Enough of you have been following long enough for me to lower my guard to share an intimacy. I want to introduce a member of the Chatterbox clan who, up until now, hasn’t been mentioned, the only family member who doesn’t live up to the family name of Chatterbox—Ted.
Ted speaks very little. He came to live with us the Christmas of ‘09 when we were snowed in and the only store Mrs. Chatterbox and I could reach on foot was the Rite Aid down the road. We did all our Christmas shopping there. Mrs. C. bought me a package of Metamucil cookies (yum) and a Slinky, and I splurged ten bucks on Ted because Mrs. C. still retained her little girl fetish for horses. I almost picked a puzzle of a black stallion but it came with only eight pieces and Mrs. C., a college graduate, would have been able to piece the puzzle together in less than ten or twenty minutes. So Ted trotted home with us.
But for some reason Ted never warmed up to Mrs. C. and quickly bonded with me. Isn’t this the way it so often happens? My wife named Ted, bathes and feeds him. She sees to it that he’s warm and dry, and flushes him out occasionally with garden hose enemas when he gets backed up, but Ted’s glass eyes only light up for me.
Mrs. C. tells a story about a snowy Christmas when she was six and growing up in Chicago. When the presents were all unwrapped her father asked if she’d gotten everything she wanted—a dumb thing to ask a six-year-old if you ask me—and she stamped her little foot and said, “NO I WANT A PUPPY!” So her dad trudged off into a blizzard on Christmas day and purchased a puppy that grew up to ignore Mrs. C. for the next twelve years. Now Ted ignores her.
Ted and I spend a lot of time together in the afternoon. No! We don’t nap together. Naps are for babies and kindergarten kids. Ted and I enjoy a southern European custom known as a siesta. We spoon a lot, I’m not ashamed to admit it, and we’ve come to accept each other’s sleeping habits. He is a pillow hog and I snore. He’s been known to chase jockeys in his sleep, and he whinnies. But it’s quite soft and doesn’t keep me awake. What does keep me awake is when he eats carrots, which requires us to sleep with a window open.
Unlike most horses, Ted doesn’t have any bones, which makes it possible for him to hold my bottled water when I’m using him as an i-Pad caddy. Truth be told, I think it’s a good thing Ted doesn’t have bones because Mrs. C. is frustrated by the complicated and intimate relationship Ted and I share. She’s even threatened to send Ted to the glue factory, but they won’t take him because glue comes from rending down horse bones. This makes Ted safe. I know this fact about glue because Ted made me Google it.