Emjay is a slightly troublesome Vox neighbour of mine.
In a nice way. She regularly publishes gorgeous photographically illustrated accounts of life in her town which occupy far too much of my time and limited solar power in viewing admiration, and occasionally they also send me scurrying back on nostalgic journeys into my past.
Such was the case when she included the picture of a draught horse in a photo documentary.
When we first moved to GOF's Paradise, I desperately wanted the first farm animal resident to be a draught horse. Unfortunately it was going to cost several thousand dollars at a time when we were earning considerably less than $100 per week, so the dream did not come true.
Until the late 1960's, suburban Melbourne still had the "Milko";
Vendors with draught horses pulling drays, home delivering milk in glass bottles with silver foil lids which would regularly occasion fingerly harm when us kids attempted to open them incorrectly.
The Agricultural College I attended was built on 6000 acres, at least 20 miles away from any town. It had, in effect, its own self sufficient little township of Currawa housing all the 100 staff necessary to operate such an esteemed institution, along with their families.
Occasionally our student work roster would have us out of bed before 5 am to prepare Pip the draught horse, reverse her into the 4 wheeled milk cart harness, load bottled milk from the farm dairy, and home deliver it according to the written list of recipients we were given.
It mattered not if, in the dark, we could not identify which house belonged to whom. Pip knew from all her years of experience on the job, and she would only stop at the houses which needed milk delivered.
Whilst clopping along between houses she would perform an equine rectal extravaganza;
Farts (and sometimes more) of such depth and richness, magnitude and frequency, that they provided top shelf comedic entertainment for teenage boys.
Most of us loved Pip.
Draught horses are the Dalai Lama's of the animal world.
They are gentle in deed and thought.
They are, quite simply, beautiful animals.
Pip died in 1967.
Her death brought a sorrowfull pall of gloom over the whole campus and community.
A sadness that I can still recall after all this time with almost as much clarity as that which followed the assassination of JFK in the same decade.
Pip was one of the greatest ambassadors for animals I ever knew.