Friday, May 28, 2010

The Maggie Express

In April of 1860, riders for the Pony Express began "galloping" the mail across the Western United States between Missouri and California. Maggie and I have our own, much shorter mail route.

We don't have the kind of long country driveway that you see at some traditional farmhouses. No, ours is only about 35 to 40 metres long. But, at the end of that driveway, we do have have a typical country mailbox. It's the kind with the little red flag which can be raised when mail arrives-- mail which is delivered by a mysterious, never-to-be-seen someone in a wine coloured, SUV. It's a two-way service. When we have mail we want to send off, we put it inside and raise the flag, then the person in the wine-coloured SUV stops and picks it up.

Sometimes, when we see the red-flag raised, Muscade and I jog out to the mailbox together to sift through the junk-mail and bills. Lately though, it's Maggie who accompanies me to the letter filled box.

After I ride Maggie in the ring, I take her for her "strength-training session" on the hill. When we finish, we move to the other side of the road and I line her shoulder up with the mailbox. I lean down from my perch atop her back, lower the red flag and reach inside the green plastic box to pull out whatever surprise awaits. Maggie generally stands quietly throughout this process, though sometimes she twists her head around and sniffs the box. So far, she has yet to receive any carrots or apples by special delivery.

I have tried this feat once or twice with Murray. I have yet to pull it off. For one, he's a couple of inches taller which means I have to lean quite precariously off the side of the saddle to lower my arm enough to reach inside the box. That wouldn't be so bad except for his tendancy to lurch sideways in fright at every unexpected movement and sound. The noise I make grasping for envelopes inside the plastic box seems to count as an unexpected sound. So, for now, I'll stick with the Maggie express.

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