March 26, 1996 in City

Town Tradition Goads Residents Into Donations

By The Spokesman-Review
 
Tags:column

Just because we wear shoes and live in a big city doesn’t mean we can’t learn something from our cousins out there in the bumpkin patch.

Which is why Spokane residents should follow Omak’s example and adopt our own version of Goat Day.

No, you don’t need to change the batteries in your hearing aid. I said Goat Day.

This Friday, Omakians will again celebrate their grand tradition of sending live goats to friends and enemies.

Most communities would probably keep something like this chained up in the attic like a drooling, half-wit uncle.

Not Omak. Representatives of this fine city (Pop. 6,000), located about 160 miles northwest of Spokane, proudly mailed out Goat Day press releases for the world to see.

For 10 bucks, the Chamber of Commerce will deliver a pygmy goat to “the business/person of your choice.” Or you can buy “goat insurance against delivery anywhere in Omak” for $25.

This unique fund-raiser started about a dozen years ago as an April Fool’s tribute. It usually adds $1,500 to the chamber coffers.

It’s not known, however, if the goats have any say in this.

Considering Omak’s twisted history with animals, I’ll wager they don’t.

Omak, after all, is home of the Omak Stampede. In that annual summer event, unsuspecting horses are ridden off a cliff.

“It’s what Omak is made of,” says Chamber of Commerce worker Lynell Wiegand. “It’s our future. It’s our past.”

Lynell’s future is to be part of the Friday goat delivery crew. They are “so cute and cuddly, and they’ll probably ruin your carpets,” she adds.

As a professional journalist, I felt obliged to check out this Goat Day business. So I called the Cedars Inn coffee shop, which is technically in Okanogan (Pop. 1,500), but the two towns are within tobacco-splatting distance of each other.

“Goat Day is wonderful,” says Bob Liff, 66. “I think it should continue.”

Bob once sent a goat to his friend, Donna, at her office. “It was a helluva surprise,” says Bob, a retired diesel shop owner.

What was Donna’s reaction? “She’s not my friend anymore,” adds Bob, chortling.

Half of Omak apparently thinks Goat Day is ba-a-a-a-d news. A woman attorney is reportedly still steamed at another lawyer who sent a goat to her office. Insurance agent Jack Miller says nobody better send him a goat. “My goat insurance is a .357 magnum.”

“That’s why we do it,” explains Bob. More chortling. “To make the other half mad.”

Tedi Brian, my second coffee shop interview, says some people would welcome an IRS audit more than a surprise visit from a goat. “Someone sent one to my father-in-law, who owns a restaurant, and he threw a fit,” she says. “I mean, you’re doing your job and in walks a goat.”

We big-city sophisticates could use something like Goat Day, but why mess around with harmless critters?

What Spokane needs is a Spike Day.

On Spike Day, citizens could send Spike - the fang-happy Spokane Police dog - to community leaders who have disgraced their office.

Spike, as you may recall, chomped a cigarettesmoking transient. In a separate incident, he attacked two citizens who were singing the Beatles song “Martha, My Dear.”

Homophobic County Coroner Dexter Amend should be the next hors d’oeuvre on the Spike gravy train.

Secretary: “Uh, Dr. Amend, there’s someone here to see you.”

Amend: “Yes, show him … Hey, who let that thing in … Down boy. Nice doggie. Get thee behind me, ye cursed beast of Sodom. Aaaaarrrrgggghhhhh!!

Maybe we’d better call this Good-bye You Old Goat Day.

Hey, gang. Pulled any hilarious practical jokes? I want to hear about them. Call me at 459-5432 and leave a message. I’ll get back to you.

, DataTimes


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