One chilly afternoon as I was feeding my two old sweeties and handing out snacks, this pair of rather unlikely friends stood vigil at the fence.

They weren’t at the gate with the others. Instead, they chose a spot where I’m sure they thought I couldn’t miss them.

They know me so well!

On the right is Old Joe.

He’s a grizzled old gelding, big and beat up from all his life experience. He’s actually a sweetheart, but because of his size, he gets deferential treatment from the other horses.

Joe goes where he wants.

Joe does what he wants.

Period.

End of story.

We have a soft spot for Joe, in part because his people helped me get “unstuck” when I drove into a snowdrift last winter. But mostly we like him because he is a horse of great soul. All you have to do is look into his face and you’ll experience the depth of his being.

On the left is Brio.

Now that Baby is gone, he’s the youngest horse in the herd.

And he’s fearless.

There isn’t a horse out there that he won’t approach.

Sometimes he gets told in rather strong horse language to get lost, but it never seems to deter his inquisitive spirit and boundless youthful energy.

Brio still has a lot to learn in terms of horse manners. He’s had some training and could use a tad more. Okay, maybe two tads more!

Sometimes I’ve seen Joe snap at Brio. It’s as if he’s using his best W.C. Fields imitation: “Go away kid. You bother me.” But other times, Joe seems a willing teacher.

And on this particular afternoon, when both were cold and hungry, Joe allowed Brio to stand with him.

Watching Joe and Brio made me think about friendships.

How sometimes we miss out on really great friends because we limit ourselves.

We may only choose friends of our same generation. Or those with similar interests. Or same lifestyle. Or values, or income.  Or??

Years ago, my mother’s dearest friend was at least twenty years her junior. She always said knowing Pat kept her young. I think it was true. When you saw them together talking, or sharing the occasional forbidden cigarette, you never thought anything about their difference in age.

They were friends.

And just like Brio and Old Joe, had much to learn from each other.

Is your life enriched by “unlikely friendships?”

I hope so.

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