A bloody rooster and two stray horses
Reuben the Rooster is nearing the end of his reign. Life on the farm is like a Shakespearean tragedy. An old king is not allowed to grow old and live out his dotage in peace. Rueben’s son, Jr, has detected – with his super chicken senses – that Reuben is weaker. Instead of taking care of his old dad he has decided to take care of his old dad. He beat him up. And despite Reuben’s superior size, intelligence, looks, and his larger spurs, Jr beat him pretty badly. But Reuben looked ok. The next morning, however, Rueben was found standing like a bloody statue of a defeated soldier. A statue erected to commemorate a massacre. We thought he had died standing like a true Hero. But when attempts were made to administer first aid, Reuben perked up and kept his distance. Up until this tragedy, Reuben had always been the tame one. He would eat out of your had (if you have a hand. Apologies to amputees). Efforts were redirect toward capturing the perpetrator, from her on referred to as the perp. A posse was formed. A one man posse. The leader of said posse located the perp, with bloody spurs, in, of all places, a chicken coop. Cornered! Doors were closed, a struggle ensued, feathers flew (as is their wont) but Junior crashed through the door – minus a few tail feathers – and fled the scene.
Meanwhile the posses temporarily disbanded to continue ordinary farmyard chores. Then dogs started barking, horsed whinnied. A wise farmer listens to his animals. Their was a stray horse walking down the road (chestnut colored). And there was another (gray) on the opposite side of the fence. They were both heading in the direction of the highway. Posse reformed. This time to heroically save horses.
The chestnut horse was approached and petted. Then, out of nowhere came a thought: How does one convince two horses to come home? And don’t say whisper. Ok, say whisper. Unlike a stray dog who will occasionally jump through the open door of a car, a horse will only fit in the largest of cars. A woman near the farm has two quarter horses (which inexplicably does not add up to one half horse). A plan was hatched to get her to ride one of her horses so the strays would hopefully follow. But the neighbor was not home. On the short drive back to the farm, the chestnut was encouraged by the approaching TSH mobile to lead the way home. The gray followed. Then both horses stopped. The one man posse exited the car with a nylon tie-down strap and placed it over the chestnut’s head. Leaving the TSH mobile running and in the middle of the road, the horse was led home. The gray followed. Turned out catching horses (at least catching these horses) was not terribly difficult.
In California, Jenny from PR did some research on her personal computer, made a few dozen phone calls and discovered the horses’ owners. Jenny’s conversation led to the impression that the horses might not be wanted. We offered to keep them because they were sweet and lovely. But when the teenage boy who called about them was consulted, he said, in the disaffected country drawl typical of Western teens, “No. We want them.” You read that too fast. Read it again at half speed. There, you got it. The boy and a teenage girl with a broken leg showed up a few hours later. He had trouble catching the horses. Between you and the posse, that was a bit of an ego boost for this greenhorn. Until, when the horses were eventually caught (wrangled), the teens hopped on the horses and rode them, bareback or elf fashion as Gandolf called it, into the hills.
Did you hear that? It was the sound of a heart breaking.