Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Ollie, ollie, oxen free.

Met this guy Gary at our Heritage Week festivities here in New Harmony last year. Lives somewhere near the Kentucky-Tennessee line. Used to be a museum director and now does this thing where he takes his beautiful team of four 6-year-old oxen around to these historical festivals, to show people how it used to be. He does other things, but this is the one with which I’m most familiar.

The oxen are amazing creatures. Rare to be around animals of their sort these days, unless one lives on a farm. He’s very kind to them, never takes to the whip, always praises good work. We could all learn a variety of lessons...

Gary looks a tough customer—visually reminds me more than a little of Picasso—but he’s actually a lovely, gentle man. Quiet force of nature. Not unlike his charges.

I didn’t photograph him last year. Friends Bill Steber and Pat Casey Daley were here and we had a great time talking and hanging out with Gary and the team. Wasn’t going to let the opportunity slip by again when I found he was here this year (last weekend).