As fate—that fickle old rascal—might have it, a few weeks back, when summer was in full swing, and those silly little battery-powered fans you can clip onto your baseball cap, didn’t seem like such a silly idea after all, myself, the missus, and the little squirt, ended up going on vacation. Well, it was more of a glorified weekend trip to PA, but for a family of New Yorkers that most certainly qualifies as a prim and proper vacation with all the trimmings.
According to the tenets of New York City life, any activity which includes pets, greenery, and a decent view, can be considered a vacation, because daily life in the apple that never sleeps includes none of the above. Pets are not allowed in our (expensive, but too small) Bronx apartment, and plants of all religions and denominations worldwide consider me their mortal enemy (having not two, not three, but TEN brown thumbs), and the view from our apartment is exactly what one might expect from a place named after a man who unironically sported the last name of Bronck.
Thus it is with great pleasure I present to you, dearest reader, Gracie—the closest thing I'll ever have to a pet.
Gracie lives a quiet, equestrian life on a small farm in rural PA. Our eyes met the moment the blond-headed Amish boy led our small tour group into the whitewashed stable, filled to the brim with the unmistakable aroma of reality. There she stood with a yearning look and a mouthful of hay. Within a mere moment the air was abuzz with the sizzle of magic and romance (It may have been horseflies, though. I'm not 100% sure).
I said: "Why, hello Beautiful." She playfully nuzzled my forehead. I laughed gaily and pulled an extra-absorbent napkin from my pocket. I then offered her a big lump of sugar, of which I always carry a few (you never know who you might meet!). She excitedly stepped forward, graciously accepted the sweet treat, and returned the favor by giving me a massive lump on the shin. Stars filled the room, ecstasy overcame me, and twenty-two simple words imprinted themselves upon my heart: Sometimes love, true love, pure love, the kind of love that makes you go "Mhm, mhm, mhm," is so real, it hurts.
"But, Casual-T," I hear you say, "what about Mrs. Casual?" Yes, of course, you are right. I am a married man, and I love my wife dearly. I would never leave her (for a horse). But I simply can't bring myself to forget those tender, honest, and ever so bittersweet moments I shared with Gracie on that hot summer's day in Pennsylvania. I will remember her for as long as I limp. (Have you ever seen a shin the color, shape, and consistency of an eggplant? It's quite a sight to behold.)