CHARLESTON, W.Va. - This past week, I took home four new sheep in the back of my Explorer, unloaded them successfully into my barn yard, took a shower to clean myself up and called the butcher. Three of the sheep were to keep, but one was for dinner. I should have called the butcher before I unloaded all four and cleaned up. I told him I had a sheep to bring.
"We're doing sheep today," the man said. "Can you have it here before seven?"
"I'll have it there in an hour!" I said, and went right back outside to re-load the chosen one. Which wasn't easy. And involved getting dirty again.
I arrived at the butcher shop and said I was the one who called a little while earlier about bringing a sheep.
"Sheep?" the man said.
"I thought you said beef."
"Not beef, sheep."
"We're doing beef today."
"I have a sheep in the back of my Explorer!"
He must have felt sorry for me because I had a sheep in the back of my Explorer because he said he'd go ahead and take it. If you've never taken an animal to a butcher before, this is the worst part coming up here.
You have to unload the animal - and you know when you see it again, it's going to be packaged up in parts. The first time I took an animal to the butcher, it was quite difficult. I could hardly stand looking in their eyes. It does get easier, that's all I can say. I didn't know this sheep very well, having only spent a few hours with it before taking it to the butcher, which was a good thing.
I backed my Explorer up to the ramp leading to a door that opened to an area with holding pens. Since I'd failed to put a rope or halter on the sheep, I had to get him out the hard way. I didn't want to climb into the back of my Explorer because I'd just transported four sheep in it and hadn't cleaned it up yet.
I reached in, grabbed the sheep by both ears, and started a tug of war that had the sheep halfway pulling me into the Explorer against my will. While the man just stood there.
Eventually, he said, "You want some help?"