2002-11-09 � horses, horses, horses

Horses, Horses, Horses

You know the movie "Sleepless in Seattle"? Well, of course you do! It's only been on television like 8 million times. Ok, maybe not 8 million times, but more than twice.

Well, anyway, there's a scene where Meg Ryan is driving home for Thanksgiving (I think it's Thanksgiving, maybe it's Christmas) and she's singing along to the radio. I think it's the first time she hears "Sleepless" , or rather Sleepless's son. Anyway, she's flipping stations and singing along with the radio and the song she's singing features a chorus that goes "horses, horses, horses..."

I remember that phrase more than any other in the movie. I don't know why. It's just lodged there in my brain, like popcorn wedged between your molars or a fossilized hunk of something prehistoric squashed between sedimentary layers. Every once in a while, unbidden, it pops into my consciousness and I find myself chanting "horses, horses, horses" for no particular reason.

Well, I've been chanting "horses, horses, horses" alot over the past 48 hours, but for once, I actually have a reason. Yesterday I made three new horsie friends. They are residents of the park I walk the wolf in and while I've known they were there for a couple of weeks now, it wasn't until yesterday that I formally made their aquaintance.

There is an elderly lady I see most everyday walking her dog, Morgan, a six-year-old setter sweetie with orange giraffe spots who I always want to call George for some odd reason. Those of you who visit dog parks will understand when I say I have no idea what Morgan's mom's name is. This is a peculiarity common to doggy people. You amble around these dog parks day after day for hours on end, bumping into the same people over and over and engaging in long conversations about everything under the sun. You know the dog's names, you know the dog's favourite toys, what kind of diet they're on, whether they're good with kids or not, how their last vet visit went, where they like to sleep, how they react to strangers at the door...yada yada yada ... on and on.

And over time, you learn all the intimate details of the doggy owner's life. How many kids they have, what perscriptions they're on, what they do for a living, where they're vacationing this winter, how many trick-or-treaters they got Halloween night and what kind of candy they handed out. You know what kind of car the drive, where they live, where they shop, how good their spouses are in bed and all about their last visit to the dentist.

You know everything about them except their actual names.

And this can go on for years.

In Calgary, I walked every day practically with the same woman, a forty-three year old flight attendant, a Libra whose husband made exactly $77,000 dollars a year (before taxes), had three children (Sarah, 11, Michael 16 and Tracy, 18), whose father committed suicide when she was 8, whose brother Jim lives in St. John's and has a drinking problem, who is allergic to shellfish and is terrified of snakes, who was an honest-to-god prom queen, whose bedroom is painted Martha Stewart Seagrass H26, who was trying to convince her husband to get a vasectomy, who thought Russell crowe was the hottest man on Earth.... and whose first name I did not know for 19 months. I mean, i talked to this woman more than I talked to my husband and I did not know her first name. It just never came up. But I knew her dog's name from day one. Simba Jasmine Daisy. Yes, Sarah named her.

I know, I know! It's freakish. But frighteningly common in dog circles.

Anyway, I've only been talking to Morgan's mom for a few weeks so the fact i don't know her name yet is not cause for concern. Yesterday was the first time we actually walked together for any distance as on our previous meetings, we were headed in opposite directions. Also, Morgan was a little afraid of Finn at first. She's since realized that Finn poses far more danger to fallen tree limbs and runaway squirrels than she does to her little orange-spotted self. Morgan, that is. Morgan's mom does not have orange spots. None that I can see anyway. Who know what lurks beneath her doggy walking gear.

Anyway, Morgan's mum has been walking in the same park for over twelve years. Yesterday was her horsie visiting day, when she takes sugar and apples to the horses and also goes to visit Percy the peacock and his little harem. She invited me along. And that's how I got to meet Major, Pete and Ben.

Pete and Ben are huge and tan coloured, with great creamy white manes and enormous working-horse hooves. Major is the tallest and is the colour of milk chocolate, with a white blaze on his head and a dun-coloured mane. Major, I'm told, is the gentlest of the three. Pete is bold and bossy and prone to kicking and biting. Ben used to be the gang leader, but something went down between he and Pete a couple of months ago (no one seems to know what exactly, but all the horse feeders are buzzing about it), and now Pete is the big man on campus.

Morgan's mom also introduced me to Percy the Peacock and his four little grey Peahens and gave me a handful of mysterious black seed to feed them. Apparently, there were little peachicks earlier this summer, but a raccoon broke into the Peapad and ate the chicks, once again proving just how incredibly evil they are. The racoons, that is. The Peafamily seemed fairly harmless. Like they might gossip incessantly behind your back, but y'know, would never do anything truly violent.

And so, I'm chanting "horses, horses, horses" these days, out in the naked woods, and being all one with nature and life is good. And someday soon I'll learn Morgan's mom's name. But all in good time.

Have a great weekend, kids. And feed a horsie.

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