It’s been one of those days.
I haven’t worked out for two months (since my back injury) and now that the weather is warming up, I need to get back to business. Therefore, I started working out again this week. Today is my second day, and I’ll admit, I’m sore. Nevertheless, I’m a devoted sort, so off to the gym I went. I’ve discovered that I don’t feel whole when my body gets into that sleepy state that comes with non-use, and frankly, I have to keep in shape, like it or not, for my Boston Teaching Job this summer. Resting on my physical laurels just doesn’t gel with my self-image, interferes with my ability to play hard, and leaves me cranky, so in order to feel good, I need a daily dose of sweat and (sigh) soreness.
Anyway, I’d already dropped my kids off to school, cleaned my car, and dropped off some videos at the rental store, and now, at 9:45 I was knocking myself out in a step class. Suddenly, the receptionist came and motioned me out of the class. She said I had an emergency call from my husband. I needed to call him back right away.
Now, my first thought, whenever there’s an emergency, is that my husband has chopped off a hand. I know that he’s off turning wood on a huge lathe or working with his chain saw to carve something. So, it makes sense that one wrong move might take a finger or two. (And let me point out here that his fingers are important to keep. In addition to their being required for his dexterity for work (and for filling out his gloves) they are rather vital to my long-term happiness, though I am too delicate to go into detail). But I figured that if he was calling, he must still have his hand, considering he dialed and all. So perhaps some other awful tragedy has occurred. We recently sold our business and there are some delicate legal issues brewing. It could be that. Or, maybe something happened to one of our children. Eek.
Now, my mind was swimming with the tragic possibilities. I hustled into the hall, panting and sweaty, anxious to call back.
My husband said, “We have an emergency.”
“What?” I ask tepidly.
“The animals have escaped. I got a call from the woman who owns the lumberyard down the road and she said they are walking down the road, headed out to the highway (which is not really a highway, just a real road). We need to get out there right away. “
“How does she know they’re ours?”
“She recognizes Dixie, so she called Eric (who sold us this pregnant horse) and whoever answered at his house told her we bought him, so she called us.” The woman happens to have our number because we have bought lumber from their yard. Small world.
I stood there trying to imagine how she could recognizes our horse. I don’t know if I could distinguish Dixie from another chestnut mare if I saw her in some other pasture. She is not all that unique a looking horse.
We were silent on the phone. He is an hour away apprenticing at a woodworkers shop. I am an hour away at the health club. The question hangs in the air. Who goes?
Of course, I offer to take off and take care of it. The fact is, I am the one who wanted these animals, and when they’re trouble, I feel obligated to be the one put out. And, my husband’s activity today is more important than mine. While his practicing woodturning isn’t a job or a responsibility, it’s a part of the recipe we’re baking to make his happiness soufflé. Therefore, the time I afford him to follow his heart is precious. Not to mention that it makes me the “good” spouse and earns me some brownie points. And face it, I only had ten minutes left of class. I decided to qualify the call as a rescue mission, because to be perfectly honest, I was tired.
So I hopped into the car and sailed down the highway to go to our land to find the wayward livestock.
As I drove, I thought about how our emergencies now a days are a far cry from what they used to be. There was a time when an urgent call meant a dozen parents and crying kids were standing at the door of FLEX, livid, because a teacher didn’t show up for their birthday party. I would have to stop my day, go teach, and face a lot of fury in the process, then, there would be the aftereffects and having to deal with the employee etc… etc….
I sighed with happiness, just thinking of how my problems today are problems that make you laugh rather than cry.
So, I drive up to the land, and there, standing passively in the pasture, are my innocent animals. They have that Eddy Haskel “aren’t I innocent” look. I don’t trust them far as I can throw them, which isn’t an inch considering they weight 800 pounds each!
I feed them, but they barely touch their grain, a sure sign that they have been up to no good. If they aren’t hungry, they’ve been out eating grass somewhere. But how did they get back in the pasture?
Looking for answers, I drove to the lumberyard. The woman told me that when she last saw the animals, they were headed down the highway. She called because she didn’t want them to get hit by a truck. One thing was for sure, she didn’t put them back. She did comment that they had gotten into some hay and grain of the neighbor farmer, and he wasn’t very happy about that. As I talked to her, I couldn’t help but notice she is old and lacks expression, her voice almost monotone. It was like talking to one of those humorless farmers holding a pitchfork on a hallmark card, meant to make you laugh. I stifled my smiles.
I asked if it was possible the animals she spotted roaming weren’t ours, considering they were tucked neatly in their pasture when I arrived. I checked the fence for a downed section but all seemed in order.
She shrugged and said, “Well, maybe so. It was three horses, a donkey and a goat. They were all together like some mismatched family out for a stroll.”
OK. So that HAD to be our mischievous devils. I mean, who else has a clump of animals that fit that very description. I thanked her for the call, and left. I drove away, imagining my livestock strolling leisurely about the county. Eesh.
So, however they got returned is a mystery. Obviously, I owe some neighbor a favor. I will find out who did the good deed in time, and then, when the season begins, I’ll drown the good do-bees in blueberries as a thank-you. Maybe I’ll get lucky and one of their cows will wander into my driveway so I can return the favor. Just in case, I’ll start studying the livestock nearby so I know what animals belongs to what farm.
In the meantime, I have my eye on my sly, roaming four-legged friends. They can’t fool me, no mater how innocently they stare. I went back to check on them one more time and gave them a piece of my mind.
“I’m pissed at all of you. You dragged me out of a workout class, I’ll have you know.”
They blink as if they don’t give a damn.
“Well, you may not care now, but every pound I don’t lose because I skipped my workout is a pound that you will have to tote around when we ride, so you’re going to pay for your folly in the long run.”
They snort and paw the ground. Ha. That got ’em.
Now, I’m home, my day all out of sync and my schedule muddled. I have homework to do, but I can’t seem to focus. At least the horses are fed, and I can eat lunch without guilt (thanks to the workout). I even gained a brownie point with the hubby since I took responsibility for today’s dilemma – which always comes in handy, ya know.
So, the day isn’t a total waste. In fact, there’s no reason a donkey, a goat and three horses should have all the fun, taking a stroll in this perfect weather. I might just take a walk too and forget about my homework till tomorrow. Why not.