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  • Writer's pictureM. Virginia Southworth

Some Days are Stone..........

Today was one of those days. We awoke just before six to the sound of a car horn beeping. My husband Jim is in charge of the roads for this rural town. It was thought that there was a deer in the road. It was still very dark out and it is the season where deer are abundant.

My son James ran down the road, but he could not see much. The fire truck had arrived and soon there were two sheriff cars on the scene. James came back to get ready for school. Jim hurried down to see what the commotion was.

I made James some coffee and saw that he got on the bus. The bus driver picked him up, but he had to turn around in the barn driveway as the road was closed. Before he left, he told me that one of the horses had gotten out.

I watched the bus which made a detour back on to Route 8 and then it came up Cemetery Road. James would see what had happened.

I could see a blare of red and blue flashing lights. My heart was in my throat. All I could do was wait. I am not very good in these situations.

So, I got the fire started in the woodstove. It has gotten down to the 20’s this past week.

Jim has two beautiful Suffolk horses. These are his dream horses – his everything. They are a rare breed from the County of Suffolk in East Anglia, England. These horses are also known as Suffolk Punch or Suffolk Sorrel horses. They are heavy draught horses always chestnut in color. The name ‘Punch’ comes from an old English word for a short, stout person. They are good workers, and their gait is energetic.

Jim got “Maye” and “Belle” six years ago from a farm in Essex, New York. They were yearlings when they came here. They share the same paternity. They were mischievous at first, always trying to get out. There was another horse here at the time, but May and Belle gave him a hard time. Eventually, the other one had to be moved to my brother-in-law's corral down the road.

Maye and Belle were two inseparable sisters now. Jim and James would feed them, clean the barn and otherwise take good care of them. I enjoyed watching them out the window as I washed the dishes. Mostly, I was happy to see Jim fulfill one of his dreams of having them. He was considering doing more with them when he retires.

I looked out the large kitchen window. My brother-in-law George had come to get the tractor. This was not a good sign.

A neighbor called offering to help Jim dig a hole. While well-meaning, it seemed a bit premature.

This was when Belle was still conscious. Jim went to get his gun. Thankfully, God spared him use of that as Belle died just then, with her head in Jim’s arms.

I watched Maye. Poor thing knows something is not right.

Jim came in shortly after. He was trying to hold it together. My heart ached for him.

He went back out to check on Maye, and to feed Budwell, the rabbit. He checked the fencing. Everything was intact. Maye must have jumped over the fence. Perhaps she was startled. The cars zip up and down Mapledale Road. If it was not bad enough for one car to strike Belle driving one way, another car struck her again going the opposite direction.

I got ready to go to church because you know, some days are stone........

Belle keeping Jim company

Jim burying Belle

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