The day before New Year’s Eve. I was stuck in Birmingham rush hour. A ten-mile line of standstill traffic stretched before me. It looked like I wouldn’t be getting home until sometime around the next papal installation.
The Dodge truck beside me towed a gooseneck horse trailer. Inside was a white horse, staring at me from her open window, chewing a mouthful of alfalfa.
You might not care about this, but as a boy I was obsessed with horses. I grew up around horse people. I rode some; I wasn’t any good.
Even so, I was always thinking about horses, drawing pictures of quarterhorses in notebooks, reading novels like “National Velvet” and “My Friend Flicka.”
“The Black Stallion” was perhaps one of the greatest horse movies ever made.
All these memories came back to me while looking at that horse. She ate her dinner of legume hay, sniffing the Alabamian breeze, cheerfully watching the passing eighteen-wheelers, the UPS trucks, the public transit busses, the Porsches, and the giant SUVs which were roughly the size of rural school
And I fell in love with her right there.
The horse had other admirers in traffic, too. There were teenagers in the Nissan ahead of me, rolling down their windows to greet her.
“HEY, HORSEY!” they howled.
Soon, everyone in traffic was staring at these obnoxious teenagers who tried wildly to get the horse’s attention.
After watching the teenagers for a few minutes, I decided that I had never seen behavior so ridiculous and immature in all my life, and I wanted to be part of it.
So I cranked down my window and joined them.
And do you know what? No sooner had I rolled down my window than I discovered other adult motorists were doing the same thing I was doing.
An older man in a nice suit, driving a Land Rover Defender, was speaking to the horse.