Sian, who ought to kindly email me a snail mail address, will receive a "Half Ass and Proud of It" bumper sticker as well as a hundred blown kisses and my undying gratitude for explaining, after all these years, why I cannot remember—it was the stork that did it, and one can hardly blame a mule for forgetting such an early experience, can one?
To Dunewood, Gaylene, and Little Big Red, I thank you. Your stories were compelling and beautiful—like me, Fenway Bartholomule.
Read on for Special Delivery, the one true story of the ear.
I'm not very good at writing, Fenway, like Farmwife is. I hope this will pass for a story though, because I do know what happened to your ear. It was the Stork that did it, remember him? Probably not, you were very small.
One magical night a very special mare was about to have a very special baby. She couldn't wait for him to arrive, she knew he would be the sweetest and smartest foal in the pasture that spring. She had readied her shed with clean straw and paced restlessly back and forth. This was the date the baby was to arrive, she felt sure of it, she couldn't have forgotten. But the stars wheeled by above, the spring peepers sang by the brook and all stayed very still. The only other sound was the breeze in the willow tree.
Suddenly, finally, a flapping of large wings could be heard! Then the awkward sound of bending branches in the willow and slapping, sliding leaves. Could it be? The mare rushed to the fence. The moon was just bright enough to show an elderly and dilapidated gentleman Stork settling down through the tree, very carefully as he was frail and stiff. He carried an impossibly large burden as well but he treated it with the utmost care and gentleness. "I think I have what you are expecting, Lady," he said to the mare in the pen. He carefully carried the burden to her bed of straw and revealed the foal. "We had a difficult journey and he'll need your care now. I nearly lost him coming over the Columbia and I had to grab his ear quick or he'd have been a goner, sure." He indicated an ear tip with a trickle of bright blood glinting in the moonlight. The baby made not a sound as the mare licked it clean and then cleaned and warmed him all over with her tongue. He was home and safe and he nuzzled his dam with affection and relief. "He's a good one, Lady," said the Stork, "and very special. The One Above said he had to get here today, no waiting, He had promised you. I was the only one left to bring him but glad of it, that I am." The Stork rested a while and drank from the brook. Then he leaned on the fence and just watched the mare and her new baby. New life is something you never tire of seeing, he thought to himself, even after all these years. Hard work it was, but seeing the love, the joy and wonder made it all worth while. The moon revealed a tear in his eye as he rose into the air for the journey back and a lump in his throat slowed his wings as he circled above for a last glimpse of the last baby he would deliver.