I'll think about Chaucer. He's one of the horses that just shows up at our gate sometimes. Happens nearly every year. Someone finds a loose horse and puts them in our pasture. Or someone dumps a horse (two times, two horses each time!). Or one of the neighbor's horses makes the great escape. That was Chaucer.
He was older, polite, a total sweetheart. I'd never seen him before so I did what I always do. I filed a report with the sheriffs office, post images on line, call neighbors and local Vets. And in this case I went ahead and called my farrier. His hooves were in appalling shape. He was uncomfortable. So, hoofs trimmed, wormed him, ran a coggins on him and a blood titer to see if he needed inoculations. Groomed him and welcomed him to the club. He'd already been outside over night visiting with my guys. They'd settled their differences. He walked in the gate at liberty like he'd always lived here.
By the time we found out where he belonged I was ready to keep him. I bond pretty quickly with most animals and he was an easy one to love. He had the presence of a poet, of a true intellect of his time. Besides, he told me he liked Chaucer so Chaucer he was. And, unfortunately, he belonged to some folks living up the road a piece. I didn't know them well but their animals have ended up here fairly often during the years. They have slovenly fences, no shelter and nothing but weeds and junk in the pastures. I could see why Chaucer found his way here. The person he belonged to told me she had rescued him. He was an only horse. And she was surprised that he needed to have all of those things done. She thought horses just took care of them selves!
Sending him down the road was very difficult for me to do but he did belong to her and she was not interested in selling him. So he went back to his weedy pasture with junk in it, reluctantly on his part and mine. I cried. And, over the years, I've snuck up the road to check on him and, if no one was home, I called the farrier and we'd sneak in to the pasture and trim his hooves. And, when no one was home, I'd drive up and throw hay over the crummy fence and take him buckets of clean, clear water. I never had to call. He always came.
And then he was gone. I'd tried to buy him from her several times but was always refused. I called to ask about him again. She'd sent him to auction two weeks before. That sweet, old horse ended up on a truck to Mexico because of her prickly pride. She didn't call me because she didn't want me to have him. I called the auction house to find out who bought him. Then I called the kill buyer. Chaucer had already shipped out. He really was gone.
So, I got up and moved. I cleaned the upstairs. Tidied up the downstairs and my studio. And laughed while I remembered him and how well he handled Apache, my LBE who wants to be head honcho. He was considerably bigger than Patch and, when Apache did his "MOVE!" routine on Chaucer, Chaucer moved backwards right in to Apache. Didn't kick him. Just kept walking backwards until Patch had to move ... and then he did it some more. He walked circles around Patch backwards and made Apache move in every direction. Slow and easy, no worries. Just " That, son, is how you move another horse. " and I'm pretty sure Chaucer was laughing the whole time he did it too. Slow and easy, no worries.
No worries. It became my mantra for today. I said, " No worries." when the landowners called this morning and told me a truck would be by to clean the septic out, would I mind handling that. I said I was busy, and I was. So a big truck shows up and drives down the side yard right through the gardens, smashing them flat and leaves twin canyons besides because we had three inches of rain yesterday. And then I get yelled at by the land owner because there are flushable wet wipes in the septic. Must be my fault they're there. I'm the one who works out of the house, keeps it clean, built the crushed gardens and I'm the female. Must be my fault.
I gritted my teeth, made no reply. I do use baby wipes but I never put them in the toilet. But John did until I read him an article about the mess they make in sewers and septics. He offered to call them to explain. I thought about Chaucer moving in backwards circles and ending his life in a slaughter house. No worries. I would handle it. And remembered how Willow would run back and forth under Chaucer and then snug herself up under him because rascal Apache couldn't get to her there. More laughter. And reasons to smile.
And I go out to do chores. The heat index was up to 100, humidity high. The horses were probably going to need showers to cool off. And that was fun too. Always trashes my clothes and soaks my boots but they were cooler and all took turn rolling in the mud afterwards. Clean horses? Nah, not more than five minutes of that. But they have a great time getting dirty and it does keep the flies off. Not a bad system really. Cold shower then a nice roll in pond mud, some hay and grain and then spend the afternoon standing in front of fans in the shed.
I'm walking back to the house covered in flung mud, sweat, hay, the usual and the crabby land owner calls me around to the side of the house, the one with the canyon sized ruts and destroyed gardens. " Nancy, they left the pile of ancient, gross ( you do not want to know how gross!) wet wipes here for you. They're your responsibility but I'll help. Where do you want me to put them?"
Really? REALLY? Breath Nancy. Smile until your cheeks hurt, then smile some more. " Let's put them over on the cement pad across from the barn. I'll take care of them. " He says, " Yes, you will! What were you thinking?" Siiiighhh. Be Chaucer. Walk in circles backwards. So, I did! I walked in backwards circles until he stopped jabbering at me. I would have given anything to have Chaucer here so I could tell him I learned from him. I wish he were here so we could laugh together about me walking in backwards circles until Flappy Lips shut up!
I waited until he left and then shoveled the grossness in to a plastic bag and dragged it down to the dumpster that he had told me not to put them in. And, just for fun, I walked in backwards circles up the drive, laughing. No worries! " Now that, son, is how you move a horse!"
We laugh a lot around here. I meet the most amazing four legged "people" and they always have better manners and something more important to say then most of the two legged creatures I meet.
My garden is crushed, and there's a muddy grand canyon for a side yard. I smelled rather ripe when I came in and everything I was wearing went straight in to the washer and me in to the shower too.
My blender that I've used for forty years exploded when I dropped it. Today is dog food day. The blender is used to grind the bones and to add them back to the pot. When the glass broke it flew everywhere, tiny little shards all over the table, counters and floors. sigh.... I had to clean the kitchen I'd already spent the morning cleaning because I was angry and crying. And somewhere in the middle of all of that I could feel the presence of a handsome old fellow named Chaucer, watching and chuckling at the things we two leggeds get ourselves all in a twist about. No worries!
I am, ever yours, Nancy, head back and laughing...and crying...and laughing at the way things go.