Can you imagine giving parents one of the greatest joys of their child’s life?
Stuart McLean, storyteller par excellence, provides Canadians an opportunity to laugh at ourselves. His CBC program, Vinyl Cafe, includes great music by often unknown Canadian artists, his reading of his ongoing story of a fictitious, but typical Canadian family and a short story submitted by a listener. The entanglements, subtle and otherwise, can be hilariously familiar or heartwarmingly human.
This morning, the “listener’s story” was one submitted by a retired member of our Royal Canadian Mounted Police. He now lives in a community in British Columbia, but as a young man, he was chosen as one of the trained members to participate in the 32-horse Musical Ride at Montreal’s Expo in 1967. (Unfortunately, the writer’s name was not added to the Playlist on the Vinyl Cafe’s site.)
Because the Mounties allow people to greet the horses after the Ride, it means taking great care that the horses do nothing to hurt or frighten admirers, such as step on a toe or move too quickly while being patted.
The writer noticed a young boy in a wheel chair at the edge of the crowd. After people subsided, he led his beautiful steed slowly toward the young man. He looked to the parents for permission and upon seeing a nod, he brought his horse to the handicapped boy.
As the lad held out his hand, the horse responded in greeting, put its lips over the boy’s fingers and began to suck. The boy’s face burst into a grin. He exploded with joyous and uninhibited laughter. The Mountie, greatly relieved over the outcome, turned to the parents and was surprised to find them in tears.
After the visit, he said goodbye to the still excited young boy and guided his horse toward the stables.
He tended to his horse and when finished, he walked out of the stables. Surprisingly, he saw the parents were waiting for him. When he approached them, he listened to their gratitude and learned the reason for their tears.
It was the first time, they explained, they had heard their child laugh.
They finally knew what was capable of bringing joy to his life.
♥♥ R.C.M.P. ♥♥