Oliver trotted back over to the paddock near where the other three were hanging out.
“Did ya see that guys? Huh? Did everybody see what just happened there?” he asked of no one in particular.
Francine paused her chewing and looked at him. She rolled her eyes and went back to chewing the mouthful of hay she was working on.
Jack was over by some kids watching them. They were about 10 years old, plus or minus, probably brother and sister; and sister had an apple. She’d only taken a couple of bites from it and Oliver immediately knew that Jack intended to snatch it.
“Get away from those kids, Jack,” Oliver warned, “don’t even think about it.”
Jack looked back at him, over his shoulder, “Whut? I’m not doin’ nuthin. What’re you talkin’ ‘bout Oliver?”
“Leave the little girl alone Jack,” Oliver cautioned him again, “I can see her apple and it’s hers. You can’t have it.”
Jack slowly turned and meandered back to the others. He was muttering to himself.
With the crisis of pending apple theft averted Oliver turned back to Francine and asked again, “Francine, did you see what happened over there a minute ago? Did you see that guy? He put his arm around my neck, and just stood there hugging me.”
Jenny was next to Francine. She looked up with a mouthful of hay, “So what?”
“That’s the reason I love this job. I love that every so often here I feel like I’m doing something meaningful.”
Jenny got fire in her eyes and the hay flew from her mouth, “Damnit Oliver, there was nothing meaningful there. It was just a hug. You’re always trying to read more into things. It was no big deal. Knock it off with the drama already!”
“I’m telling you Jenny, it was a big deal. It was a big deal for him. Did you notice we stood there hugging for almost 15 minutes? Huh? Did you notice that Jenny? You don’t know anything. We bonded over there. We connected.”
Jack snorted and Francine picked up another mouthful of hay. Oliver and Jenny just stared at one another. Finally Jack broke the silence, “So, if you guys are best buds now Ollie, what’s the dude’s name? Huh? Did yer new friend even tell you his name? Maybe, he asked you for your phone number?” Jack snickered. “That girl over there, the one with the apple? The one you thought I was gonna rob? Yeah? Her name is Nancy. I read it on her nametag. You don’t even know your new pal’s name. I don’t think you’re all that close.”
“Our connection transcended the trivialities of things like names. Our connection was more spiritual than that.” Oliver announced.
As one, the others brayed and jeered at him. In unison they shouted, “Don’t be such a dweeb Ollie.”
Sputtering and stammering, Oliver turned to go back by the railing, to interact with the guests, he looked back over his shoulder when he was about halfway there and quietly said to his friends, “I’m telling you – we had a moment. I made a difference in his day.”
Jenny farted and waved her tail, Jack snorted again.
Francine scrunched up her face, “Damn Jenny, that’s just nasty.”
Some good photos to spark a story here today – Are you feeling adventurous?