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The Horse in the Kitchen
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Years ago, when I lived on a farm in Connecticut, I had a horse named Scout who was an escape artist. He was very well trained (could change leads beautifully, neck reined, etc.) but he didn't like to be alone in the pasture. He wanted to be out on the front lawn with the rest of the family.

He could get out of any pasture, it seemed. Either he would jump the fence, knock the gate bars down or lie down and crawl under the fence. Honest. I actually saw him do it and I was laughing so hard I let him get away down the dirt road before I got myself together and went after him.

One day I had the kitchen door open--it was an unusually beautiful sunny day--and I had my back to the door, loading laundry into the wash tub. Suddenly the light was blocked off and there was this distinct odor of horse. I turned around and Scout had stepped neatly into the kitchen and was whuffing the sink, investigating the vegetables I had just picked from the garden. His hindquarters were half in the door and half out on the doorstep.

Question: do you bring him all the way in and turn him around, risking the floor of a 300-year-old farmhouse, or do you try to convince him to back out the way he came in?

Answer: you open the back door, lead him through the kitchen and the parlor and out the back door. Then you fuss at him (just pro forma) and put him in his stall in the barn while you go to see if you can figure out how he got out of the pasture this time.

When I left Connecticut to go to Stanford, leaving my dog and Scout behind were my only regrets. Otherwise, I shook the dust of the place from my feet and never looked back.

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