I just came back from feeding the horse, Birthday Girl. Since moving back to my Dad’s ranchette, Blue Creek Ranch, it’s become sort of a ritual with us. We both go out, get on the golf cart, hunt down Birthday girl, bring her back, and feed her. It’s a simple and easy routine that keeps us going across the place almost every night.
Did I mention that it’s routine? Very routine. Every night we hang the halter on a nail in the barn and it has to go back on the nail on the barn. I thought it would be simpler to leave it in the golf cart (Dad calls the golf cart the transportation of choice for ranchers in the 21st century). It made perfect sense to me. Yet, even after I suggested it, and Dad opted for my view, we kept putting it back on the nail. Sometimes, it just better to keep things the way they are. (As Sheldon Cooper says: “Change is never fine, they say it is, but it’s not.” Here is an extended version of the Sheldon Cooper clip.)
I think that is why I like my Dad’s place for the halter. For him, “the halter goes on the nail in the barn.” That is the way it is. No need to question it. That is what he wants to the point now that we both make sure we get the halter where it belongs.
One night, my Dad and I decided to turn our excursion into an excuse to vist the four corners of the ranch. We drove from one corner, to the next, and back again so that we covered the entire ranch before throwing the halter onto Birthday Girl. The journey across his place was more for the purpose of talking about life than it was about getting the horse, or seeing the place.
It also brought up the joke about the two ranchers who were talking to each other across the fence, and the first rancher said, “My ranch is so big, that when I get up in the morning, I get into my truck and it takes me all day to drive from one side of my ranch to the other.” The other rancher says, “Yup, I use to have a truck like that.”
We like that joke.
When we were in the back pasture, my Dad told me how he would love to buy a special air plane that is designed to take off and land on really short runways. Here is a video of it:
He talks about getting one so he can turn the back pasture into a runway and save on the cost of storing his airplane by putting it into the barn. But in reality, he is probably hanging up his wings. He told me that a few weeks after I arrived back in July. He feels like he is slowing down physically, but you could never tell it. He is the most healthy 82 year old I know. He is in such good health that he passes his pilot’s physical every year. He just feels it is time.
The good news about him giving up flying is that it would mean more time for golf. So there is a trade off. Airplanes are neat, but it’s hard to gather a foursome and fly on down to Galveston (we tried just the two of us and had to turn back because of inclemate weather.)
As for our ritual, it goes on, night after night. When I started writing this post, I had to go it alone. But even then it was special. It gave me the opportunity to get outdoors, breath the clean air, enjoy gorgeous view down by the ponds, and bring Birthday Girl back to her stall.
She loves the ritual as much as we do. Sometimes she will make a pretense and going for another bite or two of grass, but we know she is not serious. How? It’s one of those things you can tell about a horse by spending time with her. As we drive slowly in our golf cart toward her stall, she leans in and rubs up against us. She wants us to pet her. She loves it.
Then, once we pass into the back pasture, like clock work, she breaks into her trot. It happens just about every time. Sometimes we coax her, and she starts trotting. It’s part of the routine.
Last night when Dad and I were out looking as some fallen trees, I looked across the place and there was Birthday Girl looking at us, as if to say, “Hey guys! I’m over here. What are you doing over there?“
And we make our way over as she waits by eating a few more bites of green grass.
That is who she is and she is as much a part of this ranchette as my Dad. The most gentle horse in the world. I think this is one of the reason Dad and I love going and getting her every night. It’s our chance to say hello to Birthday Girl.
Photo by Donna Hammons, copyright 2013!