From Chicken Soup for the Girlfriend's Soul

I’ve Fallen and I Can’t Get Up!

One can never speak enough of the virtues, the dangers, the power of shared laughter.

Elizabeth Bowen

As the editor of a major travel magazine, I receive many interesting invitations to foreign destinations, and when the opportunity presents, I invite my two best friends on the staff to travel with me. Although Linda and Leslie are junior writers working under me, I consider them to be friends as well. Because they were also my gal pals, I included them when the British Tourist Authority invited me to tour England.

Let’s face it, I’m a city girl, born and bred, and so are Linda and Leslie. The only lambs we have ever seen are chops on a plate! But here we were in southern England with Leslie as our designated driver (no point in all of us learning to drive on the left!), motoring through miles and miles of rolling green hills and pastures dotted with hundreds of shaggy white sheep.

A veteran tour guide, Brenda Page, sent to us by the British Tourist Authority, told us more about sheep than we really cared to know.

“What you’re seeing are Hampshire sheep,” explained Brenda. “At this time of year, their coats get very heavy, and they begin to itch, so they roll on the ground to scratch their backs. Then they’re too heavy to get back up. If you see a sheep on her back with her feet in the air, she may appear to be dead, but she isn’t. You’ll need to go into the pasture and set her back up on her feet.”

We looked at each other in dismay.

“Could we practice on a squirrel first?” asked Leslie.

Brenda looked at her witheringly. “When you see a squirrel with its legs up in the air, it is actually dead and no amount of flipping is going to bring it back to life. A sheep, on the other hand, could stay in that position for weeks on end . . . literally!

“Once you turn a sheep over, you can’t let go of her right away. You have to wait until her organs slip back into place and her brain settles back in her head again. If you release her too soon, she’ll become disoriented and could fall and break a leg.”

“Have you ever done such a thing?”

“Oh, many times! I usually lead groups of walkers through the moors, and when we find a sheep upside down, I get one of the stronger men to help me right her, because, of course, she’s anxious to break loose.”

After a day of touring, we bid farewell to Brenda and started back to our rented cottage.

“Don’t look to the left or right,” said Leslie. “I’m not prepared to do any sheep-flipping tonight.”

“What on earth will we do if we see one?” I asked.

“Maybe we could call the Royal Auto Club,” Linda suggested. “Do they have Emergency Sheep Service in Britain?”

Back in our cottage we sat in front of our fireplace, with Linda sprawled out on the couch.

“Linda,” said Leslie tentatively, “are you asleep?”

Linda opened one eye. “Don’t even think about it!”

“Put your hands and feet up in the air. I want to practice Sheep PR.”

“Go practice on Phyllis. She’s got a heavier coat.”

I glowered at the two of them. “Only one of you may be going on the next trip!”

Linda looked at Leslie. “I’ll flip you for it!”

Phyllis W. Zeno

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