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Susan Kane: Listen


(Susan Kane)
Susan Kane

I was one of those horse-crazy little girls. Something of a bookworm anyway, I devoured every book about horses I could find, from nonfiction how-to books, to Black Beauty, the Walter Farley Black Stallion series, and all of the Marguerite Henry books.  The proud owner of a small but cherished collection of little horse statues, I built them elaborate stables and jumping courses around the grounds of the apartment building where we lived.  A couple of friends shared my obsession, or at least went along with it.  Probably the most ridiculous thing was the pretending to actually be a horse, or to be riding one.  My bicycle was a pretty good stand in, but it only had one gait, and wasn't much of a jumper.  Much better to prance about on shanks' mare--walk, trot, canter, gallop, and leap over fences.  I think the Monty Python guys got their idea for the horses in the Holy Grail from me.  This eventually led to riding lessons on actual equines, which I timidly pursued off and on.  My passion got really reignited in college where a couple of  friends who were much more accomplished riders took me under their wing and hooked me up with a stable that would let us ride for FREE.  My summer job after junior year was running the riding camp at a local day camp, and I concluded that summer by injudiciously purchasing one of the camp horses.  I was in love, you see.  The purchase price wasn't so much, it was the upkeep.  Somehow I contrived to keep hoof and mouth together till after graduation, and then was compelled to find work that would finance such an expensive avocation.
His name was Kesey.  He was a cute 15.2 hand seal bay gelding.  Kees was about six years old when I bought him, and I had to put him down when he was 32.  Not many 'pets' live that long.    I got to thinking about that and what it could mean.  I thought about my own life during the time I had owned him---young adulthood, career, marriage, children.  And losses.  When my dad died in 2000 I remember thinking--"my damn horse is still around!  Why did I have to lose my father?"  We had also lost a few dogs during that time.  Mortality.  It's all about mortality ultimately, isn't it?

Took you off a stinkin’ horse dealer’s truck        
On its way to the killing floor                                              
Did you know it was your life’s best day of luck                
When you walked through that trailer door                                      
So I dug down deep in my empty pocket
Just couldn’t wait anymore   
Had to have my mahogany rocket
We were so young in seventy four

‘Cause you know about girls and horses,
Irresistible forces, and warm mysteries.                             
And horses, they live such a long time,
You outlived three dogs of mine, and my Dad.                                 

You and me, we lived hand to mouth                 
Secondhand tack and backyard stalls                              
But we found roads and tracks and walkabouts                               
Fallen logs and old stone walls                         
We flew through fields with your thundering gait
Slid square down sandy hills
Raced through standing rows of corn so straight
Like Man o’ War of Phoenixville

Now your old bones rattle, and you’re hobbling frail                       
Your coat it’s mangy and it’s dull                        
Your hips stick out in a skeletal jail    
Your ears are limp against your skull 
Come on now Keez, you know it’s time to go                    
You can’t be leanin’ on the wall                          
Your time has come today and surely you must know                     
If you lean you’re gonna fall

Well I promise that you won’t feel a thing                          
In the cold mud of spring                                    
I’ll drop you like a rock                                        
And send you back to those green fields                          
Where you can run young and healed                              
Barefoot in the grass                                           

‘Cause you know about girls and horses,
Irresistible forces, and warm mysteries.                             
And horses, they live such a long time,
You outlived three dogs of mine, and my Dad.                                 

Vocals:  Susan
Guitars:  Susan and Billy Masters
Pedal steel:  Tom Camp
Bass:  Eddie Denise
Percussion:  Steve Haas