My wife Christy and I are off for Peru. Our church is beginning a partnership with a church in Peru through Compassion International. This trip will be the first of many by our church as we seek to partner with this special church and learn from them. We are excited to meet with the people and see the wonderful work they are doing.
When I think of Peru, I think of llamas. We used to raise llamas on the farm. They were wonderful to have and would always protect the other animals. We would take some of them for walks and even used their wool a few times.
The first llama we owned was from a zoo in Maine. We named him Fernando Llamas. It took him a while to warm up to us because he was not used to people. However, over time he became a fixture at the farm.
I remember building a wonderful shelter for Fernando with my brother Casey and my Dad. We worked many hours on that shelter. We were proud of it. It was not a palace but it was a great home.
Can I tell you how frustrated we all were on that first snowy night when Fernando refused to go in his shelter? He slept outside in the snow. Most llamas sleep outside, but we didn't like it. From that day forward Fernando had a new name. We called him Louie, short for Loser.
Louie would get out whenever he wanted, which wasn’t often. I remember one time in particular. We searched and searched for him. But he was nowhere to be found. Finally, the police received a call from someone who saw a “horse” out in the marsh about a mile away. The police called us. Actually, they always called us when someone phoned in a sighting of a weird animal.
We drove down our street to the marsh and tried to coax Louie out. He would not budge. He was stubborn like that. Whenever we got close, he would run away.
My mom got an idea. We grabbed one of the pygmy goats, put her in the back of the van and drove to the marsh. When we got there, we opened the back door and tried to get the goat to scream. Can I tell you how hard it is to make a goat scream when they don’t want to?
Well, the goat screamed and Louie heard it. She screamed again and Louie came running toward us. But how would we get him back to the farm? He was too big to put in the van and we couldn’t pull him for that distance.
The first parade on Ferry Road in Salisbury happened that day. The police blocked traffic at the farm so that Louie would not get scared. Then we slowly drove back in the van toward the farm. I am sure the neighbors tell stories to this day. They watched a van drive 5 miles an hour down the street with its back door open. In the back of the van was a goat being squeezed by a teenager, trying to get it to scream. The next float in the parade was Louie the Llama. He was walking proudly right down the road on the yellow line. Finally, a police car with its lights on followed.
Good old Louie. I miss him. He provided many stories around the table. He also taught us the need for community. We sometimes need a friend who can lead us home.