Original story by R.T. Fitch
“While penning this piece of dialog I saw a whole bunch of you slipping into the role of the main character…” ~ R.T.
The girl was pulling her mother off from the asphalt road, as they walked, and leading her down a small dirt driveway to a tall wrought iron gate where a quaint little barn could be seen some 50 meters away.
The mother and daughter had just moved into the neighborhood, last week, and she had seen this back entrance to a house’s pastures as she drove by but her young daughter came running into their home, yesterday, all excited that she had talked to a lady, down here, who had let her pet a horse while she was out riding her bike. She had reluctantly agreed to walk over and meet the horse, today; a move to appease her daughter.
“See, mommy, see. The horses are out there in the back.”
The mother’s eyes followed the direction her daughter was pointing.
Some distance away, beyond the barn the woman could see several horses that were calmly grazing but when they heard the squeals of delight from the girl, they raised their heads, slowly turned towards the duo and began lumbering up the hill in their direction.
The girl clapped with delight and began jumping up and down when a voice from the direction of the barn caught their mutual attention.
“I thought you might be back, after your visit yesterday, so I decided that I would be prepared for you while I did my chores.”
A middle-aged woman in muck boots, well-worn jeans, t-shirt and ball cap was standing in the main doorway of the barn and began to walk in their direction. As she progressed, she was fishing for something in her right pocket, she looked over her left shoulder and saw that the horses were right behind her so when she reached the gate she shoved a handful of mini-carrots into the girl’s hands through the iron slats.
“Quick, take these, honey, and I will teach you how to feed horses treats, today, if that is okay with your mother and I do assume that this is your mother?” She stood up and between the slats, again, she thrust her right hand in order to shake the mother’s hand.
“Yes, yes this is my mom.”
The horse’s mom smiled, “Howdy, I’m Reba.”
A little flustered by the forwardness the mother had no choice but to take the hand and respond.
“Oh, hi, I’m Denise…ah, we just moved in 2 houses down last week.”
She quickly released Reba’s hand.
“Well welcome to the neighborhood, do ya’all have horses?”
“Oh, no, no horses.”
“But we are going to get some, right mommy.?”
“Hold on there little filly, let’s not put the squeeze on mom to quick, there. You have some horse business to take of right now so let’s feed these ‘starving’ ponies some of those carrots you are holding onto, there.”
The joke about the starving ponies was not lost on the little girl as the four horses that were standing on the other side of the gate anxiously eyeing the handful of orange treats were anything but starving, they were in fact rather fat.
“I forgot; my name’s Becka and I have always wanted horses ever since I was little.”
“Well, how old are you Becka?”
“I’m 8 and one-half years old.”
“You are very mature for your age, child.”
That brought a smile to Denise’s lips.
“Now Becka, take one of those carrots and put it on your hand and poke it through the gate, keep your hand flat and don’t curl your fingers up.”
Becka did as directed and began to stick her right hand through the gate.
“Why do I have to keep my hand flat?”
“So, the horses don’t confuse your fingers with the carrot.”
Denise quickly grabbed her daughter by the shoulders and pulled her back so quickly that Becka dropped the carrot before the horses even had a chance to scarf it up.
“Didn’t intend to scare you and these horses have never bitten anybody but just trying to teach you the right way to do this from the git-go, makes sense doesn’t it?” Reba’s gaze was aimed straight at Denise who paused for a moment and gave a sheepish nod.
Becka didn’t wait to reply; carrot in hand and arm through the gate.
“Come and get it, horsies.”
Being that the horses were ‘starving’ there was no problem with compliance.
The sound of giggles filled the top pasture as the horses chomped away at the carrots and Becka could not hand them out fast enough.
“Their lips tickle my hand; they have whiskers on their lips.”
“Yup, we’re going to have to wipe your hand off as they aren’t the neatest of eaters, either.”
Only seconds later, the supply of carrots spent, Becka was rubbing her right hand on her jeans.
“No, young lady, take this rag, your mom is not going to appreciate horse slobber all over your nice clean jeans.”
Reba winked at Denise who nodded in timid approval.
“Well ladies, that’s all the excitement for the day as I have got to get back to my chores but if ya’all would like to come back tomorrow I’ll tell the stories behind each and every one of these horses. They’re all rescued and each one of them have some interesting tales to tell, ya game?”
“Can we mommy, can we?”
Denise nodded and put out her hand, this time.
“Thank you, this is the most animated I’ve seen Becka in ages.”
“Pleasures all mine, and if you need any help, just give me a shout.”
Becka and her mom turned to walk back home but she had to turn around one last time and wave.
“I told you, mommy, the horse lady is nice, isn’t she?”
Denise smiled, nodded and they walked home, hand in hand.