My morning routine is rather boring, but that’s what routines are. They give comfort and a sense of “everything is ok” because they are predictable and routine. Get up and get the coffee started. If it’s cold outside, go downstairs and fire up the wood stove to get the house warm. Then upstairs to pack lunches for my wife and three children, read the paper and the Bible. About that time, my wife (a teacher) and son (a student) leave for their school and I wake up my two daughters. Then I go for my morning run with our dog, get the girls ready for school and myself ready for work, wait for the school bus at the end of the driveway, then head to work at Lehman’s.
This morning, the routine was going as planned through the get up, make coffee, pack lunches, read, and say good-bye to wife and son stages. But then the routine fell apart. The dog started barking. This is rather unusual (fortunately our dog doesn’t bark at every moving thing) so I went to the window to see what was going on. He was barking towards the woods at the back of our house so I looked that direction and through the darkness saw one of our Amish neighbor boys walking up through the yard toward our house. When he saw me at the window, he came toward the door.
Our Amish neighbors come to our house occasionally and we get produce or firewood from them sometimes. But they rarely show up before 7:00 a.m. Could he be here because there was an emergency at their place and they needed to use the phone? It could be, but not likely since he didn’t look like he was in a panic or any kind of hurry.
When I opened the door and said good morning, he asked me, “Have you seen any horses around here this morning?” I hadn’t and told him so. I asked if they had gotten out. “Yeah, the fence broke and they got through a hole.” I asked him how many. “Oh, ten or twelve.” I promised I’d keep an eye out for his ten or twelve horses. He said, “Well, I’ll keep looking for them,” and walked off across the field toward another neighbor’s farm.
I woke up my daughters, horse lovers both, and told them what had happened. They immediately were concerned because they were afraid that the horses would get hit on the road. That was certainly a possibility.
As we talked about the horses, we remembered the first summer, five years ago, that we lived in our house and something very similar happened. I was standing at the kitchen sink early in the morning. It was foggy outside and still dark. I saw a movement out the window to my right, turned to look, and thought I was seeing things. A horse walked past the window. Really? I went to the front window to see if I actually had seen a horse, and there were a dozen of them, all standing and grazing in our front yard. The same ten or twelve horses that were missing today.
Five years ago when it happened, I was telling one of my neighbors about the horses in our yard and she said, “I knew I wasn’t crazy! Tell my husband because he thinks I’m nuts.” She had been on a walk early in the morning and heard something rumbling behind her. She turned around and saw a dozen horses running directly at her. They veered off into the field and left her rather stunned. She told her husband who naturally didn’t believe her.
As I went for my run, I kept my eyes open for a herd of horses. I didn’t see them but the image of my young neighbor boy walking up through the field kept running through my mind. Then it hit me. I should have offered to drive him around to look for the horses. Since he was Amish, he didn’t have a car and his main form of transportation was the exact thing he was missing. I missed an opportunity to be neighborly.
I never did see the horses this morning and I don’t know yet if they have been found and led back to their pasture. I’m assuming so. I didn’t see my Amish neighbor boy again either. If I had, I would have offered him a ride to try to help find his ten or twelve horses.
This is the kind of thing that happens in Kidron, Ohio. It’s part of the reason we love living here. It is also part of what influences the flavor and tenor of Lehman’s retail store, catalog and web site. Living like this is just different. And fun. It gives us a unique perspective and influences which products we carry. Plus, it often gives us good stories to tell.
“I’ll bet this didn’t happen to you this morningâ€¦.”