Thursday, April 11, 2013


He thought I’d shut the front gate. I thought he’d shut the front gate. Truth be told, the front gate was swinging open like an old man’s zipper at half-mast.

And I had just opened the barn gate, letting the horses romp off to the front pasture where the front gate flapped wide.

My husband looked at me stupefied as his foundation quarter horse, our Morgan posse horse, my Arabian mare, and the kid’s chubby Welsh pony thundered passed him.

“The front gate’s open. Are you nuts?”

He took off, trying to outrun the herd.

Now, I’m not saying my husband has lost a step or two over the years, but dang that man has lost a step or two.

Sherwood Zern used to be the human equivalent of a gazelle-panther-hawk. I remember watching him react to the crack of a softball bat like a hunting panther attacking, cover left field with the ground eating strides of a gazelle, sail through the air—horizontal to the ground like a hawk swooping—catch the softball in the gaping maw of his glove, hit the ground with a forward tumble and roll, and then catapult to his feet, holding the fly ball in triumph over his head—while talking trash about the opposing team.

That man could move.

As I watched him shuffle, skip, dogtrot to the front gate, I couldn’t help but get a little nostalgic and misty eyed. I sure did miss my husband’s ACL, the one that he pretty much snapped off in his right knee when he jumped a fence trying to help our neighbor catch his rampaging bull. That was the same knee that he’d dislocated while playing softball like a gazelle-panther-hawk, and he rounded second that one time, trying to stretch a double into a triple.

That time he wound up in outpatient knee surgery, got juiced up with sodium pentothal, and proceeded to demand that I do unspeakable things to him while in the recovery room.

That man had some brass.

But then I remembered that the horses were trying to make a break for the tasty grass along the front ditch next to the road.

“You’re never going to make it,” I shouted. “Wave your arms.”

I took off at a hopping, skip-walk to help out, but then I realized that trying to run only made me wet my pants. So I stopped.

I sure did/do miss my bladder control.

The arm waving worked. The herd skidded away to the tasty grass along the front fence and the gate was shut. But not without the sad and sobering reminder that our days of racing carefree and wild with the herd were over and that now our place was shuffling along as best we could at the rear of the pack, hoping that we’re not the first one to be picked off by wolves.


I take combat kickboxing at the gym where I practice kicking wolves in their snarly faces on a regular basis, and I can always start wearing Depends. What we’ve lost in speed we more than make up for in arm waving wisdom and sheer tenacious wolf punching meanness.  

Linda (Roundhouse to the Face) Zern   


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