Former columnist for the Los Angeles Post Examiner, the Baltimore Post Examiner, and Gatehouse News Service

Sunday, May 15, 2011

There's Always Room for Nello!

Well, my last post was all about slippers, so maybe I scared myself, because I went out and bought myself a horse!  Meet Nello!

Okay, so it went like this: I love horses, and I always have.  I rode as a kid; my parents lovingly leased me an Arabian mare named Joy; a journey in mis-matched horse/human love between a 12 year old girl and an unbroken (un-trained) Arabian that mainly consisted of me staring longingly over the fence at her as she galloped appealingly in the pasture.

My next effort was riding in exchange for stable chores when my first two boys were young; I rode a Thoroughbred named Fergie and was trained by the Iraqi Equestrian Olympian coach (her owner) as my two little boys stared at us from the fence. I came home smelly, exhausted, and happy. That ended when we moved out of state.  Good-bye, Fergie.

Next on the Deirdre-longs-for-horse-time tour: Last year,I leased a huge draft horse from a young Russian woman (the horse understood Russian perfectly, I kept saying "Da, Da" to him when he did something good) and was terrified the whole time I was aboard.  This horse was simply too big, (the tips of his ears hit the stable ceiling) and I spent all my time mentally composing my will and imagining my funeral as we "enjoyed" our rides in the woods.  I decided my life should not end in the woods of Western MA. Goodbye, comrade.

Now...to Nello.  I have been tired - mentally and physically.  I have been working hard at my job, running our house, and doing all that is involved in modern parenting - field trips, baseball/hockey games, making sure homework is done, providing good meals (ok, that last one is a stretch.)  One day I said to myself, I am going to go on the internet and look at horses for sale.  This is kind of like looking at bathing suits on line; are you really going to get that perfect fit?  Well, I ended up driving up to New Hampshire to look at a horse named Shadow - who once we met, was clearly not for me.  Shadow's owner scratched his head.  "I do have another horse maybe you'd like to take a look at - he's older, and hasn't been used for much worth a darn since I've had him, but he's a nice enough fellow - loves kids."  Well, that sounded like me!  (He even has a little arthritis; we have even more in common than I thought!)

So, I rode him for half an hour, and heaven opened up, and angels wept, and before I knew it I had my checkbook out and just bought this guy.  (He was at a bargain-basement price, mind you.) The whole way home I practiced explaining my new purchase to my husband in my rearview mirror.

I changed his name on the way back from picking him up; as he stood patiently in his trailer on the way to Massachusetts I decided to change his name from Kato (wasn't that the name of the guy who rented a room from OJ Simpson?) to Nello - a family name.  Nello was my grandfather Waldo's twin brother, who died in the early 1920's in his early twenties from an appendicitis attack, and left behind for generations to come a sketch of a horse he once did; family members say he loved to draw. Much else about him has remained unknown through the passage of time and his early passing.

So, it has happened; a childhood wish has come true.  In the right way, and at the right time, with (finally) the right horse.  Hallelujah, and God bless the man who sold him to me.

It's time to ride off into the sunset now...I'll be back to blog some more soon!

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