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Galloping along the edges of heartbreak and memory

Opinion Column

Carlton Fletcher

Carlton Fletcher

All the long, lazy mornings In pastures of green, The sun on your withers, The wind in your mane, Could never prepare you For what lies ahead ... And it's run for the roses As fast as you can. Your fate is delivered Your moment's at hand ...

— Dan Fogelberg

I shed a tear for a horse ...

And for the little girl who loved him unconditionally, called him her best friend and won ribbons blue, red, white and yellow riding on his back; the girl whose blue eyes filled with wonder and whose world of possibilities expanded exponentially at first sight of him.

I shed a tear for a horse ...

For the long-in-the-tooth little guy who could still manage an impressive double back-kick if his twice-in-size-and-then-some equine brother tried to push him around; who would only reluctantly give up the last little bits of his share of the oats to the big bully, defiantly holding his ground — displaying his Napolean complex — until reality set in every single time and he figured those last few bits of grain weren't all that important and he'd been thinking about losing a few pounds anyway.

I shed a tear for a horse ...

And for the brave teenage big brother — a really really good kid on the brink of manhood, partly out of necessity, but a kid still — pushing down his own hurt for the gruesome task of shielding the little sister he adores from reality just a little bit longer, to keep the pain and hurt at bay — to prolong the innocence — for one more night.

I shed a tear for a horse ...

And for the loving mother so adept at turning an imperfect world into a fairyland that had room for horses for the improbable princess who gave her reason and purpose when the fates conspired to take it away; who shares that singleness of nature — that magical bond — that is the sole birthright of mothers and daughters.

I shed a tear for a horse ...

Who lived a lot of years, many of the last few on borrowed time; who had a knack for sneaking out of the pasture, finding and knocking over the right can — the one with the feed in it — and enjoying a leisurely dinner on the grounds before being rounded up; who never fussed even a little bit about being twinkled with fairy glitter, even if he was a boy; who was as proud as a horse could be of his Don King Afro; who always seemed to hold his own in competition, no matter how impressive the pedigree or the size of the other horses in the mix; who filled his little girl's life with as much fun and joy as a horse could bring; and who kept right on strutting around his happy world until his little heart gave out on him.

I shed a tear for a horse ...

I shed a tear for us all.

Email Carlton Fletcher at carlton.fletcher@albanyherald.com.