Great escape made us late for important date

I think my daughter is just about the sweetest thing in creation. When I was whooping and hollering and doing the happy dance around the house after finding out that I get to write this column, she said ?Mommy, what?s wrong??

?I?m going to get published in the paper!? I hollered. (Of course, I?m leaving out many more exclamation points.)

Well, when my husband got home, I couldn?t wait to tell him the news, but she beat me to it. ?Daddy! Guess what! Mommy?s going to get punished in the paper! Can I get punished in the paper, too?? Of course, I had to promise her that she?d get ?punished,? too, so here she is.

Thinking of her reminds me of the night of her parent-teacher conference. We were on the way out to take the kids next door. I looked out to see that one of my horses had her head stuck under the fence in search of more green goodness. Intending to shoo her back in, I walked down and raised my arms. She raised her neck…AND the fence. She then proceeded to walk straight through.

With a sigh, I went to the barn to get a halter and lead rope. Mistake. She took one look at them and took off down the road at a dead run. Mind you, she?s a gorgeous horse. She?s even more gorgeous when she runs, but when it?s away from you down the road, it?s not so pretty.

My intrepid husband had made it outside by then, so I shoved the halter and rope at him and told him to try to keep her in sight. He jogged away while I trampled after her too, trying to cut her off.

Luckily, my neighbors had seen her charge by. Barb came to corral the kids, while Ralph fired up his trusty Rhino. The last thing I saw was Scott climbing in the Rhino. The guys tore off in hot pursuit.

I was going back to get a bucket of oats to lure her with when it dawned on me: What if my other horse figures out the same thing? I grabbed a few pieces of cattle panel and baling twine to shore up the fence for a temporary fix. Then I thought, ?I need to call the teacher so she knows we won?t be on time!?

Well, I couldn?t find her number, so I did some calling around and found a way to get a message to her. Then I had to rearrange the gates so we could drive my errant equine (provided that we could find her) into the pen without losing my other one.

Finally, I got the oats and started trudging down the road. I couldn?t see hide nor hair of Scott or Ralph. And here we were, looking for a black horse at dusk. I was calling her, rattling the bucket, and wishing I?d thought to put on a jacket.

Then I saw headlights in the field near the next mile road. They were weaving erratically. After deciding it couldn?t be a drunk driver, I was pretty sure it was the guys. ?Oh good,? I thought with a sigh of relief. ?They?re herding her back.?

I didn?t know it was just Ralph until my mare got close enough to hear the oats. Scott was nowhere in sight.

Well, what?s a Fearless Farm Frau to do at that point? Walk home and keep rattling, of course.

Ralph followed us to light our way since it was getting pretty dark by then. I gave her a ?good faith? bite every now and then just to keep her attention. Sometimes Ralph got a little close and she?d startle a bit. At those moments, all that was going through my mind were endless repetitions of ?please don?t bolt,? but we made it home.

I guess I wasn?t quite as fearless as usual. I breathed another sigh of relief to see that Scott was back and manning the gate. She walked in nice as you please as if nothing had happened. Hmmph.

All said and done, we still made it to the conference only an hour late. Good thing the teacher was willing to stay a little later than she had planned. Good thing we have neighbors as great as ours.

People have told me she would have come back anyway, but none of them saw her take off like her tail was on fire. Even Ralph said (as I was falling all over myself thanking him), ?Aw heck, that?s the most fun I?ve had all month.?

Needless to say, we spent the rest of the next couple of weeks putting up a better fence. And if it ever happens again, I?ll just get the oats.