My friend, Rick, was born and raised in Harpswell, Maine. He started lobstering at the age of 10, when he’d ride down to his skiff with bait bags hanging off the handlebars.
After graduating from Mt. Ararat a few years ahead of me, he worked at Bath Iron Works for 16 years. Then he left to serve as caretaker for a large, Cundy’s Harbor property. He does everything there – maintaining the buildings and boats, harvesting timber, landscaping. On top of that, he runs a successful lobster business.
The last thing he thought he’d be doing was hugging horses.
Rick’s boss brought horses to the property some five years ago. I was called to help this non-horseman learn the basics of safe handling and management.
Rick was edgy around horses.
When they snorted, he jumped.
When they spooked, he spooked more.
When they got their hooves trimmed, he gagged at the smell. (He was, however, unfazed by the stench of bait.)
But talk about a Quick Study. It wasn’t long before Rick was on his own, managing all the challenges with intelligence and sensitivity. Not only did he master horse care, he came to love it.
With perhaps a coffee or beer in hand, Rick has come to spend many a quiet moment just hanging with the horses at the barn.
He called me the other day. He wanted me to know about the passing of Cupcake, a big, gentle Clydesdale-Thoroughbred cross.
A vet came. The owner attended. Rick told them he couldn’t be there for it. He paused before telling me, “I said to them, you wouldn’t want to see a grown man cry now would you?”
Hang in there, Rick. We know your pain.