Wednesday, July 14, 2010

For Darrell

I often wonder why I do this. Every day people turn up here: "We wanna mini horse ride." "Sorry" goes the spiel, "We retired the horses from rides 3 seasons ago, they're getting old, and so am I. Disappointed looks. " But you can go in and pet them if you like. No theres no charge." Which requires supervision.... "Those 4 are fine but not that one, she doesnt like petting. Dont pull on his tail please...dont put your fingers in his mouth like that please. Please stop chasing the hens...would you mind shutting the pasture gate behind you?"
   So yesterday we put up the large CLOSED sign and went to the city for errands and the next batch of meat chicks. Arrived home to find a woman with toddler on hip standing in the pasture, her 5 year old sitting astride Casey, free as a bird 10 feet away.
    She got a lecture (restrained for the child's sake) on the meaning of "closed" , on liability issues, on the idiocy of placing a child on an unknown unrestrained horse, (thank God she picked Casey who is next thing to comatose) and the impropriety of her attitude of entitlement, at which point she rather huffily departed.
     A cup of tea was in the works to soothe my indignation, but I wasn't to have it , in rolled another car. Two middle aged sisters and the husband of one of them, Darrell by name. They worked together to get him situated in his wheelchair and one of them explained to me about his stroke. Darrell was highly excited. I whistled the horses over to the low gate where he could reach them and feed them carrots with his one working hand. Darrell appeared to be lit up by his own personal sunbeams. He grinned and cooed and poured out his love for those little horses, each one in turn and Chloe, the 3 year old returned it, licking his hand over and over for the longest time. Chicken Little wandered over and his delight was multiplied. We worked out a one armed chicken hold and Darrel posed for pictures between burying his nose in her soft feathers and expressing his immense gratitude.
    I felt humbled to be in the presence of such a flow of love and laughter from one with every right to bitterness, whose mobility and independance had been stolen away. I couldn't wait to give him a copy of my children's book, Nana's Chickens. It was like I gave him a million dollars when he recognised Chicken Little on the cover. The last image I have of him as they backed out of the driveway is his joyful face mouthing the words of the story as his one good hand turned the pages.
     I know now why I give chunks of my day away to strangers. I do it for Darrell, who gave back so much more in return.


Catherine Constable said...

A lovely gift... reciprocated. :-)

Shelley said...

What a lovely post Kathi and so 'you'. Sometimes the most simple things warm our hearts the most. Thank you for sharing with Daryl, so many wouldn't have. Sadly.

I have seen your horses and Chicken Little too I suppose. What a lovely spot and yes, I fear that first 'mama' would have gotten a piece of my mind as well. Job well done.

Until next time.

Heather said...

You bring tears to my eyes, Kathy. You are a joy. Our world is a better place 'cause of folk like you.


cathy said...

Okay... I can go on with my challenging day now and feel more at home in the universe. Thank you.

Kim said...

Ahhh... there is good in the world. Such a nice post! Wandered over from OHG, Kathi. Thanks for the link to this!

Gwen Buchanan said...

I'm pretty sure you made Darrell's day, Kathi!!

kathi dunphy said...

Thanks everybody for your very kind comments.

Anonymous said...

Hi Kathi,

You do not know me, but I know the man you wrote about (Daryl) very well. The story brought a tear to my eye also, as I remember his wonderful guitar playing, pre-stroke. He does LOVE all animals, and when they come to him, you are correct, he does "light up". I think you made his day by taking the time to let him "visit" your animals! And you! Thanks!!!