Webster’s defines “saying” as a proverbial expression. Over the span of my lifetime, I have heard and used many proverbial expressions related to the animal world. Many of them will be lost to the past as small, family farms slowly disappear, and fewer children grow up interacting with animal life. Here are some of my favorites.

“He (or she) stinks like a Billy goat!” My maternal grandfather, Will Herod Brim, who went by the nickname, John Reuben, had a large herd of goats. His goats were nothing like the goats we see today. They were of the old, white variety — tough as nails — and they would eat anything that grew out of the ground. They would eat the bark off a tree. My grandfather “called them down” every two or three weeks to “salt them.” I can see him now as he allowed the salt to pour out of the sack onto the big, flat rocks that lay just in front of the chicken house. As the goats briskly licked up the salt, he would check the herd. Sometimes, as the goats were coming down out of the hollow, you could smell them before they arrived. Any country boy or girl knows why. The big “Billies” had long beards. You can take it from there.

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