My Elvis Sighting

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I’ve been reminded of a story from my life that is fun to tell – I hope I can do it justice in writing – this tale, up until today, has only been an oral story.

When I was 30, I was engaged to someone. I also worked in an office, doing distinctly non-officey things. I was a diamond and precious-gem sorter. The work was interesting and educational, but the atmosphere and the owners were terrible. I met the wonderful Socks at at that job, so I would never choose to delete it from my history. The fiancée was a horrible mistake that thankfully never necessitated extraction by legal means.

Short story: I got fired, and I left him. I’d be glad to tell the long stories if you want me to.

Before I left the man, and after I lost the job, I decided I was entirely sick to death of working in an office. Also, with a big ol’ track record of two firings in a row, I didn’t figure I had much hope in the land of phones and desks and computers for a while. So, as I was scouring the adverts in the paper I expanded my usual search parameters. I’d do just about anything; but as you do, I kept an eye open for the things that actually sounded good.

So, I rang to apply for a job at a horse farm. Mucking out stalls, cutting the pastures, etc.

I had at that point maybe five months cumulative lifetime experience with taking care of horses. And I was 30, not too out of shape, but not physically fit either. Not a chance, thinks I.

Somehow I got phone-approval by the owner of the farm and I was told to come out and meet the barn manager for an on-site interview.

Just ask for Elvis, the Barn Manager, he told me.

Whoo, boy, thinks I. No way am I going to pull one over on a professional horse-guy named Elvis who actually manages a barn full of what I had been told were very, very, valuable racehorses. Not a chance. I’m not experienced, I’m not terribly young anymore, and I’ve sat behind a desk most of my life. Fuck it, says I, all I can do is try, right?

So I show up, on time of course (all those office interviews drill that into you quite well). And… Oh my. It’s 20 acres of private property, with an electric buzz-in gate, and a house I that I soon learned was worth 2 million and a barn worth 1mil, and an artificial stream that started near the house and ran gently down to a Koi pond and then a lake. It was beautiful, and perfect, and I was so out of my league!

I wasn’t backing out, but my hopes had totally gone when I saw the fancy gate and the perfectly fenced pastures. Still, I was going to meet someone actually named Elvis! At least I’d have a good story about failed job hunting.

Five seconds after parking and walking up to the barn, my possible story got way more interesting. Elvis came out to meet me; complete with cowboy boots, Wrangler jeans, proper cowboy hat, and a blue bandanna around his throat.

Elvis was a black man.

I blinked back my presuppositions based on his name – it never occurred to me that anyone who wasn’t white and from Nashville would name a child Elvis – and I smiled and said I was there to interview for the job of Farm Hand.

Elvis asked a few questions which I answered honestly – nope, I had no clue how to train horses for anything. Nope, never driven a tractor. Nope, no experience with horses injured on the track, or ones about to give birth, or weanlings or yearlings. Nope, nope, nope.

Oh well, thinks I. It was worth it, I tried, and I really like this guy – he’s the real deal, the first cowboy I ever met (he told me he was a former bare-back rodeo rider!), and I’m glad I had a stereotype I didn’t even know that I owned broken so completely and utterly.

Then he told me to go and meet some of the horses, who were still in their stalls awaiting the morning turn-out. Hell, ya! I am so not getting the job, but at least I get to meet some horsies!

He directed me to the first stall in the barn by the door and asked me what I thought of the young filly inside. She came up, stuck her head out, and we had a good old conversation. Me being a bit shy with her, as I really didn’t know where horses liked to be touched, scratched, etc. She was really sweet and put up with my fumbling, however.

When I turned away, Elvis told me I was hired. My jaw must have hit the straw, because he explained why. It seems that this particular horse had a huge fear of everyone, and no one could approach her at all, at all! She was way too old for that attitude, and now she would be ‘my horse’ to gentle for the track.

I spoke Horse, apparently! It was a dream come true, and I worked there all that year and the next summer, too.

But that’s another story.

27 responses »

  1. Wow! This sounds SO like an experience I had… hired over the phone, had only actually ridden, never actually WORKED on a horse farm, thoroughbred horses, even the black guy at the farm (only his name was SPeedy and he was a little old fashioned.) But that’s about where it stopped. I worked with these three devil women (one of whom, though 20 years his junior, was “dating” the 73 year old man who owned the farm.)

    Incidentally, I wanna hear the long stories about the ex ! LOL

  2. don’t suppose you’ve kept the option of filly-gentler open? surely there in the emerald place, there must be horse folk? you’ve said it yourself: office work, agggghhh; other work prolly OK. >:-D

    i think I’m about 15 yrs your senior and so I’ve had more time to have more jobs–pretty sure no two were alike and NOW I really appreciate that. same ole, same ole gets stale way too easily. also appreciate the opportunity to do ART and not mess with computers and phones and oh my! except for blogging and friends, oh yes!

    i love this story and want more of it. pleeeeeease?! tell about being with that filly…. anything, just MORE! >:-D

    • No, Mayo isn’t one of the big horse-counties unfortunately. There was someone hiring when I was looking, but it was too far away for the money. I did apply to be a demonstrator of hunting falcons, though! Didn’t get it. Oh, and once I applied to be an elephant trainer at a small zoo. Still wish I’d gotten a shot at that.

      Okay, boss lady, I’ll have to see what else I have in my memory banks!

  3. Oh, a lucky star nudged you! How wonderfull. Never never underestimate a horse for being a good judge of a person. Besides you were perfect for the job – unknowingly spoke horse and ready to be trained without having to unlearn: a diamond in the rough (your old job was related in the cosmos)
    Very cool.

  4. Oh, My! What a story! I thought that you would be fired as usual.But I have to say that some people have all the luck. Read your story at one breath. You have a knack for story writing. I like it very much. Bookmarked your blog.

    • Aaa! I was just hoping to get hired :) I didn’t get fired from that job – actually I’ve only ever been fired three times, ever – and I’ve been working for businesses since I was about 8? 10? Thank you, I forget sometimes that our lives can be interesting even when it’s just part of trying to find a job.

  5. I’m apparently good with nearly any animal near me. And small scared children. I’ve heard “So in so hates people” and end up with that animal in my lap. Shrug. I let them lead the encounter.

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