Taber came with his excavator and dug out a grave next to Jason and Luke. Buried with the rest of his family -save for Tinkerbell- the last in a line of Clydesdales. We stood in a circle and told stories about Tom, how he was a leader and a loner. Strong wiled; even in his passing, he laid down near Tinker and Victor and quietly exhaled. Did it his way.
A big, red gala apple was broken up and buried. Oats were tossed across the mound. Courtenay read the lyrics to Jethro Tull’s ‘Heavy Horses’ song. Memories were shared. Whiskey was passed around. Even though we’ve known Tom’s health has been slowly fading it still comes as a shock. There’s a hollow below my sternum.
The night before Jamie and I were watching him eat the apples around the back of the bathhouse and pondering how in his crippled state he managed to outlive his herd, how he still got around so well. He shot up the hillside to the higher apple branches where the fruit was sweeter.