By HARTLEY BARNES
Miss Limpie, my quarter horse on Valentine’s Day.
Limpie, I am speaking to you in secret. You understand why? You came into this world with one leg shorter than the other three. The family that owned you wanted to put you down. I learned about your situation from a friend. I persuaded the family to let me have you. They agreed. I took you to my farm, our home, where you limped off the trailer, and before you took another step, you looked around. I could only imagine what you were thinking. Will you be safe, taken care of, allowed to grow, and be who you are?
The first time you gently nibbled a piece of apple from my hand I knew you were special. Your eyes spoke to me saying, “Thank you for giving me a chance. I will have limitations and will not be able to do most of the things I am designed to do. I will do what I can.”
After a few days meandering, you became comfortable. I decided you would have free rein on the farm, a decision that was perfect for you.
I also decided to help you overcome the confines of your short leg. Prosthetic technology has improved; it was the answer to you enjoying a life of adventure. You came alive with the extension of your leg. You stepped proudly and galloped into the wind with the freedom of a racehorse. After a few months, I sensed you wanted to do more to test your abilities. Sprinting was your first challenge. You ran like Secretariat on Derby Day. I was so impressed! I had no reservation that you would be a fantastic show horse. You performed magnificently.
Years have passed. You see me in shades of gray, I see you in vibrant colors of cheerfulness. Your idiosyncrasies give me pleasure, laughter, and wonderment. You woke me up each morning with a few neighs and your nose against my window. You sometimes snort when we walk. I know what you mean. I love you, too.
The softness of your eyes speaks volumes for what is right in this world. A little tenderness, understanding, and compassion for those with faults— that is what I see when I look at you. You are my inspiration, and my friend.
Today is Valentine’s Day, here is an apple, —will you be my Valentine?