This set of tack was a pride and joy of Magic Jack.
Jack Cadam lives on St. Joseph Island in Ontario. When our family would visit there during summer months, he would take us for rides on his stone-sled, pulled by four beautiful black Percheron draft horses, named Ruby, Pearl, Sapphire, and Jewel. The horses were bedecked in the handsomest tack imaginable -- silver-studded black leather, from head to tail and wither to belly. It was always stunning to witness these magnificent horses in their finery, driven by Jack, bursting with pride.
Jack could do anything and solve any problem. He helped our family maintain its house nearby for fifty years. He was skilled as an electrician, plumber, carpenter, heavy-machinery operator, logger, and story teller. He was an integral part of the childhoods of my siblings and me and our children. He was always doing and always telling a story. He liked to chat as much as he liked to work, which was one reason children liked him so much. Once my mother asked him to remove a high branch from a pine tree that blocked the view. The expected solution would have been a very long ladder and saw. He solved the problem with a rifle, and shot it down, which impressed the children mightily. When there was a call for pavement outside the kitchen door, he responded with six limestones eight feet in diameter and six inches thick, harvested from his farm with a bulldozer. He understood leverage, and would readily move buildings and boats by employing beams and wenches. No problem stood in his way. Jack did not attend school beyond the sixth grade, but was so bright and imaginative, that few obstacles thwarted him. It seemed he was always working magic.
He lived on a farm nearby, which hosted a spring that arose out of the earth at an incredible 100 gallons per minute. More magic. Jack's resourcefulness made a strong impression on me. He was a teacher and mentor. When it came time for him to sell his horses, I ended up inheriting the beautiful tack that went with them.
In the house we are renovating on the farm and about to move into, we have created a display of just a few pieces of this tack. It now hangs in the new family room, reminding us of an unusal man, who has demonstrated that with conviction, craft, imagination, and some horse-power, almost anything is possible in life.
Speaking of magic, we could use some to accelerate movement into warmer weather and growth of grass. We are almost out of hay, expecting to be able to graze by April 1. We are feeding hay to 400 head of livestock every day, and running out prematurely is not a happy scenario. Should the weather not turn quickly, we will start rationing what we have left to stretch another week or so.
Susan and I are in the middle of moving household contents from our recently sold house in Batavia to the renovated one on the farm. Beth & Bob will be at the farmer's market tomorrow.
May some magic help us all!
Drausin & Susan