The Yearning of Nannygoat Smith

Damon Runyon

Speaking of love and romance and all such as that, there is much of this business going on back in my old home town out West. In fact, it is surprising how much there is.

Of course it is mainly among the young ones that this proposition comes up. Our older citizens do not know much about it, what with many of them being already married for years, and the rest of them bachelors who have no time for foolishness.

In fact, our most prominent citizens are bachelors, including George P. Rodenbach, Doc Summers, Windy Chittenden, Herman H. J. Samuelson, Treat Williams, and many others, and they have been such for quite a spell, with no notion of being anything else.

But of course they have no objection to love and romance and all such as that among the young, and do not mind them sitting on the fences or in the parks or walking up and down the levee along the Arkansas and saying whatever they please to each other, which is probably plenty.

It is only when this Nannygoat Smith gets loving and romantic that there is some complaint in my old home town.

This Nannygoat Smith is a dame who runs a goat ranch four miles down the Arkansas river, and up to the time I am telling you about she is K. O. in every respect with one and all, as she always minds her own business, which is a pretty first-rate sort of business, at that.

She is called Nannygoat Smith on account of the goat ranch, and also because she looks somewhat like a nannygoat, having a small set of chin whiskers. She is very rugged and healthy, what with always being out in the open air fooling with these goats, and she is no Springer when it comes to age.

Offhand, I will say she is maybe fifty, although my Grandpap Mugg always claims that Nannygoat Smith first comes to our part of the country with Zebulon Pike when he is looking for Pike’s Peak. But of course nobody can believe anything my Grandpap Mugg says about dames, because he is married so often he is much disappointed in them.

Anyway, Nannygoat Smith is an old maid, and furthermore for years she says she will never have any truck with men. In fact, Nannygoat says all men are lowdown, shiftless, ornery, lazy, no account and useless, especially on goat ranches. She will hardly speak to any man except George P. Rodenbach, who is her mouthpiece, which is a way of saying lawyer.

Well, naturally this suits all the men, because Nannygoat Smith is nothing much to speak of anyway; but what happens one winter she moves into town, and the next thing anybody knows it comes out she is full of love and romance and yearning to get herself married up.

This Nannygoat Smith makes no bones about the proposition whatsoever, but hauls off and makes a dead set at poor George P. Rodenbach. Naturally George does not wish to be married to anybody, and even if he does he will not wish to be married to Nannygoat Smith, because she has a goat on her ranch which hates the sight of George P. and is always taking a good butt at George any time he goes to Nannygoat’s place on business.

So what does George P. Rodenbach do but haul it, which is a way of saying he pulls his freight out of town, leaving Nannygoat Smith flat.

Well, she lays low for a few days, then all of a sudden she is after Windy Chittenden, the druggist. She no more than makes a pass at Windy when he hauls it, too, joining George P. Rodenbach in Denver, where we hear they are around carrying on together in way that is no credit to our town.

Then, one by one, Nannygoat Smith takes after Doc Summers, Herman H. J. Samuelson, and Treat Williams, and it looks for a while as if she will get Treat, as he busts an ankle running for a train, but his friends spirit him out of town in a buckboard.

Well, pretty soon there is not a bachelor left in my old home town, and business is at a standstill. Furthermore, our citizens are very indignant at Nannygoat Smith, and my Grandpap Mugg is around secretly agitating a mass meeting to run her out of town. But, of course, my Grandpap Mugg does not speak too loud about this proposition, for fear Nannygoat Smith will hear it, as she has something or other on my Grandpap Mugg from away back yonder.

What the upshot of Nannygoat’s yearning for love and romance will be nobody can figure, for all of a sudden spring comes on, and it is the lambing season down on her ranch. So Nannygoat packs up and goes home, because she says goats are a darn sight more important to her than men. And my Grandpap Mugg says that the chances are she is right, at that.