As a Multiple Sclerosis patient, it has become necessary for me to reinvent myself. I have ... and continue to ... refuse to lie down and die, or in this case, follow the normally prescribed drugs and treatments that do nothing to defeat my disease. I am not only surviving by pursuing alternatives, I am thriving. I do the things specialists told me I would never be able to do. I walk and hope to one day even run regularly. I retain my cognitive and creative abilities for the pleasure of my readers. Although you may never see me on my daily walk, you are welcome to read my novel(s) and in doing so, come to ask yourself, "How can the 'out of the box' protocol she has followed, help my loved one with an autoimmune disease like Multiple Sclerosis?"


More goat dancing!



Photo from aux.tv
Not quite Houdini but this could be his sibling
                                                                           Chapter

The sound of tires squealing and the scream of a train whistle punctured the otherwise still morning. Porsche's head jerked up, her attention whipped from the display of aquamarine novelty tchotchkes. Unable to see through the front window of the hardware store from her vantage point, her gaze shifted to Uncle Reinhold in askance. Reinhold Kowallis reflected his German ancestry in every way, from the blue of his eyes and sandy blond hair to his square jaw and broad shoulders that carried considerable muscle mass. Uncle Reinhold could be stern and his temper, when riled could be dangerous, but his tenacity proved invaluable in hard times.

Uncle Reinhold didn't spare a glance in her direction. ""Mrs. Harper's goat is out again."

Porsche could almost hear the German accent in his words, and yet he'd never left the states. "Again?"

"You best be after him before he causes an accident. That woman needs a better fence to keep her animal off the highway. 'Course it'd help if these out-of-towners knew anything about country driving."

"What makes you say that?" Porsche asked, taking her gray True Value smock off over her head.

"The Nevada plates on that red pick-up." Uncle Reinhold pointed out the door. "Nobody else in these parts would have a horn like that."

Porsche hurriedly straightened her long auburn hair after removing the smock. Uncle Reinhold owned the hardware store and had willingly offered Porsche her old job back when she'd returned home three weeks ago. He was a good and gentle boss, and although not related allowed Porsche and her younger sister, Mercedes, to call him "Uncle." He and his recently deceased wife, Pauline had spent many hours in their home when the girls were small, almost as many hours as they had spent in the Kowallis home growing up. Uncle Reinhold wore glasses on the tip of his nose when peering over the books, which he insisted must be kept the old-fashioned way. Now they dangled from a rather feminine looking chain at his neck. Somehow they seemed to make his huge six feet in height and brawny muscles less noticeable.

"I don't know how long I'll be gone. That horn probably made him skittish."

"More like dancin' to the music. You run along. Think of this as an early lunch hour," Uncle Reinhold tsked.

 "Sorry," Porsche called over her shoulder, pushing through the doors.

"Ya been lookin' for excitement since you came home. Here it is. Take your time."

Mrs. Levenski climbed out of her SUV, her Great Dane pushed to exit his confines. "Duke, quiet. Stay."

Porsche placed a hand on Mrs. Levenski's shoulder intending to hurry past the retired school teacher. "You have a nice day. Take it easy on Reinhold. Don't buy too much fabric. You know how he is about cutting yardage. I've left him alone to mind the store."

"Should I come back later?"

"And hurt his feelings? Are you kidding? Just watch him." Porsche continued the joking banter. Uncle Reinhold was notorious for giving the ladies an extra quarter of a yard just in case he measured wrong.

"Are you going try and catch that stray?" Mrs. Levenski asked, pointing toward the Arty's Burgers with its goat dancing act.

"I am." Porsche wished for the first time all morning that she would have taken the time to at least change out of her boots after her morning check on the horses. Too late now. Hopefully Houdini didn't plan on a site seeing trip today. She didn't need a 5K run, or walk today.

"Here." Mrs. Levenski's single word reflected years of commanding throngs of noisy youth. Porsche stopped in her tracks, turning back to the woman.

Mrs. Levenski thrust a thick walking leash toward her. "I think you might need this. Houdini's collar might not feel too good in your hands after you drag him ten blocks toward home."

Porsche retraced her steps, accepting the short leash. "Thanks."

Porsche walked across the street in the direction of the partying animal. She watched Houdini dance on the table top, shaking her head. Houdini was just like every goat, inquisitive to a fault, and always needing to climb anything and everything he could and when his little hooves managed to make clicking sounds, so much the better. In this case, she hoped the wether goat's vanity with making his own music would prove helpful today. An old blue pickup rolled to a stop in the restaurant parking lot.

"Need some help?" the driver asked.

"Some food to bait him would help."

The guy reached into a bag. Porsche could hear the rustling of fast food wrappers. The driver stuffed half of his egg muffin sandwich in his mouth, using both hands to manage the food and keep it from falling to his shirt front. He tugged the sausage free and handed the rest to her. "Here. You owe me breakfast, Porsche."

She turned and took a good look at him. Vinnie Espinoza, the only German Latino in the entire valley. He'd asked her out a few times in high school and she'd said no then, the answer was the same now, even if he had matured from a baby face to a nice looking guy. He still ate like a slob. She didn't need to complicate her life with what he would most likely expect to follow a breakfast with him.

"Thanks. I'm not eating this." She waved the food at him."Ask Mrs. Harper for breakfast. Her goat is gonna eat it."

She shifted the muffin to her left hand and stuffed the leash into her back pocket, just as she did every time she had to catch her dad's ornery horse, Buck. Most horses could be bribed with a little grain or a sweet carrot, hopefully Houdini could be bribed with fast food. She hoped the breeze was stirring the air just enough to catch the wether goat's attention.

"Hey, Hoody," Porsche purred the nickname she'd given the animal years ago. "Hungry?"

She stepped closer; the goat looked at her and bleated. Was he laughing? Or asking her why she hadn't visited him in so long?

"Hoody want a muffin?" She continued to drone seductively and waved the food in front of the goat. "It tastes good. Not that you're that picky. Come on, you remember me don't you? I won't hurt you."

The goat pranced to the near side of the table. She slowly slipped the leash out of her pocket. Houdini stuck his neck out, greedy for the fragrant muffin that was now devoid of its sausage. Porsche knew better than to let the goat eat out of her hand and carefully maneuvered the muffin to spare her fingers. The egg dropped to the table top. She quickly snapped the leash onto Houdini's collar and patiently waited for the goat to finish his breakfast. The goat was on the leash, the easy part done. Now Porsche had the more difficult job of wrangling the animal to his pen in Mrs. Harper's back yard. She persuaded the bleating creature to leave the table. With any luck, this would be like taking a dog for a walk. She started across the drive thru lane.

The shrill whistle of a train horn sounded causing Porsche and Houdini both to jump and when Houdini ran, Porsche followed to the corner before managing to bring the 150 pounds of runaway under control. Porsche glared at the driver of the red truck, watching it as it pulled out on the highway that was also the town's main street.

"Oh buddy, you are so lucky that I'm German instead of a Romanian gypsy, I'd put one heck of a curse on you." She tugged at the leash. "Houdini, you got any Romanian blood in you? Can you at least give him the evil eye?"

Houdini bleated in answer, trotting happily beside her. Apparently, the asphalt surface was as good as the table top, without being climbed on. Things went well until they left the paved roadway. Forty-five minutes later, after pushing and pulling the rest of the way she deposited the animal behind the chain link fence.

"Mrs. Harper," Porsche explained for the umpteenth time. "Houdini loves to climb. And when you pull his shelter over by the fence, he climbs it. When he gets board, he jumps off and goes for a walk in town. Unless you move it back to the center of the pasture, he's gonna keep getting out."

"But the pasture needs to get watered."

"Next time I'm just going to call Sheriff Zupan. You know he's given you plenty of warnings. And Mrs. O'Leary was none too happy about having her trees stripped. One of these times Sheriff Zupan will write you a ticket or worse, Houdini just won't come home." She didn't have the heart to add he might be dead. Of course she didn't want any harm to come to Houdini. She'd held him when he was just a week-old kid and when Mrs. Harper had finally complied with city zoning and sold the rest of her goats years ago, Porsche had visited often to comfort the kid. Now he'd grown to an inquisitive wether goat. Thank goodness Mrs. Harper had had him castrated when he was six months old.

Porsche's comment inferring the worst for Houdini, got Mrs. Harper's attention. "I'll take care of it. I promise. Thank you again for bringing him home. I'll fix you dinner this Friday."

"Don't worry about it. Fix Vinnie Espinosa breakfast and call it all square."

The walk back to the hardware store gave Porsche time to reevaluate her goals somewhat. Grandmother's decision to support Mercedes, Porsche's younger sister, at ISC rather than continuing to support Porsche had stung. She'd tried to finish the necessary schooling on a very tight budget, taking a few too many credits. Her plan had backfired and she would have to repeat the classes. In the mean time, she was forced out of her student housing and had returned home. Uncle Reinhold had proven good for his word, giving Porsche her old job back. This time she would pinch every dime rather than driving to and from work, going to movies in American Falls and hanging out at the local bar with guys like Vinnie.

Her walk was much shorter without Houdini's company and she reached the Maverick Gas Station about the same time she promised herself that nothing, not tight funds, lack of entertainment or even a guy would keep her from becoming a Physical Therapist. Her commitment renewed, she looked up and recognized a recent model red pick-up glistening in the sunshine, parked off to the side of the converted coffee shop windows. Maybe Houdini had managed to curse the vehicle, but couldn't the curse go to work after the guy left town?

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