The other day I was out on the route and I had a mission. I needed to find out where a new subscriber to the newspaper lives; this in a rural area where only about half of the mailboxes have numbers painted on them.
Extrapolating from the boxes which did have numbers, I gradually narrowed down the prospects and pulled into the driveway of an elaborate and large steel-sided barn. Vehicles were parked there, so I walked into a large drive-through bay which was open.
A young woman in a horsey outfit popped out of a stall; there appeared to be some large brown beast in there. She asked me, “Can I help you?”
I explained my quest and the woman said, “The owner is out in the arena — she’s exercising a couple of the horses.”
I walked on through the barn, glancing through the slats of the stalls at large, slow-moving horses who peered at me inquisitively. The mingled odors of horse, manure, and straw bedding formed a rich amalgam which I sniffed at appreciatively.
The “arena” was a fenced circle about one hundred feet in diameter. Two women were encouraging two horse on long leads to circle around. A man with a digital camera lounged against the fence and occasionally snapped a photo.
I asked him, “Is that the proprietor out there?”
“Yeah, just give her a wave and she’ll come over in a bit.”
It was an intriguing scene and I’ll return one of these days to snap some photos of my own.
The owner was a weatherbeaten gray-haired woman in her sixties. She certainly looked as if she spent much of her time outdoors! I established that I was at the right place and walked on back to my car.
My attention was caught by a unique mailbox-post out by the gravel road. It was welded together from presumably worn-out horseshoes. An overall view, followed by a detail shot of one of the welds:
I could imagine the scene of that post being put together. It’s a snowy winter day and the horses have all been fed. The proprietor enters a shop room in the barn, chafing her hands and stomping snow from her boots. She drags a white plastic bucket from beneath a workbench and empties dozens of rusted old horseshoes onto the concrete floor. She fires up a stick welder, dons a face-mask, and goes to work…