We were sitting eating a bowl of taco soup yesterday after a morning of splitting wood, working in the garden and cleaning the barn. We were making progress... Then my sister's phone rang. It was my other sister, Sara, asking if we could do her a HUGE favor. Her son, Justin, had a visitor from China...a place where he had been for two years on staff with Campus Crusade for Christ. They wanted to give him a "true" Texas experience and wondered if they (meaning Justin, his friend Michael from China and two of his friends) could come out and ride our horses.
I ain't gonna lie and tell you there wasn't a moment of hesitation in responding to her request...because there was. We were getting things done and to stop and saddle up two horses and get them primed and ready to ride would mean not finishing everything we had set out to do. But...all it took was one more moment to know that it would be fun to give Michael a little taste of Texas. Btw, Michael is not his Chinese name... I asked Justin what it was...and well...it's obvious I'm a Texan cuz I couldn't even come close to pronouncing it much less than write it here. Thus...the name, "Michael".
Larry went and saddled the horses and my sister, Melody, and I decided to make oatmeal chocolate chip cookies for the "after cowboy party" experience. It wasn't long before they arrived and we were all down by the horse barn listening to Larry give all four of them the "101" on horse back riding. To give Michael the true Texas experience, I brought my cowboy hat (shaped by the man who designed all of Roy Rogers hats...I might add) and a bandanna for him to wear. He was more than willing to comply with us cowboying him up.
After taking several "before" pictures of Michael, Justin and their friends, it was time to actually get on the horse. Michael confessed he was a little scared but bravely grabbed the reign and the mane and with a push, and a little help from Larry, swung his leg over and he was up. Instead of sitting up tall in the saddle he crouched down and hugged the horn on the saddle. With time he straightened up and was feeling a little more confident. Of course...at this point...he hadn't even moved.
Larry continued to instruct him on how to make the horse move, stop, turn left and turn right. He picked it up pretty easy... It also helps to have a good horse (like Freckles) who responds well to commands. His ride was a series of starting...stopping...taking out a few low branches and a surprise gallop back to the horse barn. Actually, we all were surprised when Freckles took off. But...he recovered nicely and without a bump or bruise. In the end...he was hugging Freckles head and letting him know what a great horse he had been.
Justin, Michael, Joan and Charles were all great guests and thanked us for the time they could spend at our place. The pleasure, however, was ours. I think we learned just as much as they did. Michael thought all Texans wore cowboy hats and rode horses. And we thought having them here would keep us from getting our "to do" list done. He wasn't 100% correct and neither were we. He will go back to China with a different story. And us? Our "to do" list will always be there...but our "let's do it" list seems to always bring us joys we would have never known if we would have stuck with the other.
If you have had a hankering for wanting to live the "rural lifestyle"...give me call. I love living the rural lifestyle! It would be my pleasure to help you find the perfect home in the country or one of the small towns surrounding the San Antonio area.