Friday, December 7, 2007

Clip Clop is a Real Word

While clearing the snow from the sidewalk in front of my house the other day, I heard a nostalgic sound. Two officers of the Mounted Unit were slowly clip clopping down my street. Fine, the officers weren't clip clopping, their mounts were. The cops were saying hello and waving to a couple of kids walking by. Not an unusual sight downtown on the main streets, but this was a first for me down our side street.

Being a downtown city kid in the fifties this was a sound I heard almost every day: our bread, eggs and milk were all delivered by men in company uniforms driving horse drawn wagons. Ice and coal, too. The horses knew their customers, dutifully stopping at the appropriate houses on their routes.

We would run out to give them the occasional sugar cube, carrot or apple.

This was very brave of us, little fingers gingerly heading towards Dobbin's giant teeth.

And for our courage, we would be rewarded with horse shit. Watching animals poo was always a great amusement.

I don't think that's changed today. I don't mean for me I mean for kids.

Then we'd grab shovels larger than we were, scoop it all up and spread the manure on our lawns. I can still smell it.

One summer in the early seventies, an experiment by City Hall allowed carriage rides in the city core and we used to hear that clip clopping going by our house as we drifted off to sleep and they returned to their stalls on the Exhibition Grounds. Too many traffic issues put an end to that experiment.

I love that sound and it was wonderful to hear it again.

Then I went back to shoveling snow instead of horse shit.

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