Every day while driving to a job site at which my services are no longer required, I passed half a dozen horse farms. I was perplexed by the sight of some horses out there in the chill morning wearing blankets while others had none. My inquiring mind wanted to know why they all didn’t have a blanket, or at least a windbreaker. With a hood.
One possibility I considered is that up in the big Ben Cartwright house the in-laws had dropped in for a long visit and some of the horse blankets were needed for the guest rooms.
But after some serious applied thinking I began to draw a different conclusion.
Each day in the stables as the horses head out to the paddock, there’s a guy standing there asking each horse as it passes “Blanket?” Of course he has a stack of them and he hands them out to whichever horses want one.
As logical and reasonable as that sounds, I’ve come to understand that there are those instances when a horse will say “Can I have the plaid one?” And the blanket guy says something like “Marmalade Bob just took that one.” To which the horse responds “I never get the plaid blanket.” The guy says something like “Hey, the early bird gets the worm.” To which the horse replies “Never say worm to a horse, you parasite.” The guy, quite used to whinnying horses, shoots back “I’ll take that as a neigh.”
There is one other possibility and it makes me think of a guy I knew in college. He had a real name but everyone called him Frenchy—most likely because of the beret he often wore. He was a hail fellow, well met, short and a bit on the stocky side. Well, more like quite a bit, but he carried his weight well.
In the winter—aside from pants, shirt and shoes—all Frenchy wore was that beret and a long, thick scarf, tossed rakishly over his shoulder. Never a coat. No matter how cold or how much snow. Never. Ask him about it and he’d shrug “I’m fine.”
So now, whenever I see an unclad horse in a field, I think about Frenchy–although I’ve yet to see a horse with a beret or scarf. Maybe the guy just has blankets. If a horse asks him one morning “Can I have a beret?” maybe the guy shoots back “Do you want that with or without truffles? Haw!”
Or maybe…just maybe, the blanket guy is wearing a beret and a scarf. And while the horses move out of the stables without comment, it’s later, over the watering trough, that one hears horses muttering. “Did you get a load of that beret?” asks a big mare named Stan. He immediately drops a whopping load. Amid a chorus of horse laughs someone adds “Geez, I’m glad I’m a horse.”
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013, all rights reserved.
How the heck did you remember “frenchy”? You must have a memory like a warm horse in a tasteful plaid blanket.
How could one ever forget Frenchy?