Someone has stolen David and Amy Flach’s horse. They’d like to get the horse back, so they offered a description, to wit:
Mecca, estimated to be 16 years old, is described as having speckles and a scar on its right rear knee.
Sigh. Horses don’t have “rear knees.” Neither does any other four-legged animal. They have two knees, just like us. The hind legs fold the other way, and the joint that allows such movement is called a hock. After years in the newspaper business, I can tell you that these little details mean a lot. If you get them wrong, people who notice assume everything else is wrong, too. As a horseman, I don’t expect lay folk to know the difference between a cannon bone and a croup, but I don’t think it’s too much to expect a reporter to know the difference between a knee and a hock. We’ve all heard of ham hocks, haven’t we?
It’s little details like this that make reporters and editors such fearsome contestants on “Jeopardy!” And if we’re ever together in New York, and hail the Cash Cab? You should let me do the talking.
Speaking of quadrupeds, Kate and I went on a grocery run yesterday and ran across a living Nativity. Of course we stopped; anyone who passes a living Nativity is a person who deserves coal in their stocking. When we actually got to the tent, however, we found that we were either too early or too late, as the Nativity had no Mary, no Joseph, no Magi, no baby Jesus, but did have two donkeys, two sheep, three goats and a chicken munching hay in a pen under a tent, next to a caged rabbit.
“I missed the part about rabbits in the Gospel of Luke,” I said to the man next to me, who didn’t get the joke.
There was a camel outside, ruminating, held by a man dressed as a shepherd. His Gore-Tex boots peeked from under his robe while he discussed the living Nativity circuit with a friend: “Yeah, we’re in Sterling Heights tomorrow, then Roseville, I forget where else.” Make that camel pay for its hay, dude.
We aren’t religious, but I try to explain its rituals whenever I can, so Kate won’t be entirely ignorant of the world. I searched for one in this menagerie, considered telling her the legend of how the donkey got the cross on its back and realized it would confuse her, as it’s a Holy Week story, and it’s only Christmas.
“I once knew someone who had a donkey named Milton. Milton Burro,” I said, lamely. She didn’t get that, either.
Holiday picture week continues. Here’s frequent commenter Brian Stouder’s wife Pam and daughter Chloe with the Man last week, photo taken at Pottersville Mall. Chloe appears to be asking for her own domain for Christmas, as MySpace is just so over:
Keep ’em coming.