Life in the Catskills: that phrase might bring to mind skiing at Hunter or Belleayre, tubing the Esopus, Woodstock galleries and the art of people-watching, farmers markets in the summer and apple picking in the fall – a veritable smorgasbord of delights of all kinds. This tourist-brochure vision of the Cats is pretty accurate for a certain percentage of residents, but there are other folks here too. Here’s a snapshot of one of them, as told to me by a utilities worker after a day deep in the no man’s land of northern Sullivan County.
“I had to do a double take, because the horse was about the size of my dog,” he explained. “I was way up on a dirt road, when I saw this miniature horse, just walking down the road. I looked around, and saw, maybe a tenth of a mile back, a trailer set pretty far off the road with a fenced in field out front. I backed up the driveway and waited. This guy – he was pretty rough looking – y’know how your lip curls over your gums when you don’t have any teeth? Yeah, he had that going on – he came out of a shed around back of the trailer and kinda growls at me. Suspicious, y’know?
‘Can I help you?’ he asks me.
‘No, not me, I’m fine,’ I answered. ‘But your horse might not be. I just saw him walking down the road.’
‘The little one?’ He asked.
‘Fuck ‘im.’ The guy looked down the road where the horse had headed, then looked back at me. ‘I’m done chasing him. That’s the third time this week he got out. He’s on his own.’ He paused, then continued. ‘Thanks for your concern and all. That was nice of you to let me know, but nah. Fuck ‘im. He’ll either end up with a bullet in his head or hit by a truck. Either way, I’m done with him. He’s on his own.’ The guy shrugged, ‘Well, have a nice day,’ he grunted and turned back to the shed.
I drove back down the road, and just a little ways down, there was the horse, eating grass on the roadside. He looked like a cocky little bastard, like the point wasn’t to go anywhere, just to bust that guy’s balls. I decided they kinda deserved each other.”
File under “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up.”