FOUND: Animal Planet By Nan Ressue

Week 4 Word: FOUND
Word Count 500+
Nan Ressue
ANIMAL PLANET
When we found our vacant and waiting country house, I hardly noticed what was across the road. It was another world.
Mary and her two adult children operated the family farm directly across the highway from our house where animals were used for diversion and child substitutes. Her son collected dogs and the daughter favored workhorses. There was an Afghan hound who looked like a blond with a permanent and a poodle who pestered the bigger dogs to grab his tail and run him around in big circles, swinging out like an amusement park ride.. The dog loved it. The son was a Viet Nam veteran who valued his guns and took his three Black and Tan hounds on frequent hunting expeditions. The maximum dog count was eleven and they all lived in the house.
My dear, old- time farmer father- in -law liked to stand at our front windows and watch the daughter’s beautiful blond Belgian workhorses in their pasture. “Don’t they ever do any work?” he asked me during one visit.
“Well”. I replied, “sometimes they walk around the pasture or play tag. And then, I’ve also seen them take naps”
What a waste,” he snorted. “They could at least drag a log around the field.”
What he didn’t know was that the work horses preferred to live in our yard. Since one of them was an escape artist, they were often grazing in our front yard. Walking up the driveway, and, more than once, standing on the front porch .which was fortunately constructed out of stone slabs
One summer day when I was taking my turn watching the horses out the front windows, I could see that that the daughter must have decided it was time for the workhorses to work and was planning to break a younger horse to harness. The three year old was teamed up with a twenty five year old, which was supposed to offer some control to the owner who was perched on the box of a lightweight wagon, holding the lines with an iron grip. An additional lead rope was on the youngster, held by the long-suffering brother. The nervous younger horse tossed his head frequently, finally ripping the lead rope out of the brother’s hands and snapping the animal on the rump. Watch out everybody! You can guess where they headed. Coming at a gallop, they ran up our driveway, through the only hole in the hedge, across the backfield, made a U-turn and came down the opposite side of the yard. The sister was bouncing high on the seat, gripping the lines with all her might while the brother ran behind, yelling “Jump! Jump!” Fortunately she didn’t. The team miscalculated a turn and ran themselves into a right angle corner of the barn, the only way they would ever be stopped. I was very grateful that my children were in the house.
Among the benefits of living across from a farm were wheelbarrows full of manure for the garden. “I brought youse that load of shit I promised”, called our neighbor on one springtime evening, parking it on the sidewalk in front of the door, just ten minutes before my daughter’s prom date was scheduled to arrive.
Her brother, the hero of the evening, made it disappear around the back of the house just as her date was pulling in the driveway,
What was that about the peace and quiet of the countryside?

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