April 2012

A whimsical tale from days long past

By Jude Schuenemeyer

A long time ago I heard it was so, there was a group of nuns, you know. They were spiritual and they were kind, a benevolent order mystical and wise.

Well, you know those nuns had a farm and on that farm they had a cow, two dozen sheep, and a dog named Blue. There were goats and sows, pot-bellied pigs, a rooster named Flint, and a turtle named Stone.

They raised crops and they farmed sprouts, red-necked beets and blue stripped corn. These nuns had skills and best of all, they were midwives, they heard the call. Their reputation was known near and far. Practiced in the art, able to deliver, be it in the farm house or out in the stable.

Here is the story as far as I know, concerning a delivery with complications previously unknown.

It had to do with a ewe named Sue, and Sister Wii, a nun of doubt.

Sue the ewe grew up on this farm, since sister Mary got her as a little lamb. Now she was the matriarch of all the sheep.

Many a lamb had passed through her womb, and she had grown as the nuns did too, a creature wise in the ways that God makes all things.

Except for those who live in doubt, wrestling fate for a clear outcome of their place and purpose here on this earth.

Such was the case of Sister Wii, who came to the calling accidentally. It all started out with a Benedictine cross tattoo.

One night out with a group of friends, a tattoo parlor was added at the end; to Wii’s end that Benedictine cross was applied too.

The ink got in under her skin, it sat upon her working within until she felt some deeply seated spiritual call. About that time the ride that she was hitching let her off on a back road wishing for a clear sign from above.

Amazingly it was then that Sister Grace picked her up and took her to their place. The lightning bolt of fate came down. And Wii went to live out there with them, almost settled in all her ways.

Wii learned to milk Daisy the cow, grow purple radishes, and deliver litters from sheep and sows; she could pull a breech baby in dark and rain.

Though she was happy, there still was an itch that made her long for something that a nun could not have.

This is where this story gets complex, because remember that ewe whose name was Sue? Well, Sue was pregnant but Sue was old, for a sheep I mean, and her delivery was a cause for many prayers.

Around the manger they were gathered, the chickens and the nuns, the sheep and the cow. Bob the horse was there too, Yuletide the mule bayed and wooed. His rhythmic eeh ahh, eeh ahh, eeh ahh filled the air.

It was almost, but not quite, like something from long ago. The night was clear and the night was starry. One star above shone so brightly, though God above had heard all of the prayers.

The first lamb came out and it was blessed, and so too came the second and then the third; by the time the fifth one emerged, the nuns were concerned.

After 12, to match the apostles, Sister Brady seemed relieved that this bunch was the end after all.

Then Sue prolapsed her uterus out, the 13th delivery left in doubt Sue’s survival until the light of day.

But the nuns thought quick and with holy water pulled off their habits and covered Sue over, but with Wii’s habit came a piece of thin, red, silky, lacy lingerie.

Habits come and habits go, but this was a bad one from a nun, you know. A gasp of condemnation filled the air.

Well, man alive, I am telling you the chickens went running and the goats did too, this was a case of desperate midwives all the way.

Finally Sister Semblance brought some order. Sue’s uterus was restored as was the decorum of proceeding as if nothing unusual had occurred that night at all.

But truth is a horse run away, rather on the range than in a stable at bay; when it is out of the barn it’s gone away.

So Wii went off to a place I don’t know and the nuns settled down to their farm and their prayers.

And it all happened some place here a long time ago.

Jude Schueneyemer is co-owner of Let It Grow Garden Café and Nursery in Cortez, Colo.