“Sunshine”

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Delbert H. Rhodes

Toby sits high in the saddle as he rides the range. The Triple T Ranch has been in his family for three generations and he absolutely loves it. All of it. His Dad, Matt, is aging but ropes as good as he ever did, Granddad, although retired, remains agile and strong. He keeps the books, oversees everything. Marlene, Toby’s wife, runs the home and family, that’s right, the entire McTiernen Clan. In some ways, this lady is the Boss’s Boss. She is a big help to Granddad, assisting with the books and all matters of Finance.

Yep, ranching is the second love of Toby’s life, he’s a true Cowboy, and his first love, his family. Learning the business from the ground up, one day, as does his Dad, Dane would run The Tripe T.

While surveying the North Forty, something spurs the Boss’s breeches. A beautiful Chestnut grazes in the far meadow. The horse seems to brighten the sky, its coat shines like sunshine. “Let’s go boy,” he moves in for a closer look.

The meadow, a part of his lands, Toby wonders where this animal comes from and who owns it; or possibly, the horse is wild, a rogue. Careful not to spook him, the Cowboy watches from a distance; wow, what a beauty, “I gotta get closer,” and so he dismounts and approaches on foot. Lifting its head, sniffing, the animal wants nothing to do with the intruder. It runs. “Ok, fella, tomorrow’s another day.”

Back at the ranch, dinner conversation is filled by the usual talk; except, Toby’s story is new. None of the men knows of the Stallion, he is new to the range. Chris mentions that a cowboy from the Bar X once spoke of a strange horse, “Yours matches the description.” “Let’s get a better look tomorrow,” says Chris. Bright and early, the dust flies as the men ride out to the meadow. No sign of the Stallion. The sun is high, it’s about noon, and the men wait, spit a lot and then finally, the horse strides into view.

Strategically placed, the boys circle the animal, no luck, the creature is smart, too smart. It rears, stepping and stomping on its hind legs, loudly protesting; the meadow becomes a grassland of turmoil. With glaring eyes and vocal roars, the animal refuses captivity, and then it does something that nobody has ever seen a horse do, backing off, the animal seems crazy, running the circle at high speeds, too fast for anyone to get a rope on it, fearlessly charging the group, the big horse leaps into the air. Stretching like a Phoenix rising from fire, the beast flies above the men, breaks free and then high tails it.

The men are left with blank faces, they cannot believe what just happened. “What do we do now, Boss?” “Well, “no use chasing him, we’ll see him again, later.” “Tomorrow’s another day.”

On the ride back to the ranch the men feel kinda silly, that one horse could outsmart these Cowboys, well, the whole thing is a little embarrassing. (Some say the rogue sprayed piss as it flew over them. We’ll never know, for sure.) It’s not the sorta thing to brag about. The boys can’t wait to get back at that devil, except the Boss has another idea.

This time Toby tackles the Stallion without help, without the men. This time he is ready for a fight and cunning is his only weapon. “That beast thinks he is better than I am, well, he’s wrong.” While guzzling from his canteen, the Cowboy hears hooves pounding the earth; Toby glances to his left side. Well, now, the Chestnut seems to have come home. Rearing, the proud horse displays confidence, ownership, it seems to stake its claim here. “You like this place, don’t you.” “I knew you would come back. You like the grass, and the sparkling water in the nearby stream.” -“My grass, my stream.”

The Boss fetches some water in a large basin, he also adds a healthy patch of grass, to go with it. “I’m gonna make friends with that animal, one way or another.” Not far away, the powerful beast eats without worry. Strange that it seems to own the meadow, even stranger, Toby admires this animal.

“You’re smart, and if I’m gonna win this one, I gotta outsmart you.” Giving lots of slack to the big boy, Toby quietly speaks from a short distance, about twenty yards. Close enough for now. With ears high, eyes wide, it pauses while gazing at him, heck, the darned thing seems to offer a challenge. It snorts once or twice and then looks away, and without turning its head, the power of its stare torments Toby. Then suddenly, casually, lowering his head, the horse resumes grazing. (“Yeah, I know you’re laughing at me.”)

Toby eases closer, but slowly the animal moves away, creating more distance between them. “Smart Ass.” The Cowboy realizes what he’s up against and refuses to let the Stallion win. After all, who is boss, here. “Come here, boy, I have something for you, don’t you want it?” The horse pauses, staring at Toby’s outstretched hand. Cautiously, stepping closer, the Chestnut quickly darts off.

“Ok, boy, I know, you don’t trust me.” Toby lays the clump of grass down and then steps away, far enough away, allowing the horse some room. The basin of water is laid another ten yards from the clump of grass. The Stallion waits, sniffs, snorts and then sniffs some more. Suddenly like a freight train, the horse rears, roars and then runs. “Where’re you going?” “Come back here, damned horse!”

After three weeks, still no luck, the Cowboy is about done. A rainy day and Toby rides out to the meadow, he hopes to see the Stallion. Luck is with him, the great horse grazes a stone throw away. Something isn’t right, its left hoof, the animal limps a little. For sure, a rock is caught between its pads. Calling out, “What’s the matter, boy?” “Something in your hoof?”

The Chestnut snorts, but seems to acknowledge what the Cowboy just said to it. Cautiously moving closer, Toby encourages the horse to trust him. “Let me take a look at that, maybe I can help you, boy.” Snorting, backing away, the horse obviously distrusts him, yet seems to stay just close enough. “Come on, now, I just want to help you, fella.”

For a while, Toby backs off, he simply waits, while staring at the Chestnut. Cocking its head, the injured animal whinnies and then lifts the affected hoof. Slightly applying weight to it the Stallion limps about but stays close by; the horse seems to ask for help even though it distrusts the man.

“Come here, boy, come on, now.” Moving closer, Toby stands only two feet away from the injured animal, it grunts, sniffs, snorts, but stays. Reaching out his hand, the Cowboy offers the Stallion a carrot. It stares and then extends its neck, sniffing, a slight grumble of uncertainty, slowly, the horse limps closer; then finally, it accepts the food. “That’s it… good boy.”

With a gentleness that maybe is uncommon to his hands, Toby strokes its snout, and as the Stallion softly whinnies, the stone is carefully removed, followed by a cool refreshing wash.

The Chestnut walks about testing its leg, sensing its hoof, then like lightning, the big horse sprints across the fields; but, doesn’t run away. Stopping, it stares over its shoulder at the Cowboy, then showing trust, the horse returns to him. Nuzzling closely, vocally, the animal thanks the man. “Ok, boy, I know, you’re welcome.” Suddenly, something wets Toby’s palm.

Tonight, a happy Cowboy shares a wonderful tale with his men, and somehow, from his stall in the barn, “Sunshine” hears it. With ears high, eyes big, the Chestnut repeatedly rocks its head, as though agreeing, supporting the Boss’s words. (Well bunch my breeches.)

Typically, the accounts in the North Forty are properly and eloquently documented; and unknown to his men, the Boss also pens a poem. Three weeks later, The Triple T receives mail by Pony Express. “A publishing house in Tucson put the poem on some fancy paper, and then put it inside a handsome picture frame.”

On a wall in Toby’s Den, Sunshine sheds a little more light:

The Stone

Eyes untrusting
Sensing the wind
Takes two steps closer
Then backwards again

Favoring one leg
Displaying a need
“Come on boy.”
He ponders my plead

Cautiously scanning
Ears standing tall
Artfully limping
Preventing a fall

Slowly advancing
Distrusting of me
A breathtaking beauty
Something to see

Finally there
A few feet away
Dare not speak loudly
He dares to stay

Near him I step
Nervous, he stood
Sniffing for bad air
Smelling the good

Verbally stroking
I gave him a name
Grunting and snorting
To me he came

Freeing the stone
The meadow he ran
Nuzzling closely,
A tear… in my hand

Copyright © 2003-2015 Delbert. H. Rhodes

The Wonder of It

English: Electron microscope image of sperm.

By Delbert H. Rhodes

My eyes open, it is something after four in the morning; somehow, I feel the bathroom listening to my stirs, and mentally I call out, “I will be there soon.” The radio’s voice  pours into my ears, it is too loud; it is strange how the volume operates independently of my preset levels. I must reduce the volume, though my desire to remain still makes turning in bed difficult.

Quietly, the soothing tones of classical melodies drift me away. I love and enjoy listening to delicate musical manuscripts, and this I could do all day. Even so waking instills responsibilities, thus, the day begins and it matters not of the time.

The constant ringing in my ears disturbs the pleasantry of the music; I wish that I could rid the noise in my head. For many years this malady has held me. In my youth, I sought a specialist for help, and he said, “Maybe we will take something out.” After my second visit to his office, the specialist left for vacation.

I wonder about people whom listen to loud audio; what occurs inside their brains? Whatever it is, doubtless, it is different from my own. Strange, people who prefer LOUD seem to act without consideration of loss of hearing, and by ignoring other people.

I am happy to note that some people actually learn. While sitting outside in his vehicle, a young man awaited my neighbor. The man’s car radio volume was extremely loud. Fanciful as it may seem, the noise could have interrupted orbiting stars. Simultaneously, my neighbor, and her Mom walked outside and  quickly, Mom indicated displeasure to the loud noise. Immediately, the person turned the volume down. Now, each time he returns to the property, his music cannot be heard.

Some people fail to learn. About two weeks ago, the neighbor in the house next door, that house is also owned by my property owner, played his music even louder than did the previous person. Taking out the garbage, I strolled over to see whether the music came from indoors, or outdoors. While cleaning his cars, the neighbor wore earplugs while listening to his very loud music. Are You Kidding!

That is correct; he protected is ears from his severely disturbing music, while the melodies pelted and melted  the neighborhood and me. After a brief encounter, the person immediately turned the volume down. Well, within less than one week, it was…I’M BACK! Would it be disrespectful of me to pray for a HAUNTING!

The morning sky is dark; the forecast is rain and snow; maybe the snow would find somewhere else to fall. A pleasurable thought. I am not a winter activist; therefore, for what needs have I of snow, or winter. Already, the city feels the impending storm; heavy rain falls on the stonework of NYC and Long Island.

Outside: the wind howls loudly; seemingly, its ferocity swells inside my bedroom. Rhythmically, water-logged trees and vegetation flex swashing back and forth. What must life be as a plant, a tree, a flower, and anything subject to nature’s wrath? Unlike trees and other vegetation, most-times man demonstrates capabilities to protect himself from inclement weather. Romantically speaking, the dichotomies in nature may be similar to those of (some) women, they are beautiful, but at times caustic.

A neighbor’s dog barks; lately it seems to crave attention. Alternatively, perhaps it sees a rabbit or squirrel scampering about. Often, barking dogs are alerting to intruders; but many times, barking minimizes and negates the focus of intended alerts. Here, unwanted and intrusive barking has zero affects against possible intrusions. Owners quickly quiet their pets; frustrated neighbors disdain the unwanted noises, and especially during hours of sleep.

Remember: dogs are protectors, not playthings, and deserve all provisions of dignity. All too often, and unfortunately, plaything is the order of the day; as a result, properties could fall prey to predation.

My feathered friends add voice to the day; mornings are never the same without the trill of birdsong. Occasionally, I have the pleasure of enjoying the songs of Nightbirds. Dearly, I love birdsong, for if I did not, then surely, other unwanted insufferable noises (would) intrude upon my world. Fortunately, this is not the case.

Last night on the News, I learned that Valerie Harper, AKA, Rhoda, has brain cancer. Why is it that some people inherently borne certain diseases, while others do not? High blood pressure and Diabetes populate my family. Most, if not all, of my mother’s paternal line, (the old ones) have perished because of Diabetes, or some form of cancer.

My Mom and I suffer with high blood pressure, albeit neither her children nor she suffers with Diabetes. Well, no one lives forever; the great misfortune is, and for some, ‘forever’ is a short-term.

The bedside lamp has an interesting configuration; it appears as a sperm cell. The head of the lamp imitates the head of a sperm cell. The lamp’s body is thin and long, similar to that of a sperm cell’s tail. One cannot help, but wonder whether suggestive shapes overrun the minds of crafters. Bottles of perfumes and colognes are curvaceous, sensual, and pleasing to the eyes. Previously observed is one company whose name commingles letters colloquially to misspell the act of making love.

Somehow, absent are considerations of impropriety whenever concerning some products. Are not children and minors moving about in the public, and do they never view T.V. or videos? Whose responsibility is it; I wonder, to protect children and minors from influences, which fall into the void of IMPROPER, the commercial industry, stores, or parents?

Some products clearly are sexual in design, or use sex as the primary tool of selling. Cars, furniture, perfumes, colognes, exercise equipment, name it, and probably, sexual innuendos or directed sexual interfaces share and sell the products. Victoria’s Secret certainly is highly marketed; do children and minors see those commercials? What is ‘your’ answer?

With and without parental peeping could the Internet and technologies including television, videos, and music render children and minors less innocent? I Wonder.

About four years ago, a long-term ex-girlfriend, regarding a Post I made to a social network, publicly attacked me. The Post was an excerpt from a short story of mine, whose main character, a female, is a pole dancer. In the script, the dancer describes her first time dance experiences in detail. The language though not acutely graphic, is suggestive.

The ex-girlfriend indicated that her “girls” had received the Post, and this fact disturbed her. I responded by requesting the “girls” to remove me from their “Friend” list. This, the ex-girlfriend also complained about; she did not desire that I disconnect from her granddaughters. Well, eventually, I disconnected from the ex-girlfriend, permanently.

Now here is the skinny: I sent my Post only to individuals in my “Friend” list, and none was underage. My ex-girlfriend’s granddaughters, underage, were NOT in my “Friend” list, and I was not in theirs. Therefore, and though the EX accused me of “Sending” the Post to her “girls,” it was not I who sent the girls the Post, but my EX and her daughter, the girls’ mother.

Configuring the Page Preferences of my EX, her daughter, or anyone else whom might have had the “girls” in their “Friend” list, was not my responsibility. Apparently, and these assertions I gained while communicating with the ex-girlfriend, the EX was not well versed in the mechanics of controlling her page, and it was not my duty to inform her.

We must ever be mindful of not only the things that disturb us, or cause us rage; but of the facts surrounding our disturbances. Misdirected accusations and blame serve to only diminish the assertions they raise.

Staring out the window I am mindful of beauty, and though the day is bleak, overcast, and dreary it is no less beautiful. I think of the many things that afford me pleasures, and feel thankful for my blessings. Life is ever wonderful and it is ours for just a moment; the moment is as beautiful as we make it.

Beneath the umbrella of repetition, each morning my day begins the same, or so it seems; and I know at least one person who (fervently) complains of repetition, as witnessed in other people. Is any human afforded life or lifestyle without the syndrome? I say NO.

In my opinion, repetitiveness naturally occurs in human behaviors. We hear it speech, and observe it in the things we do as individuals or in groups and like it or not verbally iterations “reiterate.” Of course, if our speech or behaviors are too overt, then we suffer labels and then sometimes end in “A Better Place”; however, this place may not be better…indeed.

The rituals to which I commit each day relax me; they make me happy. Naturally, I commit only to things I like; the wonder of it is why I disfavor certain commitments. Answer: Seemingly, something occurred at my birth. (I must think more about this.)

Snow litters the morning sky; and since first observing them, the falling flakes increased in volume. Yes, I absolutely have zero needs of the stuff, yet if snow is pristine then it is lovely, and I enjoy its presence.

Today, I watch as snow whitens the world. Tomorrow, I prefer to see not one “floating flake.”

Copyright © 2013-2014 Delbert H. Rhodes