Monday, February 14, 2011

New Friends, Old Memories

2002 (*sigh*...)

"How old were you when you started taking care of Taco?"


"Oh God.. let's see.. eleven.  I'm now twenty."


I finally went out to lunch with Taco's owner and his wife.  The whole thing materialized quickly over this weekend - I simply did not want to let any more time go by, so I called them up and said "let's go out!".  We enjoyed a few hours together at a local Panera Bread restaurant.

I had only met his owner a few times before, and I'd never met his wife.  Yet, because of all of the corresponding that we had done over the phone, it was like going out with old friends.  No awkwardness whatsoever.

They did share a few gems of information with me.. some of it I knew already and just was further clarified:

- They bought Taco in '77, when their daughter was 12, from a man in Brooklyn who rode like a cowboy.  The self-appointed cowboy used to make Taco rear up and all kinds of crazy stuff.  He was supposedly 3 years old then, which would have made him 33 or 34 when he died (I think he was older than that - something seems wrong about those numbers, but who knows).

- The first time their daughter took Taco out on the trails, he immediately went running down them.

- They used to walk him up the road to church, where the church kids would fuss over him.  This just boggled my mind; picturing a time when my horse was so young and the roads were so quiet is almost too hard to do.  They had to stop doing this when the church started worrying about liability issues.

- His daughter entered him in a show at the stable where Taco was boarded (the place I took care of him at for 6 years).  But, because he always was turned out in the arena that they used for the show, he took off running as soon as he entered the gate, which embarrassed her (she had a friend with a fancy show horse, and here was Taco, acting like a goof.. sounds just like the horse I knew).

- He hated water to the point that he could be trotting along and would literally side-step to get away from a puddle (again, sounds a hell of a lot like the Taco I knew!).

- They once let their other, younger daughter ride him, but he took off running as soon as she got on his back (seeing a theme here?).

- Their daughter used to jump him.  But, he had a bad front leg, and it often needed to be wrapped and liniment applied.

- Their daughter stopped riding him around 1992, which left a full decade between then and the time I started taking care of him.

They were shocked when I told them I had never even sat on his back.  After hearing these stories, though, I'm not so sure I would have wanted to!

I showed them the photo album I had of all of the pictures that I took of him, and they said they have some at home that they need to show me.  (They've been saying this for years, but maybe now that I actually saw them in person, that'll get the ball rolling.)

The things I forgot to ask about were where his name came from and whether or not they knew what breed he was.

My hope is to go to lunch with them again sometime.  I don't think there's any way to accurately express how much I miss that horse... so just clinging on to those little memories means a whole lot to me.

18 comments:

ForPetsSake February 15, 2011 at 12:38 AM  

I'm sorry you miss him. Lost kiddos leave such holes in our hearts. He sounds like a special boy - one who was loved and cared for dearly.

giantspeckledchihuahua February 15, 2011 at 2:51 AM  

I bet those people loved reminiscing, with you! It must have been fun for you, too, to learn more about your old friend.

It's amazing, that after being cowboyed and manhandled that taco was so huggable and lovable!

Cyndi and Stumpy

PoochesForPeace February 15, 2011 at 3:38 AM  

im glad you got to meet up with them. sounds like it went well!

Priscilla February 15, 2011 at 5:50 AM  

Thanks for sharing it with us.
I missed Hana a lot yesterday and I couldn't help but poured out what I thought and felt about her in my blog on Valentine's Day. I always feel that it's alright to miss our angel pets and it's actually healthy that we still remember them vividly. It's hard to lose them but we're so lucky that they once lived with us.

Ricky the Sheltie February 15, 2011 at 9:24 AM  

So glad you finally made lunch with Taco's owners a reality! How neat to hear some more things about his life - he was a character, that's for sure! Hope you get to continue your meetings with them and get to see their pictures too!

Corbin February 15, 2011 at 10:24 AM  

When a special horse touches your heart, they never leave. You'll always love and miss him, but at least you have wonderful memories. I sure do hope they show you pictures of his early days!
-Corbin's mom, Jenn

Kari in WeHo February 15, 2011 at 10:54 AM  

I am so glad you finally got to sit down and talk with them!

Kari
http://dogisgodinreverse.com/

Anna the GSD February 15, 2011 at 11:29 AM  

I'm so glad you had a great meeting with them! Swapping great memories and making new ones. I think Taco would like that. Amazing how many lives he touched!

Benny and Lily February 15, 2011 at 2:59 PM  

memories are the best
Benny & Lily

Kathy February 15, 2011 at 6:44 PM  

OOOh what a wonderful thing to be able to share your happiness and sorrow about Taco, but mostly remember and celebrate his life with his owners-people who knew him too and had feelings for him-what a rare and wonderful opportuntity. Taco was a very lucky horse to be truly loved.

Diana February 15, 2011 at 7:13 PM  

Thats so nice that you guys finally got together. Maybe help you be more at peace with how things went. I hope you do get to see the pictures.

Khyra And Sometimes Her Mom February 15, 2011 at 7:37 PM  

I bet the lack of awkward moments made it so right - and how it was supposed to be -

Thanks for sharing it with us!

I'll be looking forward to more Taco times!

Kristine February 15, 2011 at 9:43 PM  

The loss of a much loved animal never gets easier, does it? I am so glad for you that you are in touch with others who loved Taco as you did. Reflecting on old memories helps more than anything. Especially with those who understand.

KB February 15, 2011 at 9:43 PM  

It's wonderful that you finally had lunch with Taco's owners and learned so many little gems about him. I bet that they're tickled that you have such love for Taco. I hope that you get to see their photos someday.

Never Say Never Greyhounds February 15, 2011 at 9:55 PM  

Sounds like he was much loved. Love his cute name.

Sue February 16, 2011 at 2:07 PM  

I'm so glad you had the chance to get together and trade stories. Did it make you feel better?

mayziegal February 16, 2011 at 5:00 PM  

MayzieMom here. Oh, Sam, I'm so happy you got to sit down and talk with them. I'm sure it means the world to them to know that Taco was so loved by you. And I know it helped you to learn more about him and share memories. I hope you get to see those pictures soon.

Sam February 16, 2011 at 10:45 PM  

Sue - I don't know if "better" is the right word, but meeting with them did send me on a whole whirlwind of emotions. To my surprise, I really felt a lot of excitement while talking to them.. kind of an eagerness to uncover new information. I'll admit one thing - it was nice for a change to reminisce about Taco with a smile on my face rather than a frown. Still, the hole in my heart is gaping and I think it always will be. The sadness flooded back for a while on my drive home, as I drove down the roads that I so frequently associated with going to see him.

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