Even a goat story would be good

Published 12:05 am Saturday, December 31, 2011

Ask anyone who’s ever worked in a newspaper and we’ll tell you: The week between Christmas and New Year’s is tough.

Routines stop. Regular sources are hard to find. Offices close. In short, news really doesn’t happen. That’s a good thing, in so many ways. But when it’s your job to make a newspaper every day, you find yourself wishing for something to happen. Anything. You don’t want anybody to get hurt, but an interesting headline would definitely improve your day.

And that’s why I’ve been insanely jealous over a story that’s been reported this week in a sister newspaper in Fergus Falls, Minn., where a 3-year-old black and curly Angora goat escaped from a live Nativity scene on Christmas Eve.

The newspaper first reported the story on Monday. By Friday, the story had gotten so much traction, the newspaper had developed a map that showed locations of goat sightings.

The owners, who also brought a llama and two puppies to participate in the live Nativity scene at Bethlehem Lutheran Church, believed the goat had staked out territory between the river and a local dairy plant. Fergus Falls police also have been involved in the hunt.

Reported the newspaper: “The goat, which weighs only 50 to 60 pounds may look larger than that to onlookers and does not seem to be shy about traffic. She was spotted on Wednesday crossing West Lincoln Avenue from near the municipal liquor store into the area near The Home Depot and WestRidge Mall.”

A quick Google search showed that in addition to being in her hometown newspaper, the wayward goat has been featured in The Washington Post, NPR, and CBS News.

The goat’s owner, Jim Aakre, said he was having difficulty tracking his goat because there was no snow on the ground. Imagine that.

We had lunch at the Huddle House Thursday. The cook had no way of knowing that there was an editor with her ears peeled for news when he told his co-workers he was thinking of dressing like Big Foot and running through the Square. (Apparently, there’s been a Big Foot feature on television this week? Several people have mentioned it, but I don’t control the remote at my house.)

In a flash I was in the conversation.

“If I gave you my cell number, would you call me first?” I asked him. “I promise, I could make you famous.”

Even more famous, I’ll bet, than the would-be Nativity star that made the Wall Street Journal.

Happy New Year’s to you and yours. If you see a wayward goat, Big Foot, chicken or cow, call me please. We could use the laugh and the story.