mattress company fame. But I'm picturing them dressed up like General MacArthur (pipe and all) or General Patton. Stars on their shoulders, hats - oh heck the whole darn uniform. Trying hard to look FIERCE (but not that Project Runway kind of fierce). "Straighten up and fly right soldier or you'll wind up neck high in mint jelly! THIS is the GENERAL Sheep Department!"

(Weirdness is ending)

Tea N. Crumpet said...

ENOUGH of your PUNishment!

Was there a Sheep Shop? Or a sheep drop stop? I had no idea that they had different breeds. I'd like a miniature sheep.

gay CME guy said...

Hey, the fair and livestock thing is a big deal for farm kids--especially if they make it to the state fairs. It's (or at least WAS, in my day) the 4H project that they worked all year to raise champion animals. My home town (BF) has its own community fair which was before the county fair and kids from all the surrounding area showed their livestock.
It's too bad you didn't get to see your cousins (and their sheep). Sheep is singular and plural--no 's'.

GDad said...

Oh, I'm quite certain this is a big deal. The animals that were in the fair were obviously very well tended and looked quite fine. I live near a big holding area for steers that are destined for burgers and steaks, and those animals look nothing like the cattle that were at the fair. I'm not as familiar with sheep, but those that I do see in places near my house aren't as polished as the ones I saw at the fair.

I was mostly amused by my fish out of water status.

Guinea Pig said...

Damn I almost split my pants laughing until I say the **. Punny very punny.

Mel Keegan said...

(joke) Maybe they are a bunch of displaced Kiwis? (/joke)