Not every memory I have of GTC is negative, not by a long shot. I still have plenty of innocent, happy memories. We did have a lot of fun, no matter what the circumstances were.
One such instance took place during my first year in Scotland. We had been traveling throughout the country for almost two weeks; we were exhausted to the point of delirium. The kind of delirium where everything is hilarious and all ideas are considered brilliant.
It was a day or two before we were scheduled to fly back to the States. We were all staying in a vast farmhouse occupied by the Assemblies of God missionaries that we had been working with. If I’m not mistaken, we all had some free time to relax and enjoy the beauty of the Scottish countryside for a few hours before coming back to our first home-cooked meal in weeks. I could be wrong in this, as the guys were often allowed to roam freely, and the girls, I think, had to stay behind and help cook.
I don’t recall if the following was Devon’s or Noah’s idea, a combination of the two, or the hive mind of all of the males in the program. Either way, we had decided that we were all going to catch some sheep. So, we traversed to a neighboring field; a green rolling pasture lit by the late afternoon sun on a cold day in June.
Sheep, it turns out, are tough to catch. We started by trying to walk slowly and gently towards the heard, but they’re not as dumb or inviting to boisterous American idiots as we’d thought in our sleep-deprived brains.
A chase ensued that I can remember fitting perfectly to Benny Hill’s theme music. Bodies of 19–25-year old boys were diving after fat, fluffy sheep, sliding in the mud, and bouncing off grassy knolls. We were no match for the ewe, that herd of malevolent mutton. We slipped in the soil. We dove and smashed our hands into the soft grass. We touched wool, but greatness continued to baa at us in hilarious confusion.
Eventually, a first-year student caught a lamb. I think the lamb was injured, but I can’t verify that. Either way, we had finally conquered the beasts. Amateur tackles caught a few more sheep, and then we decided to call it quits.
Nah, that’s not true. We were emboldened by our expert shepherding and decided to go for a bigger farm animal. We set forth to catch a cow.
I recall sitting on the fence and watching a few brave souls try to slowly walk up to a cow who was just not having it that day. It began to charge everyone, and we all screamed like school children. It wasn’t long before we ran back to the farmhouse giggling fearfully that a pissed off bovine almost ended our short lives in the Scotland countryside.