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The Dali Llama lives in Georgia?

I know everyone is waiting anxiously to find out how my birthday was. (My internet was down, so the suspense has been dragged out due to technical difficulties – not as a ploy for effect.)

     It was great.

    And, yes. I’m a llama mamma.

    One black male llama. Five years old. Still has his balls, (helpful should I ever acquire a female llama and want to start a booming llama business.) Name. . .  Well, you don’t want to know what his former name was . . . (“Nigger”, she whispers with shocked indignation). The llama is NOW named Dali. This means, the Dali llama lives at the Hendry homestead. How cute is that?

   He doesn’t spit. You can ride him. And he hasn’t been shaved for five years, so he looks like an Antarctica, prehistoric llama. His hair is long and thick, like dreadlocks. He has beautiful, soulful eyes, a regal carriage, and he thinks he owns the pasture.

    The horses and donkey can’t figure out what kind of creature he is, so they are nervous and stay clear of him. Dali, however, comes from a pasture with twenty horses, so he thinks he is not just with horses – now he is with chickens.

    He keeps circling the pasture, step by step, the horses keeping as far away as they can, staring, snorting, and pawing the ground. Dali is learning his new territory and I’m told he’ll keep to himself for three days, then suddenly adjust and start herding with the others. He’ll come in for food then and start bonding with us. I hope someone bothers to tell the horses this bit of news because I don’t see them anywhere near ready to make friends yet.

    Dali is an odd-looking creature – exotic. He looks almost like a bird, a rare ostrich or something. His long neck, curved ears and thick, feather-looking fur, combined with unusually thin legs and two-toed hooves (that look like bird feet) make him seem otherworldly.

     I adore him!

     For the record, I did give Mark an “out”. About a week ago, he asked for the Ferrier’s number, “Because”, he commented, “One of the horses lost a shoe.”

      The thing is, I’m the one who takes care of the daily animal maintenance stuff (which is why I had the number), so I could only assume he wanted the number to chase down the llama for sale. I had an option. I could play dumb and act as if I didn’t notice this request was out of character (to get what I want) or to use that opportunity to tell my husband not to feel obligated to purchase me this llama to prove his undying love.

    I was quiet.. . . well, for about an hour.

    Then, we went out to breakfast, and when he brought it up again, I felt, in all fairness, he deserved an “out”. I told him I could only assume he wanted the number of the Ferrier because he was thinking of buying me the llama I coveted, but I knew we were not in a position to get one now, so I could wait. I appreciate the thought, – I knows he does what he can to give me my heart’s desire. But I don’t want to be asking for impractical things.

    He actually got angry and said he was in no way considering buying me a damn llama. Don’t get my hopes up. And he went on and on about Goliath’s lost shoe and my presumptuousness to think I deserved a llama.    

    So, I let it go.

    Then, no one mentioned my birthday again. Not a peep. Not a single question about what I wanted or where I wanted to celebrate. Nothing. They acted as if I wasn’t having a birthday at all. Now, some women might fall for the “Gee I forgot,” routine – but not me. My husband has never forgotten an anniversary or a birthday – ever.

     Then – the day before my birthday, Mark said the Ferrier was coming out to shoe the horse on Wednesday – it was the only day he could get the appointment. He also said he would be working on the land the entire day.

     Yea, right. I’ll believe that. It’s my birthday, and you have plans to work the entire day, into the night, and you made appointments for the pets that I have to supervise (so I have assigned tasks too) and we aren’t going to acknowledge the day in any way.  Sure – that makes sense…

     So, I pretty much guessed there would be a surprise at the land and this was a ruse to get me there.

     I drove up to two excited kids and a llama picking his way gingerly through the field. He stopped to stare at my car. It was love at first sight. (For me, at least) but he is playing hard to get.  I would have seduced him with treats, but damn if I don’t know what a llama likes for snacks. He turned his nose up at carrots, apples, and sugar. I was out of weapons. I will do some research and return prepared tomorrow – ready to win him over.

     Dali was from Mark and the kids, and I do love this gift. I was, an am, thrilled. How many people can say their husband will buy them a llama? Reminds me of the movie Phenonoma. A man is sarcastically making fun of John Travolta for buying all these chairs he didn’t need from the woman who made them. He kept acquiring the chairs because he loved her and he wanted to show her support, make her feel sucessful, and it gave him a chance to see her and make her smile.
    The fellow sitting with the guy said, “John was smart. Your wife left you, right? I bet it is because you never bother to buy her chairs.  Did you ever bother to learn what her chairs were so you could buy them to show your love? every woman has chairs, but only good men know enough to buy them.” It was a wonderful description of love. – This
llama is a chair for me – a hairy, funky chair. It is nice to know my husband is willing to buy my chairs even now, after 18 years together.
Mark said that when the fellow delivered it and they set it lose in the field, they watched it for a while, and the guy asked, “So why does your wife want a llama?”

     Mark said, “I have absolutely no idea.”

     Then Mark said, “Why did you have a llama?”

     The fellow smiled and said, “No reason.”

    Well – that is my point exactly.

     Mark said, “My wife will love him. She’ll change the name of course.”
      The fellow said, “This llama knows his name. Been called ‘Nigger’ for five years. Might be best to keep it.”   
     Mark laughed. “Trust me. She’ll change the name. In fact, I don’t know if I should tell her what it’s name formerly was. Might influence her opinion of this llama.”
     It did. Makes me love him more. I figure it is an act of mercy to adopt this llama and give him a appropriate name. Yes – it was fate that this particular llama, (who clearly wasn’t appreciated considering the derogitive name assigned – nor should a llama be walking around giving people a reason to chuckle over a racism joke name) found a new home with me. Sets things right, ya know. I guess one could question how respectful the name Dali is too – only, considering I am a sorta semi-practicing buddhist, I think it isn’t a slander – more a play on words. 
Back to my birthday….

     My sister-in-law gave me the next best present in the world. A big blackberry bush to plant out near my blueberry bush. Yippee. I’ve been talking about wanting blackberries. Now, I’ll have ’em.

   My chair caning class has been wonderful, and I met some delightful people, whom I’ll discuss later. It was a wonderful way to spend my birthday week – productive, creative, easygoing and inspirational – with loads of wonderful conversation to tweak the mind. And I made some fantastic chairs and learned so much. Mark showed up on Wednesday with an apple pound cake to share with the group (and flowers.) It always makes a gal look good to have an attentive spouse – makes her seem like quite the catch to have a fellow hustling to please. He earned brownie points coming and going for that brilliant move. I  complained that I couldn’t eat the cake, however, considering I was on a diet, but he told me it was a “lose a pound-cake”. Well then, I had to eat a big piece! What the heck – it was my birthday. He wouldn’t stay for lunch. Said he had to get back to the land to work. Yea, right.

     When the kids asked me what I wanted for my birthday (after the fact) I sang them a song. I wanted:

Sammy and a pile of hay.

Sammy and a pile of hay.

Sammy and a pile of hay.

And Maxine to be O…..K.   

(You have to imagine a rousing gospel flavor to appreciate the tune.)


Even though there is no hay to be had anywhere in town (due to the heavy rain this year) Mark managed to find a few bales this week. Maxine is worm-free and fine.

But Sammy is still MIA

Almost a perfect birthday . . . but I miss my dog.

I am still holding out hope.

    Finally yet importantly – I talked to some people at the Campbell school who know llamas. I commented that his hair was so long and he looked so hot. They said you should sheer them this time of year – just like sheep. This would get rid of all that matted hair and make him cool for summer, and the hair is valuable. Go figure. Mark and I discussed where we would have to go to find someone willing to come sheer the llama, and I finally said, “Let’s figure out how and do it ourselves. It will be fun, and since we will have him for years, we might as well learn how.” I’m told they are hard to hold down. Well – there are two of us and only one of him. Mark sighed and said, “Why not.” Gee, I’m glad he is willing to embrace the unknown. (I need his muscles, I’m thinking – and he is a good size to hide behind if Dali starts spitting.)

    Ha. This will be an adventure.   I’ve never sheered a llama before – bet it is memorable. So, tonight, I’m going on E-bay to find a llama sheerer (a sheep sheering device, I figure) and perhaps a book or article to explain how to go about the task. Maybe we can get creative and try a few hairstyles in the process – a llama pompadour or a llama mohock.

    See – having a llama will expand our experiences and allow us to learn new things. I knew this was a good gift.

All I have to think about now, is what I will make out of all that llama wool!  

 What I’d like to make, is a litle black sweater for a little black dog – one with a space for a tail to tuck between his legs because he is feeling guilty for running away. Yep – that is what I wish I had a need for now.

P.S. My daughter told her boyfriend about what was going on at home. He said, “First you tell me your mom made a “Negros for sale” chair, then you tell me your dad bought your mom a pet called “Nigger” for her birthday. Do I really want to meet these people?” Very funny. 
Circumstantial evidence – don’t ya hate when that happens.   

About Ginny East Shaddock

Ginny is the owner of Heartwood Yoga Institute. She is an ERYT-500 Yoga teacher, C-IAYT Yoga therapist, RCYT & Ayurveda Counselor who loves nature, gardening, and creative arts. She has an MFA in creative writing from Lesley University, and a BA in Business Administration from Eckerd College. She teaches writing and is the creator of the memoir writing program, "Yoga on the Page" combining the teaching of yoga to writing personal stories with integrity, intention, and heart.

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    At the Heart of Ginny: The Dali Llama lives in Georgia?



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