If I had a column in the Delft op Zondag

(Not the real)
Delft op Zondag


26 MARCH 2017

Morris 1980-2017

DELFT - In the old days, people had to speak bad news into a telephone; the person hearing it had to say something. It was awkward since the hearer had no time to absorb, think of what had happened before having to say anything about it. Just a few days ago, I had a text from my partner.

I read on my phone that Morris died the night before in his sleep. There was time to think about Morris before we were together next. My partner has had Morris ever since she took up riding. He was a bigger than usual horse with an sense of presence. Simply, he was a fine-looking fellow. His head was a little larger which was thought to make him look noble. For over 35 years, he pretty much was top horse at the stable. Everyone was fond of him.


From Wiki: "The Battle of Karbala is commemorated during an annual 10-day period held every Muharram by Shia and Alevi, culminating on its tenth day, known as the Day of Ashura. Shia Muslims commemorate these events by mourning, holding public processions..."

In social conversations when my partner was asked how she spent her time, she put her children and grandchildren at the top. Then she said Morris, adding her new horse Fendi after that. I usually piped up saying I was on the list but farther down, after the horses and dog. I did not mind so long as I was definitely on her long list somewhere.

Getting old did not seem to bother Morris. I heard that he might abruptly break into a gallop when he felt in the mood. He also liked the beach so my partner took him through the woods out to where horses and dogs were allowed to run. She was with Morris for hours at least 4 days a week. Sundays for us begin after she comes back from the stables, which lets me wake lazily, but I no longer ask 'how's Morris?'.

For many years, Morris was rented for the Day of Ashura procession and symbolized Zuljinah, Iman Hussain ibn Ali's horse. Perhaps Morris' sad eyes suited the legend that Zuljinah shed a single tear when his master died. Morris looked the part.

Morris was not white which Zuljinah was said to have been; however, he had the appearance and stature of a noble nature. Nor did he seem to mind all the things he had to wear in the procession. My partner led him for some years in a row.

She told me each year that he was not disturbed by crowds of people round him, noisy and emotional in their religious display. She was not so easy at the head of the line but said there was never a problem. Morris did his part: he looked noble.

That said Morris could be very suspicious over something like a puddle in the horse path or a thing that he did not remember being there 'always'. He eagerly ate the peeled oranges my partner often brought him - just 'cause he was Big Mo: Morris.

I have come to think of my partner in terms of the American expression 'horse whisperer'. It was mutual, I think. They knew each other, ups and downs, for a long time. So, we raised a glass of the good stuff the other day to Morris: Godspeed.

G. Wiley / NLStrabo - © Copyright - All rights reserved - gwileynl@gmail.com
In memory of Herb Caen