St. John 6:11
It didn’t take us long to see that Big Jim wasn’t like any other horse in the barn. He was several hands taller than the quarter horses, to begin with, and he ate an awful lot more. And he was our only horse with a glorious past. Big Jim arrived at our small farm through the auspices of Fred Goody, one of my father’s more eccentric friends. Fred was from the mountains of West Virginia, and had an astounding number of connections. Besides Big Jim, he brought us a coon dog and some rather odd pieces of furniture. You didn’t ask too many questions about Fred’s procurements, but we were given to understand that Big Jim was a thoroughbred, who had once been an item on the racetrack at Charles Town. His glory days were behind him, and our place was the stop that kept him from the glue factory.
For a thoroughbred, Big Jim was a remarkably calm and good natured animal, and I had no trouble catching him for his feedings every day. But after he’d been with us a few months, and had put on a few pounds, we out for a family ride on a Sunday afternoon. Dad was riding Big Jim, and we emerged from the woods into a long clearing. Dad wasn’t sure what the signal was, maybe something the horse heard or the way dad shifted in the saddle. But in an instant, it was as if Big Jim was rounding the final turn at Charles Town, the crowd cheering and the flags waving. He sprang into action, his muscles churning, his neck thrust forward. None of us had ever seen a horse move like that in our back field. Dad said it was the ride of his life, that it was like Jim was flying through the air. He would be leaning back a bit further in the saddle from then on, just in case Big Jim had a mind to relive old memories again.