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Marty Had a Little Lamb

2006-07-23 15:45

  It was lambing1 season. The neighbors' phone call brought my dad and me rushing to their barn to help with a difficult delivery. We found a lamb whose mother had died while giving birth. The orphan was weak, cold, still shrouded2 with the placenta3, and walking impossibly on tall and wobbly4 legs. I bundled him up5 in my coat and put him in the pickup truck for the short ride back to our small family farm in rural Idaho.

  We drove through our barnyard, passing cows, pigs, chickens, dogs and cats, but Dad headed straight for the house. I didn't know it yet, but that lamb was destined to become more than an ordinary sheep, just as I was destined to be more than an ordinary seven-year-old boy——I was about to become a mommy!

  Cradling6 the lamb in my arms, I brought him into the kitchen. While Mom and I wiped the lamb down with dry towels, Dad stoked7 the furnace8 with coal so that the newborn would have warming heat to drive away the cold. As I petted his curly little head, the tiny creature tried sucking on my fingers. He was hungry! We slipped a nipple9 over a pop bottle full of warm milk and stuck it into his mouth. He latched on10, and instantly his jaws pumped like a machine, sending the nourishing milk to his stomach.

  As soon as he started eating, his tail started wagging furiously11. Then suddenly his eyes popped open for the first time, and he looked me right in the eye. He gave me that miraculous moment-of-birth look that every mother knows. The look that says, unmistakably," Hello Mommy! I'm yours, you're mine, ain't life fine!"

  A young boy with tousled12 blond hair and thick black glasses doesn't look much like a sheep. But this little lamb didn't care in the least. The important thing was that he had a mom——me!

  I named him Henry and, just like the nursery rhyme13, everywhere that Marty went, the lamb was sure to go. The instant bond we shared that first day turned into the same deep kind of connection that develops between mother and child. We were always together. I'd feed, exercise and bathe Henry. I'd scold him sternly14 when he got out in the road. Imagine the amazement and delight of my classmates when I had a couple of dogs and a sheep run to meet me at the school bus! Every day after school, Henry and I played games together until we both fell asleep, side by side, in the tall cool grass of the pasture15.

  As I grew up, Henry grew older. Never once, however, did he forget that I was his mom. Even as a full-grown ram16, he nuzzled17 me fondly, rubbing his big woolly18 head against my leg whenever he saw me. Functioning as a four-legged lawn mower19 and wool-covered dog at the Becker farm, Henry had a happy, healthy, full life for the rest of his days.

  People sometimes ask me why I became a veterinarian20. The answer is: Henry. At seven years old, my love for animals was still just a spark. But it ignited21 into a flame at that magical moment when I became a mother to a hungry little lamb.










  1.lamb vt.产(羊羔)

  2.shroud vt.覆盖,遮蔽,裹着

  3.placenta n.胎盘

  4.wobbly adj.摇晃的,摇摆的

  5.bundle up用…捆扎(或包)起来

  6.cradle vt.(放在摇篮里般地)抱

  7.stoke vt.添加燃料拨旺(炉火)

  8.furnace n.火炉

  9.nipple n.乳头,橡皮奶头

  10.latch on[口]缠住不放

  11.furiously adv.强烈地,使劲地

  12.tousle vt.弄乱,使蓬乱

  13.nursery rhyme儿歌,童谣

  14.sternly adv.严厉地

  15.pasture n.牧草地

  16.ram n.公羊

  17.nuzzle vt.(用鼻、口等)挨擦

  18.woolly adj.羊毛覆盖的

  19.mower n.割草机

  20.veterinarian n.兽医

  21.ignite vi.着火,燃烧


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