Bold venture

“Ouma,  he  always  came  to  greet  me.  He  knew  me!  Now  I  will  never  see  him  again!”  her  voice  broke  into  a  loud sob.  Torrents  of  tears  were  streaming down  her  face.  Her  sky  blue  eyes  were filled  with  deep  sadness. This  was her second encounter with death.

A  few  months  prior,  her  great  grandmother  had  died.  She  dealt  with  it  in  an  understanding way.  Ouma Gran was old  and  bedridden  for  a  while.  Her  death  was  more  or  less  expected.  What  she  was  dealing  with  now,  was completely  different.  He  was  her  friend.  His  deep  voice  would  ring  across  the  paddock,  even  after  dark,  with  her lying in her bed to go to sleep. She would leap from her bed and call to him through the window, ensuring that he knew she had heard him. Their bond was deep and enduring. Not a day went past without them meeting at some stage to exchange large brown eyes looking into her sky blue eyes. His huge head would lean across the fence to eat kitchen scraps of pineapple and paw-paw from her fingers!

This time death has come right into her secure and sacred space. And, how sudden it had come. A few Saturdays ago,  on  a  visit  to  the  farm,  I  watched  her  as  she  ran  light-footed  down  the  steep  incline  to  the  stables.  Her  long blonde hair bobbing on her slender shoulders. “I’ll give it to him!” she happily said to her mother. “Ouma, he knows it is Saturday! Then he gets his treats of apples and mealies and carrots! He just loves it.” she laughed.

I watched as she confidently walked in front of him, with red apples in her hands, into his stable, putting it into his feeding trough. He followed closely, too closely for an Ouma’s peace of mind! He was big and powerful, yet gentle and  considerate  around  the  frail,  slim  form  of  his  beloved  mistress.  She  was  talking  to  him  constantly,  reassuring that more treats were on the way! He munched with gusto, his large teeth making small change out of the mealie cobs. His friendly eyes, bright and large brown, followed every move she made.

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