Susan's eyes were glued on the goat as she ran in a circle. When the goat was about to come by her again she maneuvered out of the way at the same time Jesse yelled at her.

“Susan, grab her.”

The goat sped by as Susan's gaze fixated on Jesse, trudging his way toward her with a muddied rope in his hand and his pants and boots equally grimed up.

The goat was forgotten as Susan turned away in order to contain a threatening explosion of laughter.

“Why didn't you stop her?” Jesse asked as he reached her. “Go ahead, laugh. See if I help you with your goats again!”

Susan released a loud snort and then erupted in laughter. “Oh my,” she kept repeating until she’d calmed down enough to look over her shoulder and witness Jesse standing behind her with his hands on his hips. Shifting away from him, she carried on with another bout of laughter.

Jesse took Susan by the arm and pulled her around to face him. “You find this humorous, do you?”

Susan quieted and asked him, “Are you trying to rope the goat like you would a calf?” You could tell he was biting the inside of his cheek, holding back what he really wanted to say, and then his jaw tensed.

He let go of her arm. “Maybe I am,” he told her in a deep, controlled tone.

“Do you have any experience with roping calves?” she asked in a high pitch.

“As a matter of fact I do,” he told her, looking pleased.

Amazed by his response, Susan was secretly impressed but didn’t let him know that and instead thought she would tease him a little more. “So the city boy wants to be a cowboy?”

His eyes narrowed and a trace of a smile showed on his mouth. “Something like that,” he said.

“Well trying to rope a goat isn’t going to work,” she informed him.

“I sort of figured that out,” he said, “but it was worth a try.”

Susan tried to be serious but when she realized there were clumps of dirt drying on his face and white, crusted milk on the front of his navy blue shirt, she couldn't help but continue to taunt him. Leaning forward she took a sniff of his shirt and then leaned back, trying to appear innocent when she could hardly hold back the urge to laugh again. “Your shirt smells like spilled milk.”

“Don't go there,” he warned.

“I was only . . .”

“Making light of the situation?” He found no pleasure in her playful mood. 

“How can I help?” she asked in a sobering tone.

“Tell me how to get a hold of that damn goat so I can milk her.”

“I'll do it.”

He shook his head. “No. I started the milking today, I want to finish it.”

What a stubborn, tenacious man. She appeased him by giving up the secret. “Use a jar of grain to gain her attention. Goats will do just about anything for grain.”

“Excellent,” he said, and trailed off toward the shed.

He was angry. He hadn't smiled once the whole time they conversed. When he came back, he still wasn't smiling, but was focused and heading straight for the trouble-making goat. By the time he reached the gate of the pen, he had all six goats following him. Even the bucks in the opposing pen were calling out to him.

Susan smiled at his accomplishment. He easily led the goat into the shed while the others patiently waited by the gate for their turn.