Sunday, December 5, 2010
Many, many years ago my sister introduced me to a man that mentored her in the horse driving world. He was a slightly built Scottish man, and an "old school" veterinarian. Besides his beloved Jersey cows, or perhaps BESIDE his beloved Jersey cows, were a number of Clydesdale horses that he farmed with. It was not unusual to drive down the highway and see him and a team out working the fields. The horses dwarfed the man, yet were as gentle as kittens. He was so proud of all that he did with them. I remember going to the Monroe fairgrounds to the Draft Horse Extravaganza to watch my sister drive his horses in the show. They were polished to a beautiful sheen, as were his huge harnesses. I still can hear the sound of the massive feet on the pavement as they were led from the barn.
At the age of 88 years, Doc Mustard passed away. I tried to pull up the article and it is "subscription only" so I cannot access it. 'Tis a bit frustrating, as I read all the newspapers online, but perhaps this small town has lost too much money because of folks like me so have locked it down. At any rate, it is with much sadness that I hear this, as he lost his farm to a family member a few years back so no longer had his roots firmly planted in the soil that he and his team worked for many years. I cannot imagine that the eviction helped his "will to live." But rather than fall prey to that anger, I prefer instead to remember his stories as we sat around the kitchen table. The volunteer fire department in Brady and the calls that he went on. The smells of the big barn and the hogs, horses, and cows that made their homes there. His tough wiry body and heavily calloused hands. His very Scottish "way." They don't make them like him any longer. He was the James Herriot of Washington state.
Godspeed Don Mustard. I smile when I think of all the critters that met him at the bridge to escort him to his final destination.