The Mississippi Gulf Coast Writers Association's
~ Deborah Smith Ford ~
Fort Myers, Florida
Deborah Smith Ford's first priority is her family. She is also a former shuttle missionary and teacher. In addition, she is an award-winning model, actress, and writer. One of her most recent writing projects has included authoring the children's book series, "Allie's Adventures." Ford's latest literary project is that of her third book in the series, "Growing Up Behind the Scenes." This book is in its final stage of production, and Ford says there will be others to follow!
Learn more about this author and her book series at www.alliesadventures.com
The following is an excerpt from "The Little Goat in Africa."
It is the 2nd book of Ford's children's book series, Allie's Adventures.
Milly had already jumped out from the Cruiser’s other side door. I heard her voice speaking in Maasai, and I saw her dad and mine walking away from the vehicle toward the tribe’s chief. They were talking about treating his animals.
I remember thinking about Kilamoi, and if that could be him. Sure enough, as I finally got out of the vehicle a very tall Maasai, wearing brown sandals, came toward me. I ran to hug him, and he let me, but I found out later that is not proper social etiquette for men and women to hug in public, but I guess me being a kid it was okay.
I was so happy to have met my first person that my folks had been telling me about all these years. I was so happy that I almost forgot what I was doing.
I finally realized that I was looking for Milly. I could not see her, so I followed the little crowd of children and women, and I could hear Milly’s voice among them. I could not see all of her, just some of her blonde hair.
I also heard another sound, and it was not human. What I heard was more like a bleat.
Finally, the crowd parted, and it was Milly in the middle of it. She stood there holding the tiniest little black and white goat I had ever seen.
It was a baby goat, called a kid, and it was making a lot of noise. He was bleating, calling out probably for his mama.
Milly, as she held him under the belly with his legs dangling, told me he was a boy. He was also black and white, but not in spots, rather in splats. So in my mind, an instant name came to me - Splat!
With the Maasai, their own human children do not have names until they are older. This goat, however, and only a few days old, already had a name, Splat. I just unofficially named him, and in so doing, I felt a connection.
Milly asked, “Allie, haven’t you ever seen a goat before?”
I laughed and said I had, but mostly in pictures. I told her that I had never seen one so cute and so little, and I told her the name I had chosen. She agreed it was a fine name, especially considering the splats all over his body.
Milly handed me Splat to hold, and I reached out carefully. I felt his soft hair against my arms, and his little head rested up against my chest, and he tucked his head under my chin.
I was in love with Splat, but I saw our dads walking our way, and I knew we had to leave soon, without Splat.
I did not remember putting Splat on the ground, I did not remember the ride home, nor did I remember writing about him in my notebook, but I did remember my eyes flooding as my memory still felt his soft hair against me, and his big eyes looking into mine. All that I remembered, as I was seated in the Cruiser riding back home, was that a little goat in Africa had changed my life forever.