This year's Kentucky Derby is history now. Out there somewhere is next year's winner grazing in the pasture, little aware of the acclaim that is to be or the work that is ahead to earn that acclaim and its wreath of roses.
Horses in the Pilot Mountain School community earned no such wreath. These were work horses that instead earned respect and acclaim through their achievements in the field rather than at the racetrack. I've caught a few horse stories this past year, mostly connected with long-time custodian, Walter Norman. He rode his horse to work every morning, tied it up to the hitching post behind the school. Some people I interview declare it was a horse. Others say, mule. I saw the picture. Long ears for a horse, I must note.
Did the children play with the horse, I asked?
No, these were farm children and horses were no novelty. To them it was the same as the teachers who drove cars and parked beside the school or the cafeteria worker who rode the school bus alongside the children. The horse waited, rain or shine, although in really bad weather, Mr. Norman was known to hitch a ride in a car.
I'd say this horse earned more than a wreath of roses. It earned a spot in the memory of children and that is worth every bit as much as roses.
Catch of the day,