The man and I hadn’t been to a proper sit down restaurant since before covid started… and six months before that. I don’t like eating out anymore. The tables seem closer together these days and people are loud, especially children. One of my favorite sounds is kids playing out in the yard or street… but transfer those cries and screams to a booth behind me and food is the last thing I want. Escape becomes a priority.
There were no children when we first sat down but I understand that Longhorn is a family type restaurant.
When we first planted ourselves and removed our masks (!) I happened to glance up at the Martin Grelle hanging right in front of me. It was huge. (Nothing like overstatement, eh? Saddles and brands and rodeo belt buckles abounded. Thought I was back in Texas.) The picture was glorious, and I felt as though I could have reached up and felt horse hair.
Turning my attention back to the man wasn’t easy, more so when the waitress brought a loaf of bread and chunk o’ butter to the table. Oh, dear. My favorite things before I had to give up gluten a few years ago, they’re still my favorite. I just don’t indulge. So… I turned my eyes to the picture while Mike ate.
And escaped into it completely.
The sun was bright but it didn’t warm the cool day. In the 50’s if I had to guess. The quarter horse beside me (I’d named him Buck) was warm from working cattle, though. I could smell the wonderful aroma of horse and leather.
Brushing the forelock off his blaze, my hand ran over the horse’s neck, withers and down his shoulder. Horses feel so good. What is that saying? “The outside of a horse is good for the inside of a man”. Truth.
Soon my hand rested on Buck’s rump and then his flank. His belly twitched like it was trying to throw off flies when I touched it, just like Toffee’s used to… We were old friends, Buck and I, and I knew every inch of him, down to the fetlocks.
Mike had eaten almost all the bread and I was goggling at him like he had three heads. There was a baby screaming bloomer behind me and I longed to be back beside Buck on the plains…