It is somewhat incongruous for females of a certain age (the youngest of us in her 50s) to maintain the 'girl' title, but Women's Day Out doesn't have the same ring. The point is, four of us tootled ourselves down to Toscano Winery in Amador County to partake of the Friday salad and pasta buffet. And wine (the White Barbera was particularly nice). Perfect weather, congenial companions (lots of laughing), good food; it was a great way to spend an afternoon. Camille, her mom Olga, Debbie K. from "up the road," and I dawdled on the lovely Italianate patio with the tinkling fountain until we had to get back to reality.
Picking up my truck at Camille's later, I had driven through and stopped to close the field gate across her driveway when I looked back to see Shadow, the mini-donkey, trotting toward me. Worried that he might be making a break for it, I stood at the gate to shoo him back. Shadow walked right up to me and lifted his head to rest on my chest, snuffling against my neck with his soft nose and looking quietly into my eyes. Shadow is a very short donkey and my ear was as high as he could reach. Unlike the coarse hair of the goats or the sleek hair of a horse, Shadow feels like a plush stuffed toy. I have no idea what was in his mind, but we stayed like this for long moments, motionless except for me stroking his neck and murmuring endearments to this long-eared friend. The spell broke and he moved away. It seems all he wanted was to say a gentle goodbye.
It was a fitting end to a perfect afternoon.