Bullet Holes and Flying Horses

 

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“Um. Is that a bullet hole?”

Leslie and I stared at the egg-shaped hole in the first floor window of the white-paneled rental house we were staying in for the next two nights. We were stuck on the front porch, trying to get inside, torn between moaning and laughing.

I think we did both.

Around us, evening pressed away the day’s sunshine in quiet, quaint Millersburg, Kentucky. So far it had been a fun, whirlwind afternoon. After a short deplaning on my early morning flight from Tampa, my sweet Ohio friend picked me up in Dayton and drove us to Kentucky’s Creation Museum. We spent a couple of hours perusing the museum and the pretty gardens outside, enjoying the face-to-face time, already wishing for more.

From the Creation Museum we headed on another word-full, wonderful drive through gorgeous horse country to a little town outside Lexington where we’d stay for our weekend visit.

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We planned to spend Saturday at The Rolex, a three-day equestrian event held at the Kentucky Horse Park each April. Leslie had attended with her daughter a few years back, and the fact that we both loved horses and walking was reason enough to plan our only full day together around Saturday’s cross-country jumping event. We couldn’t wait to walk and talk and watch the magnificent horses run the course.

We arrived Friday night at the cute two-bedroom, one bath renovated home complete with kitchen, washer and dryer, and VRBO-approved “super comfy” couch (and it was, though I think even the lumpiest furniture is comfy when you’re around dear friends you can laugh with).

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From the small front porch that evening, Leslie and I eyed the unexpected bonus memento to our weekend home-away-from-home. A bullet hole in the front window.

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“I’m not sleeping in a room with a bullet hole in the window,” one of us mumbled. (Probably me. Leslie’s more daring than I am.)

From there, the problems piled on like fire ants on flip flops.

First we had trouble getting in touch with the owner of the house; there was a code to get inside and we still needed to make sure this was the correct house. Adding spice to our stuck-outside-rental-home-helplessness were the random men walking up and down Millersburg’s main street, obviously curious about our confused goings-on.

Friendly neighbors? We hoped so.

Then came an alarming comment from a local gas station clerk that “she’d gotten a call about that house, I think,” referring to the home we were to stay in. Finally, the number-out-of-service-message when we dialed up the Millersburg police station to inquire about the owner and the house was a bright red maraschino cherry-on-top of our evening.

The police station was out of service?

So, we giggled. We shook our heads, discussed sleeping in the car (many hotels in the area were booked because of the Rolex Event), and giggled some more.

Leslie reminded us to pray, and sure enough, the owner finally returned our calls with the code and an apology because the next-door-neighbor, who was supposed to give us the house code, wasn’t home that evening.

We finally settled into the cozy home, ate dinner and enjoyed a movie, a bag of Cadbury eggs, and much more chatting. Thankfully we could both sleep on the second (bullet-hole free) floor, so the questionable window decoration wasn’t a problem.

The next day was absolutely breathtaking – serene Kentucky horse-country surrounding us, spring blooming on the tree tops, and horses galloping toward jumps I could barely climb over with a ladder. The cross-country event was an amazing show of equine and human athleticism, with flying horses and pounding hooves.

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Leslie and I walked, talked, she laughed at me while I gawked at the multitude of horses and dogs (there were dogs everywhere!), and tried to take selfies during the beautiful day (which will never see the light of day). She gained a copy of my – gulp – (finally printed out, rewritten) fiction book and I gained a renewed love of flying (in an airplane, not on a horse).

And we both gained warm memories of bullet holes and flying horses.

What a gift God has given us in the laughter, care, and concern of the friends of our heart.

“I thank my God upon every remembrance of you…” Philippians 1:6

 

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