To Visit A Friend

(I owe so many of you emails, I hang my head in shame. Is anyone else who uses WordPress having difficulties with comments coming through intact to their email. It used to be that I only had to click Reply and the reply would go to the commentor’s email but now it goes back to wordpress.)

I’d been stalling the trip to town to visit a friend hospitalized with H1N1 and pneumonia. The last order for the day was packed and the clock was moving to the time when driving is impeded by school buses. Deciding it was time to get a move on I stopped by the PO then drove out of town. Driving around a sweeping curve I noticed a woman standing next to a horse between the road and pasture fence with three other horses bunched near her. As I approached the three galloped with flashing eyes, high heads and tails into the road. They clattered this way and that not sure which way freedom led. With a blind corner just ahead I pulled over and jumped out to try to head them back, thinking they lived at the bend in the road. A van came around the corner and slowed down enough to part the horses around it. Seeing me they froze then skittered, blasting loud snorts through their nostrils. Waving my arms and yelling I tried to jump in front of the black lead horse in an attempt to turn him back. Blackie shied around me and for a moment I had the sensation he thought about kicking out sideways at me as he leaped past. A spotted brown and white appaloussa and a chestnut followed his lead charging past me with snaking heads and flying manes.

Glancing back up the road I saw the woman desperately hanging onto a lead rope attached to a wimpy looking halter on Big Brown’s head. She was barely maintaining control, her horse was rearing and crashing around trying to get free to run after his buddies. Talking quietly and using sounds that normally calm horses I grabbed the other side of Big Brown’s halter with my right hand and between us we attempted to get him down to a somewhat manageable prance along the side of the road. With each car that swept around the corner he panicked, throwing himself around, threatening to whip our arms out of socket.

I asked where we were going. She replied that their pasture was just around the corner and up the hill. They were her neighbor’s horses. She’d seen her neighbor drive off and then the horses running down the gravel driveway so she’d grabbed up a halter and a bucket of COB (molasses covered corn, oats and barley). The bucket of cob was what had allowed her to slip the halter on Big Brown.

As we headed around the corner Spotted One came galloping back and swept past us back out to the road then spun and ran back up the hill. Big Brown jerked and tried to run after him as my feet tried to stay on the ground. We’d managed to get part way up the hill when again Spotted One loped past us and down to the road where a car honked and swerved. Horsewoman rattled the grain in the bucket and Spotted One circled back to us then dashed on up the hill to where Blackie and Chestnut were milling around still blowing through their noses in high excitement at their wild escape. Big Brown was about to go ballastic and our arms were jelly when Horsewoman said, “Let’s just let him go. I think they’ll go back in now.” She had her own horses and had debated about putting them in with hers but, “my horses are well trained, I don’t want these crazy horses in with them!” I slipped the halter off Big Brown’s head and whopped him in the rear to head him on up the hill. At that moment I remembered my purse was sitting in plain view on the passenger seat. I’d grabbed the keys exiting the car but hadn’t dreamed I’d be gone for so long or out of sight around the bend. It was my turn to run pell mell down the hill and back around the corner to see my red car sitting quietly beside the road. Everything just as I’d left it. Except now my light tan jacket had smears of dirt up and down the sleeves where Big Brown had pushed his head. Blood trickled down one finger from a small cut. My arms felt like they’d been stretched to snapping point. Sighing I merged back onto the road and headed first to the bank then on to the hospital in the big town.

Vineyards stretching along the road about four miles away. Taken on Nov 4th.

It’d been ten years since I’d been at that Hospital. (Most people in this area go to our local hospital.) In that time four more buildings have gone up. What used to be one building with a parking lot across the street has turned into a small hospital complex with four large buildings and a large parking garage with “skywalks” for access between the buildings. Finally finding Sunny’s room I stopped at the nurse’s station to ask for a special face mask and was informed Sunny had just been taken to the Imaging Center. It’d be about 45 minutes. Sigh. Crossing back over the skywalk my heart stopped at the sight of a burning tree. The last sunlight was glowing against a brilliant scarlett maple tree, massive grey clouds piled against the distant snow glazed mountains.

My stomach was growling so I stopped at one of the numerous gift shops with selections of sandwiches and soups, then sat at a table placed along the hall and had a bowl of hot soup and crumbly crackers. Burned my mouth on the soup, littered crumbs all over the table and floor while attempting to look and feel normal. Sitting back down after cleaning up my mess and disposing the remains I pulled out my faithful Kuchulu to spin the time away.

Sunny was back in her room. I donned white pointy mask and spent some time with her. Living in a two- generational house she and her husband practically raise the twin six year olds, their four year old brother, an odd assortment of grand neices and nephews who seem to come more than go. Sunny was hospitalized on Sunday. She still felt weak and exhausted when I saw her. I hope they don’t discharge her too soon. I was able to round up a number of people to provide meals through the week but still once she gets home the little kids will be at her constantly. Her husband has the flu too but he’s a tough dude and is toughing it out.

Rain was pouring in the darkness as I came back into the next town over. A movement and a shape caught my eye – a deer on the right shoulder headed my way. Through town, up and over a small ridge, past my friend’s house, cruising to the edge of town I had a sensation: Look! Another deer stepping from the right into the road at a stately pace. Knowing there’d be another deer encounter I carefully scanned the sides of the road as I picked up speed beyond town. Yep, half a mile further a deer also making its way across the road, also headed north.
I wonder if the deer were planning a meet-up in the rain. With all the large animals moving along the roads it was a wonder that there were only the typical small roadkills of squirrels, possums, and raccoon.


The Packed Kuchulu from last post? I reeled it off onto my niddynoddy to take measure of the yardage. 11 grams = 228 yards of singles. WIP came out to 58. Kuchulu Singles

I’m very pleased and will continue spinning until there are 100 grams of singles to ply. For now this first spun is waiting on a shuttle bobbin until the rest is spun.
Bobbin of Kuchulu singles

Tomorrow Ed and I have been invited to share about our work and spindles with a spinning group having a retreat at the Silver Falls State Park Conference Center. I’m really looking forward to it. We’ve had so many orders for spindles that Ed’s been working his fingers to the bones. Yesterday’s batch is being horded until we can show them to the spinning group. We were specifically asked to bring some and it’d be a fine thing to pack off all our spindles to waiting stores and have none to show tomorrow.



Author: Wanda J

I never dreamed my life would be entangled with fiber and the tools used to produce fibery items. When I bought a boat shuttle used in weaving Ed looked at it, decided to make a better one and the rest is history. For a decade he made shuttles, crochet hooks, knitting needles, until his spindles became so popular that he had to devote his time to making them, as well as Walking Wheels. Free time is spent reading, trying to coax food from the ground, and playing in the creek near our place. I love long walks and camping far from crowds. Playing a fiddle beside a stream or with good friends brings sweetness to my soul. Sundays are set aside for worshiping God with our small Quaker meeting.

9 thoughts on “To Visit A Friend”

  1. My O’My, what an adventure! had me holding my breath and yet smiling at your descriptions of the horses, heads held high, and I’m glad everyone survived. We had a similar incident except 6 horses died and one human in hospital.
    Mmmmm, your spun singles, beautiful, what a Lovely colour!
    Best of healing thoughts and prayers to your friend and her family. Here’s hope to some other adult stepping in and helping with the little ones so she can continue to rest and heal. xox

  2. also to add… I’m right there with you in that ‘hanging head in shame’ corner. Fall chores are keeping me Busy. You’ll hear from me asap. xox

  3. That was quite a day you had! I imagine you had a few aching muscles the next day? I would have been very scared to be around those crazy horses, even though I like them and I enjoy riding. They are such powerful and unpredictable animals. Do you have a plan for what you will knit with the singles, once you’ve plyed them?

  4. And people claim that living in small towns and country is boring and that there is nothing to do. After such a day, I am glad you have the retreat to look forward to.

    Those singles, oh my! They’re exquisite!

  5. Oh my goodness! That’s quite a day – I’m so glad that neither of you was hurt trying to handle those horses. I hope (and am sure) that the spindle presentation went beautifully, and that you had a nice restful weekend – you deserve it!

  6. One of the reasons I love reading your blog is that I really enjoy the way you tell your stories. You write so well.

    Thank you, again, for speaking at the retreat. We all really enjoyed hearing Ed talk about the wood he works with and having you demonstrate the spindles and tell us your stories. We all knew it would be spectacular!

    I never thought I would spin a silk hankie but after choosing my Kuchulu (love the story/theory behind it, it should be the introduction to your first book) I ended up purchasing some of Carol’s hand-dyed hankies. Will send photos when I have finished it.

    Thank you both for such a wonderful demonstration!!

  7. Wow! Stop “horsing around” and get back to work…..
    Hope all went well at the spinner’s demo.

    Oh, and when they remodeled the hospital in Medford, the added Valet Parking…go figure…
    Happy Thanksgiving!
    Grannie Linda

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