Say! Grab a cup of coffee and let me tell you one of my very favorite stories. Eventually, I'll get around to our verse of the month, but not before we've had some fun.
When we moved to the country almost 7 years ago, one of the first things we did was get a borrowed horse. The girls and I had begged and pleaded for a horse of our own, but my husband, in his wisdom, decided on taking a slower path to equine ownership. Since we didn't know anything about taking care of a horse, he thought it might be a good idea to try it out before committing to the huge financial and care-taking responsibility. So we made arrangements to borrow a horse from some friends.
We tried not to show our disappointment when Snowbird got unloaded from the trailer and into our pasture. Almost 30 years old, she was a white mare who was well past her prime. In fact, you might say that our pasture was her last stop before the glue factory. Shabby and bony, her legs splayed out and her back sagged. Her lower lip hung permanently down, as if she just didn't have the wherewithal to tuck it up and look interested in life any longer. But she came with a saddle, bridle and a scrawled list of instructions, and so we began the task of learning all about horsemanship.
Snowbird had once been a showstopper. In her youth, she'd been a barrel racer, nimble and quick on her feet, able to cut around the triangular course in record time. She was used to being loaded into trailers for weekend rodeos and treated like a diva. She knew tricks like sucking in air when being cinched up, and stumbling on purpose so we'd cut our rides short. Seeing her now, as a faded star, was a little sad, but we had a soft spot for our geriatric friend. She would teach us what we needed to know.
One morning, Meghan went to the barn to let Snowbird out of her stall. Suddenly, she was running back to the house with a panicked expression.
"Snowbird got out of her stall and someone left the gate to the pasture open! Oh, Momma! She's GONE!" Too late, we realized that Snowbird was also an accomplished escape artist, who knew how to unlatch a stall door with her teeth, a small detail her owners had neglected to tell us.
A frantic search ensued. We started in the nearby properties, calling her name and rattling buckets of feed. I imagined the worst: discovering her bloated carcass days later and having to rent a backhoe to retrieve her. I dreaded breaking the news to her real owners. See, this is what we get for borrowing a whole horse, for pete's sake! Who are we kidding?? We're CITY people!
As the hours went on and our search widened, we really began losing hope. Hot and tired, we reconvened over lunch and discussed our strategy. Just then, the phone rang for Lauren, our oldest daughter. Her friend, who lived about 3 miles down the road, happened to mention that some old, white horse had shown up by their fence and they'd put her in their pasture until they could figure out where she belonged.
Snowbird! That crazy horse.
And as we leaned up against the trailer, chatting with the horse rescuers, we learned just what had happened.
Come to find out, the horse rescuers had three gorgeous young stallions in their pasture! Muscular and ripped, these guys were HOT! They pranced and posed, tossed their heads and whinnied, as Snowbird came clip-clopping around the corner. Lord have mercy, there was a WOH-man, and they didn't care WHAT she looked like!
And how did Snowbird "happen" to get there? Why, she was jest out for a lil' stroll, jest checkin' out the scenery. Yep, that's all she was doing.
For three miles.
What a surprise that her "little stroll" should end up at the Chippendale's down the road, where those beefcakes were looking to chase a little tail.
"That there mare of yores was runnin' up and down the fence with her rear end up, jest taunting my boys here," said Mr. Rescue. He had a real good chuckle over the scene: an old has-been mare, flirting outrageously with the young studs. "She shore knew what she was doing!" he winked.
We looked at our shabby mare, the harsh midday sun revealing her age and wear. Why, it was downright shameful for an old girl to be acting like a tramp with a trio of young bucks half her age. No amount of explaining could ever convince us that she hadn't been hoping for some trouble down the road.
We pulled into our pasture and Snowbird dutifully backed out of the trailer and lumbered out into the tall grass.
"Girls," my husband shook his head. "I know I don't have to tell you this now, but you have GOT to mind those gates!"
Which brings me to our scripture.