Clarence ran his farrier supply business from a house trailer parked next to his home. It had been there long enough that walking up the porch and in the door made one consider each step to avoid crashing through. The store was full of horse shoes of all shapes and sizes, nails, rasps, clinchers and the other tools that a farrier needs to care for hooves. Everything inside was low tech and very similar to the supplies that have been used for hundreds of years except for the Elmo projection system. Clarence's eyes had worked well for about 70 years but lately they were preventing him from reading anything much smaller than a billboard. His son had installed the Elmo so that Clarence could place bills or checks on the platform and enlarge them onto a screen.

Most of the time, Clarence trusted his customers to handled the totaling of purchases and the exchange of checks or currency. There were very few incidents when someone took advantage of Clarence's eyesight. A farrier told the me the story of five farriers visiting someone who had cheated Clarence on some horseshoes. It seems that the five of them made quite an impression with a minimum of violence. I never knew if the story was true, but there were enough stories that it served as a protection policy for the business.

Clarence also sold hay. You could pull up to the farrier supply trailer just about any time and soon enough he would come out of his house with his whole pack of dogs keeping him company. It was always hard to believe that there was enough room in the house for all those dogs, but he loved his dogs. Once he knew you wanted hay, he would crank up his fork lift and begin the process of moving and loading hay. If he could not do it with the fork lift, you knew that you would be providing the labor for stacking bales or tying down the load. There were many visits when you had to help get the forklift running or run the machine yourself. None of that really seemed to matter though, as most of the people who did business with Clarence were his friends.

There was another reason. Clarence's wife of over 60 years had Alzheimers. Clarence was inside with his wife until a customer pulled up in the drive, otherwise, he was by her side. He tried having her in a nursing home, but she just did not like not being in her home, even when she did not remember it or him. We often talked about how she was doing but never about how hard it was to have her home. He complained about how hard it was to get a good nurse to visit, but never about the time he devoted to her.

Clarence closed the shop for ten days when she died. Then it was back to selling hay and horseshoes. When I next bought hay, we talked for hour and he wept remembering all the good times they had shared.

Lee McGavin
Cedar Park, TX 2009

Add your story to this page!

Comment on this Story

Add a New Comment

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License