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The Neighbors - Chapter Three
The next day dawned with a foggy mist and a chill in the air. I dressed warmly and headed out for a walk, hoping that I would see my neighbors, or at least some sign that they were up and about. I didn’t want to just pop in unannounced. I walked quietly down the dead-end private lane that bordered our property. The end of the lane opened up to a large meadow boarded by large beautiful oaks. Apollo strained at his lease hoping I would let him go to run through the long grass. I unhooked him and watched him go. It was so peacefully quiet; I glanced over in the direction of my neighbor‘s farm set far back from the road shrouded in trees. I thought I saw some movement and called Apollo as I started down their long gravel drive. Halfway to the house I realized the movement were the horses in the field between our houses, the same horses that I had seen on that first day.
I headed to the fence to see if the horses were friendly. Apollo whined and just sat down in the middle of the driveway. I thought it was for the best, I didn’t want him startling them. As I approached the fence the horses started moving slowly towards me…one, then the second one, before I knew it I had all eight horses gazing at me from the other side of the fence. I walked up to them and they just stood still and let me reach through the fence to pat them. I heard Apollo whining from the driveway, but he refused to get any closer to the large animals. After being raised in the city, I was sure he didn’t even know what to think of an animal being larger than his 125lbs. I was delighted to realize that the horses were very friendly and seemed to love attention. I heard a low noise and an elderly man appeared out of nowhere, he walked towards me with a large smile. When he got closer he held out his hand to shake mine, “Welcome” he said in a very pleasant voice…”you must be our new neighbor.”
At his insistence, I joined him as he walked back to the house. “You must meet my little woman, we haven’t had visitors in quite a while; she would be very upset if she doesn’t get to meet you.” Apollo seemed anxious, but followed us down the drive. “I’m Rufus”, I looked at the warm brown eyes and the good natured smile and introduced myself…”and I’m Lyric.” “Lyric…now that’s a name that slides off the tongue” he said with a twinkle in his eye. “Ah, here we are, Louise, Louise” he called. A slight elderly grey-haired woman emerged from the interior shadows and came to the screen door. Upon seeing a visitor with her husband, a large smile spread across her face. Immediately, she pushed open the door for us to come in. “I’m sure you have heard by now, I’m Louise”. Her voice was soft and soothing…like a mother’s voice; I knew I was going to like my new neighbors.
After about an hour of getting to know Rufus and Louise and basking in their hospitality and wonderful sweet hot tea, I decided I needed to get going. Apollo had already wandered back home so I said good-bye, promised to stop by again soon, and walked back home alone wrapped in thoughts of what seemed like the best time I had in quite some time. Apollo met me at the end of the drive…he seemed restless and keep sniffing at me and whining. I was a little surprised at my normally social pet, but figured that the morning had just been the most activity outside the home that he had in quite some time. I went in the house and upstairs to my office to get some work done. Instead I sat and stared out the window over my desk…I had a clear view of the horses grazing contently in the field.