A Rose by Any Other Name Might Not Be a Rose

My wife Alex likes to rename animals she comes across. As was the case with my two cats Tom and Ginger. They were a product of my previous relationship, so I thought maybe that’s why she renamed them. In fact, after hearing that Tom and Ginger were now and forever Bubba and Sugarpuff, an old friend of mine said “now that’s a power move!” But I came to find out it’s just a thing she does.

Being a man and all, I had a hard time with the name Sugarpuff at first, but after a while I’d find myself talking about my cat Sugarpuff to the manliest of men. Alex said she named her that because she was as light as a puff of sugar. And Bubba because he got along with everyone. She was right on both counts.

She’s very intuitive about the names she gives. There are two horses we pass along the road that she dubbed Pokey and Friend. Pokey is kind of polka-dotted, so that’s obvious, but he’s also kind of slow and pathetic looking. Friend, we found out only later, hangs out next to Pokey rain or shine. Even if we learn their real names, to us, they will always be Pokey and Friend.

Another day we stopped to take a picture of a gray horse with a white streak down his face.  He galloped up to us like a dog who hadn’t seen his owner for a week. He nuzzled Alex’s neck as she turned toward me and I snapped away. As we left, the horse looked at us like “don’t go.” This horse definitely had a spark in his eyes, which is probably why Alex called him that. We found out later his real name was just two letters off of what Alex had rechristened him: Sparky was really Spooky.

She has also been known to rename a human or two. I’m surprised she hasn’t renamed me after all this time together. But then again, maybe that’s a good thing. She has called me “Stinky” more than once… Let’s hope that one doesn’t take.

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Reincarnated as a Horse

We took our French goddaughter, Ines, to horse country while she was here. Not Kentucky, which is no doubt horse country, but seems to be more about the business of horses than the pleasure. No, we took her north of Atlanta, where there are several horse-happy communities.

We passed a house… okay, mansion, with a “stable” built into the side of the place like it was just another wing. It even had a “horse porch” with outdoor ceiling fans… for the horses. We got out and took a picture of a stop sign that said whoa instead of stop. We passed rolling front yards kissed by the sun, the gentle Georgia breeze blowing horse tails and manes.

Our destination was a house in Milton. A friend of ours had heard that Ines was into horses and had offered to let her ride at her house. Ines was confused at first. “Where’s the riding ring?” she asked. “There is no ring,” our friend answered. “Just ride around the property.” Ines couldn’t wipe the smile off her face.

After the ride, we all sat on the front porch for a spell, as they do in horse country. “The horses around here sure seem to be treated well,” I said. “If you only knew,” our friend replied. “There are horse masseuses, horse hair stylists, horse therapists. They are more than pampered. If I die, I’d like to come back as a Milton horse.” Ines’ English was pretty good, but she couldn’t quite grasp that one. “Quoi?” she asked, looking at me for clarification. I translated in my decent but rusty French. She still looked confused. “I’ll explain later,” I told her.

I realize now, I never did explain later. I can just see her telling the story to her friends back in France about the crazy American woman who wants to come back to life as a horse.

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