The other night I went to dinner with the neighbours here in the Deux Sevre region of southern France. I walked over there since it’s only about ten minutes away, rather briskly since the temperatures had dropped unexpectedly. As I was approaching the house, I noticed a large sheep running towards me. “Oh, how sweet,” I thought, “the sheep is coming to greet me.’ When it was few yards away, it became crystal clear that it wasn’t coming to say hello, it was coming to attack. Luckily, I had a tin pan in my hand that I was returning to Denise, and I began a kind of skipping side-step, stretching out the pan, matador-style, while the sheep (which was actually a hornless ram) began head-butting it and charging me ferociously.
Both my hosts have a pretty wicked sense of humour, and I was visualizing the entire family watching from the kitchen window–since there’s not a lot to do around here, inviting guests over for dinner and seeing them get attacked by their bonkers ram, providing much-needed entertainment.
By the time I reached the house, all my pride had dissolved and I was shouting for help (interspersed with the occasional “Very funny, guys!”) Denise opened the door to let me, simultaneously apologizing profusely and doubling over with laughter. She had, it turns out, forgotten to put the “crazy fucker” back in its pen, and informed me that I was “very lucky” to have had the pan with me.
At the end of the evening, Denise offered to drive me home, but said that we had to run to the car. “It hates me,” she said, seriously. Clearly, it wasn’t fond of me, either. So at midnight, we peered out of the front door to check if the way was clear, then made a mad dash for the car. We were half way across, when Denise screamed, “Oh Jesus! It’s coming!” Suddenly, out of the dark chocolate Gatine night, the mad ram was upon us, murder in its eyes. We were both laughing so hard we were tripping and running at the same time, and the copious glasses of red wine didn’t exactly make for a straight trajectory. “Je suis vegetarien!” I shrieked, to no avail.
Somehow, I managed to yank open the passenger door and throw myself in, before the crazy #&^!!er rammed the car.
I’ve been a strict vegetarian for over thirty years. But if they ever make casserole out of this guy, I might join in.