You know it is going to be a rocky day when you are awoken (waked, awakened, woken up, whatever....) by hearing a message on your answering machine that begins with, "I think I just saw your horse walking toward Bible Road". Oh yeah. In less than 20 seconds, I had on my muddy overalls, my barn boots, and the ratty sweatshirt that I use when feeding the animals. Within about 3 seconds after that, I had grabbed a lead rope and was headed out the door toward Bible Road. (A lovely sight, I was)
Lucky for me, the neighbor who called me was the same neighbor who had previously helped my husband corral the goats when they were out on the road and whose dogs we had rescued and returned home a couple of times. We may not always remember each other's names but we know each other by our animals. Which is common in our neck of the woods.
After less than a couple minutes, I spotted Buddy the wayward horse grazing outside the fence in the company of some mighty nice looking heifers who belonged to another one of our neighbors. I clipped the leadrope onto Buddy's halter and my husband walked him home.
At church during the sermon, I remembered that the potato casserole was still in the oven so I ran home to turn the oven off. While I was there, I peeked out and sure enough........Buddy and Clover were both out of the fence and were nibbling on the grass. I went back to church and sent my husband and son over home to bring the horses back in. It was clear that the fun and games were about over. Chasing the horses and bringing them home was quickly losing its appeal. All along, I was under the (wrongful) impression that the spot in the fence where they were escaping had been fixed.
So then after church but before our church meal, I went over to the house to bring the casserole over and looked out just in time to see Dolly Llama hop the fence. And even though Dolly Llama has the ability to hop nearly any fence, she only does so when the horses are in the lower pasture. So I ran the casserole to the church and ran back home. Literally. I got in the house to put on my boots just in time to hear our other neighbor say that the horses were over in their yard checking out their garden. Let me tell you: about that point, I was having not-quite-Christian-like thoughts about the fence, the horses, Dolly Llama, my husband, etc.
Suffice it to say, that the horses were successfully put away - Buddy in the barn, Clover in the upper pasture and Dolly Llama in the company of Clover. The spot where they were sneaking over to the unsecure lower pasture was fixed. What could have ended tragically since we live within 1.5 of a main road, ended well - thanks to some really good neighbors who decided not to ignore a large horse strolling down the road. So though we may only know each other by the names of our pets/animals (at least in the early hours), we do know each other. We have each others' back.
I think that many times country neighbors are compared to the more transient city neighbors. Those of us who live in the country and are lucky enough to have others in close proximity may not always know the first names of our neighbors but that doesn't mean we don't know them. It doesn't mean that we don't look out for each other. This morning has proven to me that neighborliness is alive and well. At least in Georges Valley.