Suddenly I realize: I know those goats.
It's July 1979. My in-laws are moving from Montana to Vermont, two young vets who'd finished doing some work with cows out west. They are ready to settle down, and Vermont is the place. My father-in-law, with the help of his dad, is towing a Volkswagon cross country - one filled with two goats and a feed bucket. The goats are Edelweiss and Banana.
A few months later, a reporter comes to the house - the same house I live in now with my husband and two girls - and takes a shot of my mother-in-law standing next to a pregnant goat. My mother-in-law happens to be pregnant with the Dogtor in this second photo.
Those goats helped make the milk that the Dogtor and his sister grew up on - and let me tell you, it must have had something magical in it.
Admittedly, I got a little choked up seeing that photograph of the two goats this morning. Because it was not just the beginning of my in-laws' new life in Vermont; it was the beginning of mine. The earliest seed of this beautiful life I have now.
Around Christmas time my heart aches a little. Holidays always represent this communion with the past, with people, like my family in NC that I miss like crazy, or my dear mother-in-law, who isn't around anymore. Last night the Dogtor and I spent an hour making the cookies she used to make by the dozen; my sister-in-law was doing the same thing states away in Arizona.
There are at least these little threads we can hold onto. And there are still two silly goats in the backyard. I imagine - I hope - there always will be.