A COMIC'S VIEW: Too late to bolt the barn door?


OVER the past few days, I have thought on the meaning of that old idiom “closing the barn door after the horse is gone”.

To be fair, we don’t have many “barn doors” in this country, so although I got the gist of the expression, it became crystal clear to me this week what the originator of that phrase was trying to say. I’ve even been able to come up with a bedtime story to better explain it to my kids, and, one day theirs.

The Chronicles of Covid

In the days after our “farm” was re-opened to the world on July 1, 2020, our Covid-19 numbers, which were holding steady at 104, suddenly raced to a scary 124.

With all the barn doors open and the horses loose, some Thoroughbreds (with plenty money, apparently) bolted for the nearby Miami Farm for a quick shopping trip, and were generous enough to bring back some Covid-19 souvenirs.

Other Warmbloods, those party animals, decided to make their way down to a few rented Air Bales and Barns to partake in backyard boogies with not a harness nor blinder in sight. They danced, and imbibed, and no doubt also shared a virus or two, as Warmbloods are won’t to do.

Some American Quarter Horses, quite stealthy at evading farm protocols, made their way inside. And having saved up their hay for just that day, the Quarter Horses decided that their long-held dream of galloping on the breezy, sun-kissed beaches would not be denied, regardless of whether those beaches were open or not.

Once caught by a few farm boars, days after their infraction, the Quarter Horses insisted a senior brown boar had given them permission to roam the beach despite that being way above the imaginary boar’s paygrade to authorise. Those Quarter Horses were banished from the farm but not before “a stern talking to”.

During all this, there were other happenings on the farm as well.

A few hens, under the less than watchful eyes of the owls, decided to throw a party in the Farm Courts, and recorded it for all the other animals to see (and envy). The hens gyrated, they clucked, they “bruck it down,” and they had a good old time. Once the video of their hen-party went viral, the old owls, who no doubt would deny being birds of a feather, promised a full investigation. We are still waiting on that report to this day.

Now the farmer, busy touring expensive new buildings on the farm, must have forgotten he was also the farm doctor because he was a no-show at the important weekly ‘Health of the Farm’ meeting.

Indeed, Farmer Minnis left it to others to break the news that Covid-19 was infecting more animals.

Sandy, an ambitious Clydesdale and the previous farm doctor, had warned that more testing was needed on the farm. But, honestly, not many of the other animals paid him any mind since he had been unceremoniously put out to pasture.

The Andalusian, a fancy horse who basically controlled the comings and goings on the farm, admitted that entry protocols were...well...slack.

Horses, and cattle, and donkeys, and goats from all over somehow figured out how to fake their Covid-19 test papers to gain entry to the farm.

There was a feeling of deep fear, distrust, and many unanswered questions on the farm.

The sheep, who were numerous, mumbled and grumbled and spoke of retribution during elections which (truthfully) were a very long way off.

“What will the Farmer do?” the sheep began asking.

“He will take away our milk and honey,” the bulls bellowed.

“No, I bet he will lock down the barrels of hops and barleys!” the sheep angrily baa’ed.

None, not the chickens, nor pigs, nor ducks, nor turkeys, nor cats, nor dogs, nor cows, nor sheep knew the answer.

As the perilous Covid-19 spread, they wondered, “What can Farmer Minnis do?” while looking around; the barn door was wide open and the horses were gone.

• To be continued


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