The great American, Benjamin Franklin, is supposed to have said,
“Believe none of what you hear and only half of what you see.”
I grew up believing that:
As it turns out, Benjamin Franklin was right.
Not a single one is true!
Even so, I am not going to swallow gum, launch a new boat on Friday or taunt a bull with red cape..…just in case. Bulls, it seems, are attracted to the movement of the cape, not the colour, but I have one story that demonstrates that some horses are definitely attracted to red.
While visiting one summer, I wanted to walk down to the farthest tip of West Head with Dad. I wanted him to show me where my great-grandparents, John and Wilhemina Roache, lived when he was a boy. I had heard that there were remnants of foundations of houses that had burned down long before I was born, including my great-grandparents’ home.
Family folklore maintained that all their belongings had been stored safely in a shed. Hmmmm. Did Great-grandmother Wilhemina, a devoted Baptist, have a hand in it? Say it isn’t true…p-l-e-a-s-e! They left the end of West Head and moved “up the road” closer to town where both the weather and the land are much more hospitable. Dad and I jumped in his brand, spanking new 1985 GM truck and drove as far down as possible and then set out to walk to the very end. There were several horses grazing in a field near the truck, but we didn’t think anything of it. I preferred horses over long-horned cattle that shared the space. That was until Dad just happened to look back and observed something bizarre unfolding. The horses had circled the flashy, shiny, RED truck. Stranger still, the horses reared up and placed their hooves squarely on the hood of the truck.
In a split second, fire flew from Dad’s eyes and his rage was evident. He hollered at them, pelted them with rocks, but the horses paid no attention. Had they had fallen under the spell of the RED truck? Were they smelling the paint? Were they licking the paint?
Nope, they were actually EATING the paint.
Had I not witnessed it with my own eyes, I would have dismissed it as another one of Dad’s far-fetched yarns. The horses were not remotely fazed by our presence and kept up their gnawing. Our afternoon walk down memory lane came to a screeching halt. We returned to the truck, jumped in and took off for home. Dad was livid. He stormed into the house saying very nasty things about horses in general — starvegutted, cursed, the spawn of Satan, good-for-nothing varmints.
Fortunately, this type of damage is covered by the comprehensive portion of vehicle insurance. The next day, Dad called his insurance company to report what had happened. An adjuster came out to survey the damage. Dad repeated the events to him and I was there to confirm his story. The adjuster had never heard such a story in his long career.
The brainstorming began and the adjuster presented several possibilities. The truck had been vandalized by Martians or scratched up by blowing sand or keyed by someone with a grudge or dented by a freak hail storm or had collided with a low flying flock of geese. After much discussion, the adjuster agreed to submit a claim for damage that occurred in the Shelburne Mall parking.
The adjuster had to lie??? Weird.
In due time, Dad’s truck was repainted and no one would have guessed there had been any previous damage. Everything looked as good as new and he drove it for at least twenty years.