GALLERIES
ONA AND SHEBA
© 1998 Keith Halonen    oil on panel    15×24 in /
38×61 cm    $ 6,000 US
THIS PAINTING IS A
GOLDEN RECTANGLE
COLLECTION OF ONA MARIE BELMONT

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 PANTHEON  SERENADER  ONA AND SHEBA  SPECIAL DELIVERY
 HAPPY CAMPER  COUSINS  FIVE  CALIFORNIA GOTHIC

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     Every little girl is a princess, and an unwritten law requires them to occasionally dress the part, or at least wear the crown. With that high post usually comes some magical pet such as a dragon or a unicorn. A goat does not quite qualify as magical, but in a pinch no real princess would ever complain.

     For almost a year I lived on the outskirts of Sebastopol, California, a pleasant rural town surrounded by farmlands. The rental came complete with chickens, geese, and a feisty goat appropriately named Sheba. Her favorite perch was atop an old cable spool abandoned in the barnyard. From this vantage point she was eye to eye with the human population, which could be dangerous depending on her mood.



Detail from ONA AND SHEBA

     A princess with the face of an angel. And a goat with... the face of a goat! There's one of my camouflage signatures in the upper right detail. They're not really hidden so much as they're "hidden in plain sight".

     Sheba was ever on the alert for an opportunity to deliver a solid head butt. I was staring at her one day, thinking that she had a playful "look" on her face. I went over to her "patrol tower" and raked my knuckles across her bony forehead. She responded affectionately, almost like a cat. She loved a rigorous "knucklehead." After a couple minutes of this, she indicated that she wanted to take the play to another level. Having studied martial arts for some years, and having practiced head butting on a heavy bag, I reasoned (if one can call my thinking reasonable) that I could probably exchange a few modest bonks with Sheba.

     So I squared off in front of her and we pressed our heads against one another. We had done this before several times. Sheba enjoyed this pushing game, and would lean trustingly into my head even after her forelegs lifted off the ground. We would stand there like two drunks holding each other up, sometimes for five minutes straight. This time, though, after perhaps a half minute of pushing, I stepped back and gave her a modest bonk. She looked somewhat surprised and gave me a little bonk back. I gave her another little bonk, and without a second's hesitation she rammed my forehead a solid shot that made my teeth clack together!

     My ears were ringing and I had the taste of blood in my nostrils. A single drop ran down into my mustache, and I saw the "stars" of cartoon legend; little pinpoints of light they were, giving the illusion to my vision that all I saw was projected from behind onto a flat sheet, and the sheet was perforated with random pinholes! Lesson learned: you can't really beat animals at their own game. Every now and then I imagine what could happen if my house cat decided to have at me with a vengeance. I treat her with reverential deference.

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