My eye witness testimony and source for this story was Olivia Peña.
This is the story about Noelia the goat.
In the summer of 1971 or maybe it was 1972, at an old ranch in Texas lived Geronimo Lopez and his family. The ranch, located on the corner of two sand roads, was a place where cactus trees, mesquite trees and wild birds flourished.
The children were playing outside one day when a truck pulling an animal trailer was traveling south bound. It hastily drove by the house ignoring the stop sign. Every day everyone ignored that stop sign. This time a Chihuahua pup named “Arppy” instinctively chased down the truck and animal trailer. Arppy belonged to one of Geronimo’s children, Olivia. She was around 11 years old when she was the proud owner of this pup. She watched in horror as she knew the driver couldn’t see her pup and so Olivia witnessed Arppy’s life be taken in an instant.
There was a loud scream and several tears streamed down her face. Her brothers and sisters came to her to see what happened. Mom and dad were not around to help them. Someone went to grab the dog and cover it up and then the brothers and sisters waited for the Lopez parents to return.
When the parents returned, Arppy’s body was shown to Geronimo.
He walked over to Olivia and hugged her.
“It’s gonna be okay. We’ll get you another one.” he said.
“I don’t want another one I want my Arppy!” Olivia responded.
This was her first experience with death.
Olivia didn’t stop crying for three days. She refused to eat anything. She was terrified.
“You’re going to go with me.” Geronimo said.
It was auction day in Edinburg. They were going to have a sale. He was trying to distract her and said, “We’re going to go look at all the animals.” So Geronimo and some of his children went to the auction that day.
The auctioneer started blurting out all things as the auction started. And so the auction went by. When the auction ended, everyone walked back to their vehicles. As they approached Geronimo’s truck, he surprised Olivia with a gift. There, inside his truck, was a beautiful white baby goat. Olivia was amazed. He asked her if she liked it. She picked it up and said yes. She never saw him buy the baby goat but there it was.
He said, “I bought it for you. You are responsible for it.”
For Olivia, there was no crying for the dog anymore even though she would remember it every now and then. Her dad knew how to ease the pain. He knew how to take away the hurt.
Geronimo bought bottles and milk. Olivia would have to learn to bottle feed that goat. She had to name it.
One day, when Olivia was speaking with her older sister Yolanda about naming it, Yolanda suggested a name for the goat, “Noelia!” Yolanda said. Olivia knew it was named after Yolanda’s ex-boyfriend Noe but that was okay. Noelia, the goat, became a member of the Lopez family.
Noelia was the greatest pet. She was treated like an indoor pet. She slept with Olivia and ate her favorite food, flour tortillas. Every summer the Lopez family would travel as migrants to harvest the fields. Noelia was one of the members who traveled all the way to Hart, Michigan with them.
Noelia was the best gift she ever got from her father.
In 1978, the year of Olivia’s high school graduation, Noelia died of old age. None of Noelia’s children were ever eaten by members of the Lopez family.