A Farrier

Becky ended up at the employment office in Harrisburg, VA, where she learned she could get federal financial support in a job retraining program. Ted had told her about a girl he knew who spent a lot of money getting shoes on her horse. One of the programs that received the federal money was a farrier's school in Martinsville, Virginia. Becky was a tall, strong girl with an abiding affection for horses, so off to Martinsville she went at government expense in Ted's Volkswagen.

Becky, a farrierBecky learned to forge steel, identify hoof problems and treat them with custom-forged corrective shoes and proper trim, to stand under a horse, and everything else a farrier needs to know except how to protect her spine. She was at the school for three months, followed by a short apprenticeship, and returned to Grottoes only once or twice during that time. Ted was busy riding his bike to work and, unattached to Becky, was resisting temptation by the local female finery from the Church of the Brethern.

A couple of months later, Becky was back in Rockingham County. She bought a big used black pickup truck, got it pimped out with custom logos on the doors. Ted built a forge for her bolted to the truck bed. They couldn't bolt down her anvil, though, which slid around as she drove, pimpling the bed walls with what Becky called anvil dings. Becky and Ted resumed job sharing at the bicycle shop in Harrisonburg.

As many of us learned, the money wasn't very good in Back-to-Natureville. Short late-season hours at the bike shop, then no hours at all when the shop folded, and launching a horseshoeing career, coupled with the expense of running a big truck in need of maintenance, made for a cold winter. Becky and Ted returned to Arlington.

Back in Arlington, Ted went back to work for Sports and Cycles. Becky worked at First Foto (a lab that specialized in photos of newborns taken in hospitals). During the years she and Ted lived together, Becky developed a psychological jaundice for the skills he acquired from the deCapiteau School of Advanced Studies in Assholery, so soon she headed out on her own to make a go at farriery in the horse country around Upperville, Virginia.