Feb 19, 2009

I'll Take That Horse There, Please!

The other day Griffin, Edison and I were walking down a country road near to our home where there is a large horse farm that belongs to the National Lancers, a unit of the Massachusetts Militia and a ceremonial cavalry troop. The horses there are gorgeous (if you might remember we had a few escapees from there in our yard one morning a while back: see "Four Horses and a Front Yard" 4-3-07) and I love to stop and look at them every time I pass the place. The afternoon was chilly but not too bad for this time of year and in one of the farther pastures we saw a very large herd of deer, including several fawns. We stopped to watch them, Edison itching to get closer, until the deer grew nervous and trotted into the woods a few at a time until they were all out of sight. The little brook that runs through the pastures was full of mallards, but as we have ducks, those were old hat to Edison and so we moved on up the winding road.

The first field had quite a few horses in it, including my absolute favorite: a dapple gray with a long yellow-blonde mane and tail, and I stood there for quite some time holding Edison in my arms as we watched them all grazing on the winter grass. Griffin had been lagging a bit behind and when he caught up, I pointed to my favorite dapple gray and said, "If I were going to steal a horse from this place, it would be that one." Griffin grinned and began to very loudly ask, "IF YOU WERE GOING TO STEAL A HORSE FROM HERE, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU STEAL? THAT ONE THERE? THE DAPPLE GRAY ONE? THAT HORSE? YOU'D STEAL THAT HORSE STANDING RIGHT THERE?" And on and on he went as we walked up the road.

So a bit further along we ran into a man who turned out to be the security guard for the farm who was very kind. If he heard our obnoxious and very vocal approach he never let on, but he did invite us to come onto the farm any time we'd like. He suggested we bring some carrots or apples and feed our favorite horses too. It goes without saying that I like this man a lot. By now the sun was fast going down and so was the temperature. It must have dropped a good fifteen degrees very quickly, so we said our goodbyes and headed back down the road in the direction from which we had come and then returned home where it was cozy and warm and one very shivery little chihuahua got all toasty again.

Now, you might think the whole horse-stealing thing was just a big joke, but it isn't. In fact, it's in my blood. My ancestors here in Massachusetts were reknowned horse thieves during the century before last. They'd steal them and swim them across the Taunton River to throw the farmers' dogs (that would inevitably chase them) off their scent. And once when I was a little girl my grandmother, who lived in Florida at the time, got to talking with a man while out and about down there and somehow her maiden name came up as well as the fact that she was from Massachusetts. When he said that he was a Willett too, my grandmother told him that they probably were related, to which he replied, "I doubt that. My relatives were a bunch of filthy horse thieves." After a bit more conversation, it turned out he was a relative that she had never met.

Even though I might come by it honestly (or not, to be more accurate), and even though I might not actually steal a horse, I have to say that if I did, it would definitely be that sweet dapple gray.

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