Tuesday, November 12, 2013

And That's The (Horse) Poop!

It’s funny.  I live in a rural area with lots of Amish around.  They pay school taxes and land taxes and keep to themselves.  They farm and bake and sell their produce and baked goods on the side of the road wherever they can.  Some build sheds, or craft chairs and other furniture or toys.  They keep to themselves and their ways.  But there is one thing people can’t stand about the Amish.  THEIR HORSE AND CARTS!

            If it’s night time you can’t see them.  There are some that will use just a lantern or two and you don’t see them until you’re almost on top of them.  Then there are some that cover the back of the cart with reflective tape and you can see them a mile away.  Most of the time it’s in-between.  There’s just enough reflective tape to let one know that there is a buggy ahead.  It has been a huge divide for the “English” up here. 

On one hand you’ve got the “live and let live” folks.  These are the people that admire the Amish.  They think it’s great that they’ve kept the old ways and haven’t bent to society.  On the other hand you have the morons that think the Amish are dirty and stupid and have no right to be on our roads.  These are the people who continually complain about the dark buggies and the horse poop.

When my parents moved up here from the city they were trying for a simpler kind of life.  Dad wanted a hobby farm.  Get a couple cows, a couple pigs, a dog, some cats and a horse.  Grow a garden and feed the family.  Fresh air to breathe, green grass to sprawl on in the summertime.  No asphalt jungle.  A very “Green Acres” type of existence.  They actually pulled it off and I had a great childhood. 

While I was growing up I didn’t realize the animosity some people felt towards the Amish.  They were always welcome in our house.  They would come by to visit with my parents and I could hear their different dialect and I thought we were pretty special because we had Amish friends. 

In the on-line newspaper today, opinions to a poll were published.  The poll asked whether the Amish should pick up after their horses when they pooped in the road.  (I told you we were rural)  The fact that this was a poll should have given me a clue as to the answers.  I was really surprised that so many people would want the Amish to stop and scoop.  A lot of respondents also said it was a stupid idea given that they are slow already and it would add to the danger they are already in, in a buggy on fast roadways. 

I was completely taken off guard by the number of people who complained that if they had to pick up after their dogs then the Amish should pick up after their horses.  Again, rural area here – I almost never see anyone pick up after their dog, including me.  Yes, I admit it.  When I take my dog out I always forget a bag.  In the more urban areas I do bring bags and pick up but we don’t go there together very often.  So when my dog drops a load, that’s where it stays.  And I’m guessing a lot of the people who said they scoop really don’t.

What I don’t understand is this – I’ve seen horse poop on the road.  I’m a walker and a part-time runner.  I’ve run around it and through it.  My dogs have rolled in it.  Comments about how gross it is make me wonder if these North Country “natives” have ever seen real horse poop, because horse poop is probably the nicest poop around.  It’s grass.  It falls apart when it’s dry and turns to dust.  It smells just like a horse.  I’d rather have my dog roll in horse poop than a dead frog or worse – a dead bird.  If I walk through horse poop I don’t get all grossed out.  It’s not slippery like cow poop.  It doesn’t stink to high heaven like dog poop.  You’ll never find it in your flower garden when you are planting, like cat poop.  It doesn’t stick to your sneakers.

Oh yeah, one other thing, its biodegradable, unlike the chemicals that we, the “English”, spew from our cars into the Amish faces as well as their horses. 

We like to think we are so advanced, but what would we do if the government shut down all computer systems?  No phone, no electric, no computers.  It’s not that far-fetched of an idea.  I think we’d probably need to go to our Amish neighbors and ask them for help.  Maybe even a ride.  And you know what they would probably do?  They would probably help us, even though we treat them like second class citizens, even though we complain about their old ways and the buggies they drive and the poop that their horses leave on the road.

Imagine that.