Y‘all go ahead and laugh it up. Get ‘round in your circles and sing your songs. E-I-E-I-freakin-O. Everyone loves to talk all about me, Old MacDonald, and my farm. But I had so much more than a little plot of land, with a moo moo there. I had a wife, I had kids, I had a family.
Now it’s all gone.
It started well and good. My wife Elizabeth and I got ourselves a nice little tract of land up near Kaufman’s Pond. A few chickens, some sturdy cows, and the liveliest piglets you ever did see. We ain’t cared for nothing in the world. Then I got greedy…
I bought us some more cows and more chickens. First there was just a cluck-cluck here, then there was a cluck-cluck there, and soon ‘nuff my nightmares were filled with the cooings and cawings of the foulest fowl you ever did see ‘round these parts. Toil filled my days and terror filled my nights.
My head got big and my wallet got fat. More goats, more cows, even started stabling horses. Why does a small livestock farmer need horses? I found myself at the racetrack every day. Today was the day my number came up! But gosh darnit those blasted ponies always seemed to let me down!
I couldn’t tell the wife, no, Elizabeth could never know, ya hear!? I sold the china her parents gave us as a wedding gift, that there bein’ the only thing of value in our gosh-darn-forsaken home. One day she come home and it ain’t there so she asked me where it is, and I put my hat in my hands and say one of them goats gone broke it, ‘cause by this point there were so many they were livin’ in the house.
I was a shell of a man with nothing but lies to my name.
But it wasn’t over. I thought I could get rich quick. Bought some turkeys for the farm. Now I ain’t even know turkeys make noise but it was gobble-gobble here and there and I swear ya could hear it down at the town square. I was a dead man. Ain’t no one buying turkeys in the heat of July.
I was waist-deep in debt and deception and one day I come home to a quiet house and a note on the table. “Henry, it’s over. I tried. It was never enough. Please don’t call. Goodbye.”
I’d be cursed with hubris and largess! It cost me everything I had. My best friend because a bottle of bourbon and the days passed into weeks and them turned to the cold months and one December afternoon I’m flat on my ass in the stable when the Sheriff comes ‘round. Old bastard always had it out for me. Well he hands me a sheet of paper, some godforsaken big bank paper from them city boys, and before I can rub two words together I ain’t own the farm no more.
How you gonna take a man’s livelihood, take a man’s pride? Might as well have turned me ‘round, dropped my drawers, and spanked me ruby red in front of the few animals I had left.
With nowhere to go I shacked up in a motel on the edge of town. It was dirty, nasty business. Roaches the size of rats and rats the size of children, very mean children. I swear they laughed at me. An old woman used to stand outside my window and shout “You stink, you stink Old MacDonald. Your odor is bad and I do not like you.” It was a dark time.
Well now’days I wander the streets without a nickel to my name. I depend on the generosity of strangers who ain’t know my story. Some days I look into a crowd and I think I see Elizabeth. Usually turns out to be a particularly curvy traffic light.
So go ‘head and sing, kids. “Old MacDonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O.” But just remember Old MacDonald had more than that, and heed my warning: stop buying so many damn animals. Ya don’t need that many animals. The animals ya had were fine. Yer wife will leave you if ya keep buying those farm animals.
Good luck, kids.