Monday, December 10, 2007

The Lengths to Which Your Friends Will Go

A week or so ago a dear friend had hip replacement surgery. Several weeks prior to that, on an overcast but fairly warm autumnal Sunday afternoon, our friend treated us to a unique experience. His wife owns a horse, smallish but quite sturdy. They had built a four passenger cart for the horse to pull and acquired all the requisite accoutrement, including period clothing. They are often requested at small town parades and old west re-enactments. We had shown interest in their stories and so they invited us out into the hinterland to savor the experience of an authentic horse / wagon ride.

After a lovely post-church lunch, we ambled down the highway a piece, arrived at a picturesque riding stable and Deb went into get the horse, while Lou gathered equipment. Except the horse was sure that winter had arrived and cart rides were a thing of the past until spring and Deb had the devil's own time making that horse agree to be "carted."

Lou, working in pain the entire time with a screaming disintegrating hip, helped Deb with the mare and also heaved and toted and carried and buckled and generally did a yeoman's job. Hubby and I watched in amazement from the sidelines.

The gear for the horse is gorgeous -- all leather and studs.

Then the cart came out of the trailer -- beautifully stained wood and hunter green paint -- and perfect in size and shape.

The horse relented, was harnessed, and we heaved ourselves into the cart -- and then the fun began. Lou drove and we were whisked back into time, riding gloriously happy behind the mare.

Up and around the trails we rode, at first clutching the sides with white knuckles, but eventually realizing this was a lot more fun that we had thought.

Eventually we all tired, and we clamored down. Lou and Deb had another hour's work ahead of them but they sent us onward, saying the drudgery was in the details and they wanted us to remember only the fun.

And what fun it had been.

Now Lou has a new hip and is in recovery, doing just fine, thankfully. We're glad, not only because we want our friend hale and hearty for our concert gigs but also -- we hear they have a boat, too . . . .

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