by Carole Cloudwalker
You’ve probably heard the saying, “I would lose my own head if it wasn’t attached.”
Well, I lost something that once was attached (but not to me), and I really want it back.
So does my dog, Sadie the basset hound.
Yes, it’s true.
Sadie likes to chew and worry bones, rawhide chewies, clothing and the occasional slipper, if it’s made of the right material. She prefers leather. She’s an all-natural, organic freak sort of a dog.
Therefore when the shoer arrived to trim up the horses, I thought of Sadie while I watched those little gray half-moons of hoof trimming drop to the ground under each hoof.
“I must get one of those for the dog,” I told the shoer.
My renter, who was helping with all the hard work, handed me a choice trimming.
“Sadie will love this one,” he said, and I agreed.
And so she would have.
But the hoof trimming went missing somewhere between the corral and my house.
This is not really a tragedy, since there are plenty more down by the corral, and Sadie does have chewing alternatives. My slippers, say.
The problem is, I know I put that chunk of horse hoof in a pocket, but now I can’t remember which pocket. Or even which jacket.
Being a worrier, I began to fret about worst-case scenarios such as where the hoof bit might show up, unwanted:
• At a church funeral, which sadly there have been several of lately.
I could just picture the disapproval and possible fainting spells that little snippet of my mare’s foot could trigger if I dropped it amid the pews. Especially among town folks. Even in Wyoming, some people faint at the very thought of animal by-products like that.
For example, I used to have a city-girl Wapiti neighbor who hated the thought of a horse pasture right outside her dining room window.
“What if the horses have to go to the bathroom?” she asked me, barely managing to keep from gagging. “We would see it.”
“They don’t go to a ‘bathroom,’” I explained. “They just go outdoors.”
“Ah, ugh,” she said, retching as I spoke the words she really didn’t want to hear.
She made her husband sell their horses and move away from the valley in less than six months. Good riddance, I say. Town people pay good money for all that fertilizer she was getting for free.
• In a county commission meeting.
Not because of the commissioners themselves, since most of them are ranchers, farmers or come from rural backgrounds. But the audience often does not.
I can almost hear faint-hearted women screaming, “Ewww, what’s that?” as the hoof trimming falls to the county’s green and cream colored carpet.
• In a restaurant.
If Julia Child could drop a chicken on the floor and, while TV cameras whirred, scoop it up, wash it off and continue cooking it, who knows what terrible results could occur with that bit of hoof in an eatery?
It could get topped with whipped cream and served for somebody’s dessert. It could be added to the soup pot. It could even become a Blue Plate Special. (It’s my turn to say “Ewww.”)
• In a neighbor’s new house.
Yes, some house-proud neighbor might invite me for tea (it could happen, though it’s not too likely) and just as she was pouring from her silver tea service, whoops, out pops the purloined piece of hoof from my pocket, right onto her new carpet.
She would be sure to notice that the hoof chunk came complete with a bit of “mud.”
Only it wasn’t really mud. It was far worse. See bullet item one about my city-girl neighbor above, and use your imagination,
I fear this Western souvenir would not sit well in some of these instances.
Originally Published in The Cody Enterprise. January 20, 2010.