There once was a young gal on the County Island who had a different and kinda imaginary way of seein the world laid before her. It wasn’t a spooky way, like how an Ayrab-horse all sugared up on grain, alfalfa and a snappin halter shank sees a bug-eyed world of horse-eatin monsters behind every barn. It was more like a gentle world, where anythin could be anythin else it wanted to be, which is both ridiculous and also somewhat sweet, if y’all will forgive me for showin some sweetness and softness beneath my business ranch-horse side.
We was headed out for a short ‘n sweet pointless pleasure ride when the gal came walkin by with her own people-dam, though she appeared to be long past the weanin age, even for people. And she asked the bucket gal if we aimed to join the “parade.” It was a new people-word to me. It also had a li’l bit of a prancey sound to it, to my own horse-ears. I needed to know if I’d be made to prance, and what else paradin might entail. Seemed to be a new word to the bucket gal, too, ‘cause she repeated it back to the young gal with the big imagination in the form of a question. “Pa…rade?”
“You know…” the gal replied as if we certainly did know, “the elephant parade!”
There was a pause durin which seemed like both me and the bucket gal was tryin to translate it into some sense. And so the gal went on, pointin at me, directly, “He’s an elephant! And you guys have parades with them all the time, but usually on Sunday mornings, with the most elephants, and sometimes the parade queens wave at people going by. Are you joining the elephant parade today?”
“Oooohhh… Well. No, not today!” the bucket gal said, like she’d made more sense of it than me. “Today there’s only one elephant.” And she patted my neck. My ears might’ve flicked back and forth. “But I think we’re having a parade again this weekend.” We was? I’d heard we was trail ridin again, and with some of our good buddies, but we was paradin, too? And how much extra time was paradin gonna take before I could get back to my breakfast after trail ridin?
Original Coors had by then wandered over to the gate by which we all stood, in case there was a chance for him to be told what a purty horse he was. “Aww, the donkey wants to come, too!” the gal said.
The snort came out louder than intended so I covered it with a quick cough and tiny head-toss. Sorry — bug up my nose.
“.. but donkeys can’t parade with elephants,” she went on by way of explanation. Original Coors stopped in the middle of stickin his head through the fence to get his face petted, and glared at me. I gave a him a look back that said loud and clear, hey buddy, it ain’t my fault donkeys can’t parade with elephants. I don’t make the rules.
Suffice to say, we didn’t have Coors Light livin here with us in our own li’l horse corral yet when all this elephant donkey parade talk took place, so I can’t say with certainty whether he’d fall in line more with the elephant string or the donkey string, but as y’all can likely imagine, I got some thoughts on the subject.
Come the weekend, there was indeed a fine County Island elephant parade — which turns out is exactly like a group trail ride. And our parade queen rides did indeed wave and say howdy and good mornin to some of the people passin by watchin the elephant parade. It was a whole new way for a horse to see the world around him.
If a County Island horse has got to pretend to be a made-up elephant, he should still be the best made-up elephant he can be, and partake in his elephant parade with pride in knowin he’s helpin make a young gal with a big imagination happy. Even a donkey like Original Coors has got a real important part to play in makin people happy. It always come back around to happy horses make happy people, and happy people make happy horses. Now I know happy elephants and donkeys that maybe ain’t quite happy about it, but is still willin to play along, make people happy, too.
And it appears elephants still get fed buckets, too, for which this old elephant remains entirely grateful.
Some County Island people went so far as to make up a pretend picture of a pretend elephant here! Ain’t that somethin? And it seems like they truly do call their groups of made-up, imaginary elephants a parade, so it further seems our young gal was maybe on to more than an old horse ranch might ever guess with her big imagination.