Thieving

Melbourne’s winter has been sunny and bitingly cold.
The other day my husband and I went for a walk.

When I was a kid and it was sunny, I went walking.
Walking through paddocks, walking in bush, walking on the beach.
Even better than walking was riding my bike.
Absolute bliss was riding a horse.

I have a memory, from somewhere between 10 and 12, that includes each of these elements.
There was walking, biking and horsing.
And thieving.

The memory involves myself and two friends; lets call them Beth and Maya.
One sunny day, Beth and I rode to Maya’s house.
The ride to Maya’s house was quite a journey.
Steep hills of sandy gravel to be flung down.
Actual intersections to navigate.
And the last, monotonous stretch of corrugated road to rattle down.
We were committed to the journey because of what was at the end.
Ponyboy and Sexy Boy.

Ponyboy lived on Maya’s road.
He was scruffy with brown hair that was always falling over his eyes.
He was a Shetland pony. We named him ‘Ponyboy’ in honour of S.E.Hinton’s character in The Outsiders.
Sexy Boy was a dappled grey Arabian horse who lived in the same paddock.
We called him ‘Sexy Boy’ because compared to Ponyboy, he was.
We were balmy for horses and would spend hours standing at their fence.
We would click and offer handfuls of grass.
We stared longingly and then quickly averted our eyes when we had their attention, taking the submissive stance necessary for an introduction to a horse.

This time, the standing, clicking, offering and staring was not enough.
We decided that we really should climb into the paddock so that we could pat them.
‘It’s not bad,’ we reasoned with ourselves, ‘It’s not like we’re stealing or anything.’

We had a great time.
We patted them until our hands were caked with dust.
We plaited their manes.
We took turns trying to heave one another onto the back of Sexyboy for a ride.

But eventually we felt the patting, plaiting and heaving was just not enough.
We decided that we really should have a proper ride, complete with all the tack.
‘If we ask very nicely,’ we steeled ourselves, ‘and maybe mention how many Pony Pals books Maya has, the owners will definitely want us to ride their horses.’

We walked down the long driveway practicing our scripted request. It demonstrated our perfect manners.
Alas, the owners were not home. We knocked on the door three times and pressed our faces up against each window just to be sure.
How disappointing.

After all our practicing, knocking and pressing we could not just give up.
‘If we happen to find the saddle and bridle, and only ride them in their paddock,’ we hypothesised, ‘it wouldn’t really be stealing. We wouldn’t be taking anything, just rearranging.’

We found a shed that looked perfect for happening upon horse riding gear. There were barrels of grain and hay bales galore. Very promising. I noticed a fridge in the corner of the shed. In the name of being thorough, I decided to check the fridge.
The most splendid sight met my eyes.
Row upon row, stack upon stack, of beer.
The repeated pattern of green and red made quite a visual impact.
My two friends came to stand with me in awe.

‘If we nick one,’ we schemed, ‘they probably wouldn’t notice.’
And so we thieved.
Quick sticks, I grabbed a can. Like lightning, we fled the vacant property up the driveway. We pummeled our bike pedals up the road in search of a hideout.

Squashed between two rows of hay bales, we shared out booty.
One third of a can of froth each, and what lager hadn’t been transformed from our get away.
I’d seen the ad.
Apparently, you can get it horsing.

After that little episode I got back on the straight-and-narrow.
No more thieving while out and about.
That was my motto.

And then the other day I inadvertently broke it. I was having a little jog and had to jump over a pile of rubbish, spilling over the pavement. An office chair in bits, cardboard flying about and a pretty tile. I rescued the tile and carried on my merry way.

It was only later that I looked at the back of the tile and realised I must have pilfered someone’s attempt at a roadside stall. Oh dear.

Melbourne’s winter has been sunny and bitingly cold.
The other day my husband and I went for a walk.
While walking I found this tile sitting on the side of the road.

It was amongst a pile of broken bathroom tiles and garden cuttings.
I recited my motto.
I asked my conscience and my husband.
It was cleared as a freebie find. Not thieving.
Phew.

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About freedom finder

I like books, plants and second-hand goodness. I like things that are free. I really like it when those two likes combine. I'm a Christian and want to take Jesus up on his offer of abundant life. I want to spend more time without money and spend more thoughts on freedom.
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One Response to Thieving

  1. Love your honesty, Freedom Finder!!

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