How Great Thou Part

I am at the barn. The morning sun is just beginning to get intense. I untack Rhythm. He is the sweetest of horses. It is obvious he was more than well loved by his first owner and now equally as loved in his new home.

I walk him across the street to graze a bit. A few cars pass by and wave. I oblige and wave back. I think for a minute that it feels much like being on a boat. It’s a club of like minded people whose etiquette includes a wave to their fellow kind. The others like them.

I think back to a few minutes before. As I untack Rhythm I am with my mentor who spies someone coming our way. She, too waves her hand to signal ‘hello.’

She chuckles and says something about waving as her arm flies up in the air.

So this rule following Catholic girl waves as well.

“No, not you,” she chuckles again.

It seems she was laughing at her friend approaching while waving. And not, that in fact, she is asking me to wave to essentially a complete stranger as though I have known him all my life. Well, at least long enough to get excited that he is coming my way.

Can you blame me??

I am new (well, old and reintroduced) to this horsey club. I get a little carried away that I think I have found the ‘old Colleen’ here. The one that grew up yanking buttercups, jumping over logs, wading in creeks and riding bareback through the country outside metropolitan Washington, D.C. Never mind that I don’t remember exactly how to tack a horse or stay on one any longer.

I laugh at the thought of waving excitedly with my mentor at a complete stranger. In my defense, he was so nice that he paid no mind to me acting as happy to see him as she was.

I watch Rhythm graze.

My thoughts are interrupted as another car rolls by. It’s a service car this time. A pool truck. He waves.

A truck follows his and it too, is a service vehicle. This driver also waves.

It seems they speak this same rule following language that I do. It’s no matter that they are just passing through. A wave is expected in horse country.

I think back to a few weeks ago. I am in the inside ring. My mentor instructs me. I follow her instructions or so I think.

She starts to shake her head and laugh.

“You are the only person I have that takes me so literally,” she says. “You are such a rule follower!”

“Yes,” I know. “I blame Catholic school.”

She begins to laugh. I recognize that familiar response. I know that she too, is a Catholic school girl.

“It just never left me,” I say.

I seriously don’t know how it ever left any Catholic school kid. I never understood anyone who broke the rules. After all there was detention, the board of education and Sister Agnese to deal with. Who wouldn’t be scared?

So when they said line up. I lined up. When they said do your school work. I did my school work. When they said it was hot dog day, I said, “I love hot dogs.” When they said my skirt was too short, I said, “Of course it was.” When they said you are going to be an angel AGAIN in this year’s Christmas play, I said, “I love being an angel.”

I pull at Rhythm. It’s time to bring him back to his stall.

This time it is not a car that stops to wave, but rather a gracious and friendly woman who exits her trailer dragging, car to say, ‘hello.’

It’s no matter that she is just passing through. We speak the same language so she stops to chat and introduce herself.

All this time, I have been thinking that I have rediscovered that country girl inside of me again.

Only now I think I might have actually rediscovered that rule following, Catholic girl inside of me. After all, it’s a club of like minded people whose etiquette includes a wave to their fellow kind. The others like them.

The rule followers.

Rhythm the sweetest, most patient horse for even the rule following kind
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