I honestly doubt that I would ever be able to transition into a job that fell outside of the academic world. To do so would mean forever sacrificing spring break, summer break, Christmas break, and random long weekends, and I am just not sure I could give it up. (Dear Readers with real jobs: You may judge me and think me spoiled with my narrow conception of that disappointing thing you call the real world. But then I invite you to look at your paycheck and remember, “At least I have this. She will never understand what joy a fine salary can bring. Let her have her spring break.”)
I came home for the week to do some wedding planning with the Mother in Chief and soak up some Kentucky. As it has been unseasonably warm this spring, we decided to get the horses out at last. There are several types of horse people in Kentucky. There are those who were riding before they could walk, those who can rattle off every contender for the Derby as the time gets closer, and those who keep manicured stables and perfect pastures. Then there are those whose horses just kind of hang out in muddy patches behind their trailers but who actually know more about the animals than anyone else. The Stones do not fall into any of those camps. We kind of fell into horses, got a perfect starter one after years of begging, thought they would all be as easy as old Duke (may he rest in peace – cancer took his eye, but he continued on for many more years before just keeling over dead one day because he had lost all his back teeth and couldn’t eat). But we have successively acquired horses who have required extensive work to maintain their training.
Which is to say, we are accidental horse people, the kind who don’t always really know what we are doing, wimp out during the really cold or hot months, but really love those ornery animals.
We road for a while Sunday afternoon, but then just came back, unsaddled all three horses, and flopped in the grass while they grazed. My parents were chattering on about some new training techniques, the need to fill in some gopher holes near the pasture gate, where to find hay this time of year, which type of grasses had to be planted in the second field (Um… yes. Horses refuse to eat certain types of grass. Go figure. My Little Pony didn’t teach us that. ), and I was struck again by one of the things I love every time I come home: my parents kind of wish they were rednecks, the type who spend all day at Tractor and Supply discussing hay crops and driving big pick-ups around back roads. And laying there in the grass listening to the horses chomp away on a Sunday afternoon, I don’t blame them.
**These pictures are actually from last summer, but it seemed like a lot of work to go find my camera and take new ones. Plus, the boys (The General, Weeds the Brave, and Jethro) look pretty mangy and muddy this time of year and I wish to spare the cyberworld the harsh realities of pseudo-redneck life. The star of this particular series is Weeds the Brave, the neurotic paso fino beloved only by my mother. He has to take lots of baths because his skin allergies (to heat, bugs, dust, tall grass, mean thoughts, negative atmospheric forces, etc. ) sometimes make his hair fall off. Which makes him look even more ridiculous when he jumps away terrified from birds, fences, humans, rocks, inanimate farm equipment, brightly colored flowers, etc. Anyone other than my mother would have turned him into a glue stick. She instead treats him and loves him as a challenge of Sisyphus-like proportions.