“What is that?”
Of all the questions in all the world, there is nothing like that question when it comes to living in the country. Sometimes, it’s from Miles. Sometimes, it’s from Annie, she will add “the hell” in there. And sometimes it’s me, with “the f***” added in for good measure.
Occasionally, it’s the astonishing, nature’s best, like an eagle or a wolf or a bear. Sometimes, it’s the confounding, when the neighbor walks across the backfield with a dog and a kid on a frigid afternoon. Sometimes, it’s the startling, a horse-in-the-pool or three-through-the-fence emergency.
Last night, it was a little bit of all three as we drove home from dinner in town. Annie and I in the front seat jinxed each other with the "What is that?" statement, she didn’t use the h word and I didn’t use the f word, mostly because we couldn’t see well enough to know what it was in the road.
Three ponies. Look like Shetland ponies meandering in the middle of Snake Hill Road, in the dark. Annie jumped out, her belt sliding through the loops of her pants, I called our neighbor, Job Woodill, who lives right there and jumped out, same thing, my Argentine belt gliding across my fingertips, hearing my father in my head, “Always wear a belt, it’ll catch a horse one day.” As I jumped out, I instructed Miles tersely, “Stay in the car.” He met me at the front of the bumper, obviously not terse enough.
Annie rounded up the black and white one, "I've got this one." I tried to catch the brown one who ducked between the car and me and headed to heavy traffic (well, heavier) while talking to Job and Miles shimmied the other one toward Job’s driveway.
In a matter of minutes, three ponies were corralled in Job’s paddock and we were headed home.
Off to Laurel Park today for Gotham Gala in the fifth. She’s favorite in a 13-horse field.