My creative juices had frozen up. The endless cold and lack of change in routine had made life stagnant so it felt good to pack the suitcases, get on the road, and anticipate adventure.
We spend three days on the road and finally arrive at our Florida Airbnb cottage. I chose it because it was in the country and the owner had goats, a pig, a goose, and horses which are always fun to hang around. As my husband and I pull up to the cottage, three hens and a rooster perked up expectantly from their lookout on our front porch. With that greeting, I feel like spring rains are showering down on me.
I open the car door, say hello to the chickens, and then spot one of the horses. Even though there’s unpacking to do, I can’t stop myself from heading over. The tawny-colored quarter horse leaves his hay and ambles over to the fence to check me out. He breathes out as horses will do in greeting, and I blow toward him to answer him back. He nuzzles my hand, and I scratch him behind the ear. We decide we like each other.
I need to unload the car, but all during the chores, my awakened mind is in motion. Fond memories of taking my quarter horse trail riding through the woods, stopping at a stream so she could get a drink when thirsty, and galloping along the straight stretches make me feel alive again.
Later, while dining at an outdoor cafe, friends explain that their nephew has an ice shanty that is so deluxe, he and his wife actually take mini-vacations and spend the night in it. It includes room for ice fishing holes, of course, but surrounding them is a wood-burning stove and a table for dining. Above the table is a loft with a bed. Our food arrives and, hungry, we stop talking and dig in. But my mind keeps swirling.
My dream ice shanty would have an underwater camera connected to a big-screen TV. The glimpses of occasional trophy fish and all the activity would entertain me. I also picture a cushy bed within view of the TV so the gentle swaying of aquatic plants can lull me to sleep. Yes, sleeping out in an ice shanty. That would be spectacular!
I blink myself back to reality. I need to delay my musings in order to stock up on groceries. I head out. The clerk, who’d been talking about hurricane Katrina with the last customer, continues her story by telling me that her family had been without electricity for three weeks back in 2005. They had animals to tend so they had to cart in water to keep them from dying of thirst. After several weeks, they began to run out of feed. Her grandfather, an ex-military man, ripped open his stash of MRE meals (Meals Ready to Eat) to keep the goats fed. It turned out they loved the stuff.
One day while they were away, the goats trotted into the house looking for more of the tasty MREs. She shook her head and smiled. “They ransacked the kitchen looking for more.” I would have loved more details, but people waited in line behind me. Besides, it was fun to let my imagination fill in the details.
As I left the store, I could picture it all clearly. A billy, nanny, and kid goat sniff around the front door. “Nanny” figures out how to turn the front doorknob and the party begins.
They manage to open a cupboard door and although items are scarce, they find a few items including Fruit Loops. Kid goat rips the box open. Sure enough, they’re tasty. Ritz crackers and raisins help fill the belly too. But neither is quite as good as those MREs.
The goats use their noses to shove out the bag of flour, breaking it open. Soon flour powders the floor and their faces. Nanny rips open the bag of sugar next. They all sample it, but it isn’t what they’re craving. Kid goat discovers the bag of chocolate chips. Mmm, tasty. With chocolate streaking his mouth, he ventures deeper. He samples the coconut and likes it, but it’s not quite as tasty as the MREs. About this time an outside noise makes the goats look toward the front door. The family opens it. Squeals, cries, and curses. Maybe even a chuckle.
I chuckle, too. My creative juices are flowing again.