Friday, November 30, 2007

Real men grow up on farms

My friend Lauren, in Nashville, recently endured the horrible experience of having one of her horses die on her in the pasture Tuesday afternoon. It was terribly unexpected (he was young, healthy, and talented), although he had impaction colicked several days before. He recovered from the minor bout with colic just fine, but as we all know with horses: anything imaginable can happen with/to them in the blink of an eye. In her struggle to deal with the death of her horse, she decided to transport him to the state lab in Nashville for a necropsy. She doesn't have a tractor, horse trailer, flat bed trailer, or a she was at the mercy of friends and neighbors who were willing to help out.

She wrote this message (below) to a group of us yesterday morning, recounting her ordeal over the past day or so, and it brought tears to my eyes. She told us that she actually laughed later when she thought of a bumper sticker she used to have that read: "I'm raising my kids to be cowboys." She said she'd like to get a new one that says: "I'm raising my kids to be farmboys."

"Ever try to find heavy equipment at 7:30 in the night when there are no farms nearby? We made phone calls for hours last night, and I made phone calls for hours this morning. I was a step away from calling U-Haul. We finally secured a trailer, to be rented from the Co-op, and the BM called her old boarding barn, and begged her to bring a tractor out- she was happy to do it, but it would cost us a pretty penny to have her haul the tractor on the trailer out there. We borrowed a truck from my roommate (hitch in place, no ball), a ball and an electrical adapter from one of my friend's students (she teaches high school agriculture and she was actually the person who was leasing Leo from me and prepping him for competitions in 2008). We were ready to do it. Four women, three of which were overly emotional to begin with.

Back-up to my friend, who teaches high school agriculture.
About 11am, I get a call from my friend- "Cancel everything, I have a truck, trailer and tractor, meet me in half an hour." What?!! I hop in the car and head towards the barn, I get there and find three high school senior boys, their big ol' farm truck with flatbed trailer and bobcat on board. The boys found out what happened to their teacher's horse, called their parents to get them out of school, packed up their equipment, teacher in tow, and came out to the barn, half an hour away. They took a look at the horse, sent us in the barn, and with the dignity he deserved, loaded Leo into the flatbed, covered him carefully and brought him down the the lab for us (another half hour south). They handled everything at the lab, we never had to see anything we didn't want to witness. They were polite, please and thank you, very genuine in their concern (they didn't use chains, they found straps, closed his eyes and mouth the best they could, laid him very gently and carefully down), apologetic for the whole situation and fixed up some other things they "happened to notice needed fixing" at the barn for us.

They very grudgingly let us buy them lunch and ADAMANTLY refused any other sort of payment, "No ma'am, it's the least we could do. We're very sorry."
On top of that, one of my friends called and offered to pay any vet bills we couldn't pay because "I live with my parents and have some extra cash laying around; you're on your own and I know things are tight." I can't even tell you how many times I've cried out of sheer gratitude today. People are truly amazing."

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