When I woke up that morning, I didn’t know that a horse would rob me of my most prized possession, or that I wouldn’t have the nerve to report the crime.
For months, I’d been eyeing a outrageously beautiful scarf made by a Parisian fashion house. Outrageously expensive, too, of course. The pashmina scarf in the window of a boutique for weeks. One month, the price dropped. I watched as the price continued to drop over the next several weeks. Then I pounced. Armed with dollar bills from the household emergency fund and pocket change found during laundry.
And suddenly, there I was, wearing a new blue and silver pashmina shawl, one I was absolutely in love with.
Not being terribly fashion-forward, (actually, my sense of fashion has no direction) I had pinned quite a few diagrams on Pinterest on how to tie and wear a pashmina. Finally, I thought, I’ll really fit in with the swanky mom set. I’ll look like I know what I’m doing.
Ahem. Turns out…
Now, spring and summer here in north Georgia often bring intense storms. My little town sits on top of a huge run of granite, which attracts lightning strikes. The firefighters here stay busy during storm season. Add to that our enormous number of pine trees, which have shallow root systems and easily fall over in strong winds, and you have a recipe for frequent damage and blocked roads.
So I wasn’t entirely surprised when barreling down a busy road in my gold minivan (will that van ever stop sending me straight into the arms of danger?) I came up several horses wandering in the road. Two of them were normal horses, as defined by the horses I’d seen in The Magnificent Seven. But one, I knew immediately, was a Percheron. Charleston uses Percherons for carriage rides, so I’ve seen quite a few. Mainly from the rump. This other end, though, was magnificent.
Another horse was on the side of the road munching grass, one was halfway in the road, and the Percheron was sauntering across.
No one was stopping. Cars just dodged around them. To my right, I spotted a pasture fence that had been destroyed in the storm. A pine tree had fallen and smashed several posts, creating a horse-sized hole which the horses were clearly taking advantage of.
I whipped the van to the side of the road and leaped out. Scanning the house on the top of the hill at the top of the pasture, I couldn’t see any sign of cars or people.
No one was home.
I had to get these horses back inside their pasture before some idiot hit them. I had just come from the grocery store, so I grabbed a box of Cinnamon Chex, ripped it open, and ran toward the nearest horse, the beautiful Percheron. He was gorgeous beyond belief.
I offered the Chex to him like a supplicant at the feet of a Greek god. Yes, he really was that beautiful.
Turns out, horses don’t care much for Cinnamon Chex. I ran back to the hole in the fence and pantomimed climbing back into the pasture. I yelled at the horses like they were errant toddlers.
“You get in this pasture right now!”
“So help me, if you are not over here by the time I count to three….”
Turns out, horses don’t really care about being scolded by strangers. The van probably gave me an air of domesticity. They were not afraid.
Desperate now, I couldn’t believe my blessed fortune when a truck pulled off the road behind my van. A rough-looking fellow popped out, and by rough-looking, I mean a man who clearly understand the reality of the situation. He probably had never even been on Pinterest.
Scanning the road, he immediately sized up the problem. “I’ll go after them,” he called, pointing to the others that had wandered further down the road. “You get that one back in the pasture.” He was pointing to the Percheron.
“I can’t! I’ve tried!” I yelled back. What did I look like, an idiot? (Turns out…)
He glared at me, frowning. “Use your scarf.”
My pashmina! Of course! Why hadn’t I thought of that? Oh, that’s right, I’m an idiot.
I untied it, raised my hands, then paused. I started to call out to the man again but now he was out of earshot. What exactly was I supposed to do with a pashmina and a Percheron?
Thank goodness I had Pinterest pinned so many knot variations. Determined to redeem myself, I threw the pashmina over the horse’s neck, tying it off in a jaunty French bow at the side of his neck, letting the both ends of the scarf hang loose.
Suddenly the horse charged past me, off at a gallop down the road.
“Come back!” I yelled, but only half-heartedly, because the sight of his glorious black mane and that blue and silver pashmina blowing together in the wind as he ran…I was practically breathless with admiration.
“I have to say,” I murmured, “you wear it better.”
The horse galloped past the man, who turned to stare at it incredulously, then back at me.
Embarrassed by the triumph, I was about to tell him where I had learned how to tie a knot like that when he yelled at me. I mean, yelled. I will edit his words for the sake of clarity, and in case any children read this.
“What are you doing? I told you to use your scarf!”
“I did!” I protested.
“I meant, use it like a lead! A harness. A rope! Use it to guide the horse!”
Oh. Well, he might have said that in the beginning.
Moments later, two more people stopped, both of whom were horse lovers and owned nearby stables. Someone said the owners had traveled south to pick up a new horse. They’d be due back in the morning.
Together, the other folks rounded up the horses and got them safely back into the pasture. The angry man put me in charge of “supervising” from a distance, which I took to be a subtle apology and an admission that the scarf really did look that good.
They put the fence back together and checked it to make sure it would hold. The owners might not even notice the damage.
But the next morning, what would they think when their prized horse trotted out of the barn wearing an expensive designer pashmina, artfully tied at the neck?
I’ll never know.
I slipped back to my minivan, quiet as a mouse, and slid the van back onto the narrow country road. And I never saw my beloved scarf again…