The Farm Chronicles: Horse poop in the foyer

There was quite a horse community at my high school. We lived in a rural area and many of my schoolmates participated in horse 4-H. We competed against one another at horse shows. And though we were from different backgrounds and townships and were fierce competitors in the show ring, we were good friends and a happy go lucky bunch that enjoyed a good prank on one another now and then. I was always joking around in class, asking the teachers trick questions and hoaxing unwitting classmates. In all of that, we had a known circle of “horse” people at school and among them were a couple of ornery tricksters, of which I was identified as chief among them, tight roping between mischief and trouble.

Our school had a main entrance where the busses picked up and dropped off students. A lot of us had hour-long bus rides to school because we lived in such a rural area. This heightened the freedom of finally getting off the bus each morning to stretch our legs and move again. The school foyer was large with a library on one side and a small auditorium on the other. It was a meeting place and the first area anyone saw when entering the school. It was actually part of an expensive addition for which the school board and administration had fought for years to get funding. So you didn’t mess with the foyer. This is where the story gets interesting. Art students Barb Grudosky and Melody Wood created “Patches,” a life-sized paper-mache and plaster of paris horse. They won a special award at an art show for their excellent work.

The administration allowed Patches to be on display in the school foyer. Everybody walked by and petted Patches. He was a big deal. My future wife Chris got the big idea of making Patches even more lifelike. One morning she went out to her barn and scooped up some horse poop into a brown paper grocery bag and brought it with her to school. She got off the bus, walked by Patches, dumped the bag of poop behind him and kept on walking. She later returned to observe the reactions from afar. You can imagine the uproar this caused among students, and the “Administration” was none too happy to see their precious foyer defiled like that. An announcement over the loudspeaker blared, “The person who put the horse poop behind the horse in the foyer must report to the office immediately.”

Of course, no one knew who did it. But guess who got the blame for it? Classmates started rumors. I was questioned by the principle. Nobody believed me. Chris never told. And it was a mystery for years, but there was a clue. In her Senior Spotlight story a couple of years later she was asked about her time at the school. She replied, “I enjoyed it, as long as I can cause trouble and not get caught.” No one caught on. She revealed her mischievous secret some years later at a class reunion. As Christ said in Luke 8:17, “For nothing is secret that will not be revealed.” In time, this is true. But I’m sure somebody out there is still convinced that I did it because sweet, innocent little Chris would never do anything like that. Uh huh.

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Bill Wilson