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Passin' by the kitchen window a bit ago, I caught sight of Trapper and Pride talkin' horse speak amongst the falling down fences that surround 'em. You know how they do....snort until the breath is visible and prance around like they're dancing. These two are possibly the luckiest two horses alive today. They have the run of huge pastures with nobody naggin' them with a saddle and bridle. Occasionally when they're REALLY bored, they'll find a hole in the barbed wire and make a run for it. Freedom consists of the field across the road and watching us try to run 'em back in. They snort a lot when we're doing that...and my Daddy hits the fencerows right then lookin' for the escape hatch. Everybody knows they only stay here cuz they like it.
Them two horses can hear Daddy's truck leaving the driveway a mile away and they damn sure know that sweet feed is soon to follow.

Fifteen years ago, I returned to my homeplace.....a sprawling 1100 acre farm bordered by the Forked Deere river. I figured it would be a magical place to raise my Babygirl and I was right. Now 20 she has oodles of tales to remember and tell about country life and critters and the freedom of not being fenced in by other houses. Only other house on the dead end road is inhabited by her boyfriend....how sweet is THAT?

Not too long after we moved here, one of the horses got the bellyache like they do when they eat too much green stuff in spring. Rolled alllll around that pasture in pain and was bloated to boot. Time for the vet? Nah. Daddy called old Martin Ware to come do the horse doctorin'. Martin was a 90+ year old black man who had lived for years in our rural paradise in an old school bus on the main road. A renowned horse trainer/doctor/whisperer he loved nothing better than pulling out his secret "Nevah' mind" to do his magic with a sick horse.

The day he showed up I was home alone and he needed some help. I trekked out to the ancient barn with him and waded through the horse crap to where he was calling Trapper closer. Martin had the magic in a paper bag hanging out of his coat pocket. His hat was stuffed down over his old head as he peered through his glasses at the hoss. "You got any matches, Missy?" Back to the house for me to find some fire.

Shortly he poured something flammable ( kerosene maybe? ) over one hoof and lit the stuff while he held Trapper's leg at the joint. "Ha...Heeee". Now Trapper's an ornery horse, but he never moved while this fire was burnin' on his upturned hoof. When the flame on that one was out, we repeated the process with the other one.

Next was the "Nevah' mind." Martin pulled the ragged paper bag out of his pocket and extracted the contents. Looked like alum to me. And some sugar.....but never mind. This was HIS magic show. He mixed carefully measured amounts of each ingredient and fed Trapper the concoction from his open palm. And then, he left.

My very-busy-with-real-life-self scurried back to the house to continue with what, I can't exactly remember. Wasn't important, I'm sure. The horse continued to roll in pain and whinny for another 24 hours and then abruptly, it stopped.

I saw ole Martin now and then after that....at the store sometimes or out and about. He died after close to a century here on earth travelling all over the country by horse doin' his thang.
Somehow I believe that the secret to that long happy life was "never mind".

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