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WV’s Dr. Doolittle Intrigues North End

The road past my house on Lafayette Street sees a modest flow of now familiar traffic. I know the recurring sounds of pulsating music, a tailpipe in need of attention, a transmission moving over the asphalt on borrowed time.

While seated in my workroom writing a note to someone I miss up North or painting vibrant colors across a big sheet of paper, I hear conveyances going by but seldom look up. 

However, one day I didn’t recognize the passing sound. Wondering what this might be, I stepped on the porch in time to see Mr. James Person leading his mare around the bend, headed towards town. Even though the horse wore a saddle, Mr. Person chose not to be a burden.

Now while walking a few days earlier, I had come across two black goats in Mr. Person’s backyard. The goats had rather elongated, elegant-looking heads set off by draping ears that swayed when they nodded an early good morning in my direction. Somehow the goats with their intense color and odd-slit eyes reminded me of high-fashion models back in New York.

But I didn’t wonder about their presence. Nor did I think much about the traveling horse. I had my own agenda.

I busied myself cutting the right length of yellow ribbons and considering the symmetry of the fig tree branches for an ethereal floating-in-the-wind effect. I wanted to deter the birds but also give myself an aesthetically pleasing view from the kitchen window. In addition, I was on the lookout for a tall candidate to figure out the netting operation for the other fig tree.

Meanwhile, though, I met a neighbor, Carol Moser, who brought me back to the story of Mr. Person’s horse. Carol has a home office and deals with international clients through the internet. While working with someone in Belgium, Carol looked out the window and saw Mr. Person’s horse without its saddle galloping up the road trailing its untethered rein. 

Always concerned about the well-being of animals, she left her computer and Belgium, jumped in the car and headed towards town to let Mr. Person know the whereabouts of his horse.

Mr. Person, already missing the mare from the backyard, was climbing into his truck to start a search. Armed with the latest news, he headed to the farm and Carol drove home to reestablish contact with the abandoned client.    

My old reporter curiosity stirred, concerns about fig trees faded. What was the story? A rider-less horse, a runaway horse, elegant goats? What was the who, what, where and when of Water Valley’s own Doctor Doolittle?

I sent the man himself an email. His prompt answer filled in the unknowns and solved the mystery. 

The reason he brought animals in from the country, he wrote, was that his grass was tall and all his cutting equipment was out of commission at the same time. The nanny goat, Annie, and the billy goat, Scooter, were not big enough eaters to get the job done. So he brought in the old gray mare, Mama Mia, to help them.

After a day here by herself, Mr. Person continued, the horse decided that she would rather be back in the country with other equines. Without asking permission, she left town.

As you can see, the north end of Water Valley is a hot bed of intrigue. Those who say nothing ever happens in a small town never lived on Lafayette Street.

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