We are scheduled to leave for France in a few weeks. (Cue the panic attack regarding what to wear, how we’re going to navigate, communicate, or order anything I recognize as food that doesn’t involve brains or horsemeat.) The chevalier situation is actually the most disconcerting as I’m sure my husband is going to try to freak me out by sneaking it past me. If I find I have been tricked into eating horsemeat I will throttle him in a foreign country and end up on the show “Locked Up Abroad.”

I tried to explain to him that as a former rodeo queen and horse trainer, the thought of eating one of those gorgeous animals is repellent. I learned during my short stint as a ranch manager in East Texas when I was 20 that each horse has its own personality. Some are adorable, some demanding, and as we used to say, some had nothing wrong with them a bullet wouldn’t fix.

But I wouldn’t EAT them.

Here’s where I get totally off topic and talk about cats. Why? Because even though this could be a separate post all together, I have no self-restraint today.

During the ranch days, I also learned that barn cats have a pretty high mortality rate. We always had strays around the barn. They’d get into the walls and have litters. Some would survive and we’d feed them and tickle their heads while they slept in a cluster of ears and tails on a pile of saddle blankets. But some didn’t survive.

This still seems so surreal to me – but part of my responsibilities was to take the kittens that hadn’t survived, roll them up in the empty paper feed bags, carry them down beside the lake in the evening and cremate them. I suppose I managed that because it was part of my job, and I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it. A city girl might freak out, but a country girl, a ranch hand, would not. I really wanted to be a ranch girl.

Sometimes when I’m feeling particularly wimpy I remind myself of those days – standing alone by the lake as the sun went down (after checking the area for water moccasins) and setting kittens on fire. Dead kittens, but still, kittens. 

Looking back I wonder why the people who owned the ranch didn’t have the cats fixed – but maybe that’s just a country thing. If you took every stray cat you found on your property to the vet you’d be running a recovery home for wayward cats, rather than a horse ranch.

AND we’re back to horse talk. Maybe I should get tested for A.D.D. But where some might say this post is disjointed, I prefer to call it “dynamic.” 

This whole horsemeat as dinner thing is troublesome because I seem to be able to turn a blind eye to beef, pork, and yes, sometimes even lamb and veal. If it helps, I feel terrible afterward though. Especially if City Slickers comes on and I see Norman’s soft little snout. Believe me, I would be a vegetarian (or at least give it a try) if I could eat lettuce and actually LIKED vegetables other than corn, carrots, green beans and peas. Unfortunately, those are the only veggies I will eat without a deep-fried breaded coating and/or ranch dressing. Or cheese.

So, what have we learned?

No chevalier for dinner, although I HAVE threatened a horse before.

I am tougher than I look.

Everything is better when battered and fried, but I should probably consider vitamin supplements, or a V8. 

If I go missing after the trip, watch for me on Locked Up Abroad.


  1. :D Ann, you certainly have hidden strengths. You should add to your profile “Kitten cremations a speciality”. No one is to know you were providing a humane send-off. I’m pretty sure your husband is winding you up about the horse meat situation! Hope you have a wonderful time and bon voyage!

    • Thank you, Jo! The kitten thing seems a bit dark, even for me! But I can guarantee, Robert is going to try to sneak some horse meat into one of his meals at least. He is determined.

      • for posting on FB lhigaung out loud at these! I’ve been Mammy, Mama, Mom, Mum. My son thinks flying business is normal class and yes indeed does know the best airport lounges for his favourite snacks, games etc. And coming from the UK I’ve replace the loo with the bathroom! And as you say when the guilt about ruining / making their lives comes I’m still glad I gave him such a breadth of experience at such a young age that will make him a more rounded person!

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