There are days this gig feels like an enema. Friday wasn't one of them. That's because I paid a visit to Kirby Creek Equine Center, a 52 acre horse farm nestled in the hills of central North Carolina. They weren't expecting me. Instead the people that run this rescue ranch for waiting on horse trailers - the kind you see a lot of 'round Surry County. Needless to say when I rolled up in a Ford Freestyle with GPS pinging, the lady at the gate could tell I was no cowpoke. She was a little shocked to see a man with cameras and questions about Kirby Creek's first vaccination clinic and in truth, so was I. See, I take requests and lately all anyone with a newscast has wanted to hear is the End of the Economic Good Time Blues. The last time someone in charge wanted something sticky and sweet, John Edwards was considered a viable running mate. Thus, I didn't blush when a manager handed me a print-out about a place called Pinnacle, I made for the door before they could change their mind and send me to some paperclip parade downtown.
Of course, I didn't explain this to the lady, intoning only that I wished to take a few pictures. She seemed agreeable, but before she could radio the others, a battered horse trailer arrived and pulled through the gate. I jumped into action at the sight, leaving the lady alone with her clipboard as I jumped back into my horseless carriage and followed the cloud of dust in the distance. Looking back, I guess I should have slowed my roll, for less than a quarter of a mile later, the caravan of two came to a halt. I jumped out and grabbed my gear, shouldering my weapon before rounding the corner. When I did, a woodsy looking gentleman stopped me with questions of his own. "What's all this then" he kinda sorts asked and the next voice I heard was me explaining from which I came. The must have liked the look of my logo, for minutes later I was leaning over the veterinarian's shoulder, as he poked and prodded his first patient of the day. I love it when a lack of plan comes together.
What followed was a fairly glorious morning. A slight breeze whispered through the valley as I tried not to stare at the iconic outcropping looming overhead. From Kirby Creek, the reported inspiration for Andy Griffith's much mentioned 'Mount Pilot' hung like a painting in the sky. That made it tough for me to focus on the horse whisperers at hand, for I'm a flatlander by birth and tilted topography still renders me agog. Inoculation or not, it was difficult to pinpoint the equestrian needleship on display when a Bob Ross watercolor floated in the corner of my eye. Not that the locals noticed. Jamie Renzi and Susan Bingman opened this place back in August. Since then, they've boarded many an abandoned steed, from neglected nags to post-prime thoroughbreds. It's a bucolic, pleasing place and the weddings and festivals they hope to hold there should attract all kinds of attention. Certainly should you ever find yourself traveling through the shadow of Pilot Mountain, I urge you to mosey on over.
In fact, of my short time there, I left but with one regret. On my exit the kindly proprietors directed me to the barn where refreshments reportedly waited. I begged off at first but acquiesced when a certain pastry was repeatedly featured. Following my hosts past the stable and into a small anteroom, I saw, among other things, a box of Krispy Kremes sitting on a table. I did what any Southerner would do, scooping up a glazed confection before rejoining a walking tour of a couple dozen stalls. Tell me, have you ever eaten a cold doughnut while your nostrils were swaddled in fresh manure fumes? It's a flavor you won't soon forget, no matter how many times you shave your tongue. I don't know if such sensitivity will eliminate me from competition but something tells me I'll never fulfill my dream of becoming a rodeo clown...
At least the day made for pleasant television.