In Praise of Horseshoes – by D. R. Darvishian

Harold Taylor, head of the Lake County Horseshoe Association, blinks through his wire-rimmed glasses in mild confusion. His bristling grey mustache gives him the look of a walrus scholar. “Was it?” he asks. Dropping his gaze, he snaps open the locks of an ancient portfolio. It’s crammed with files. Running the back of his finger across the tabbed folders, he finds nothing helpful. “I thought it was 1983,” he says, “but if I told you 1987, that must’ve been it.” The date regards the start of the LCHA. Call it two generations ago. Back then, says Taylor, who also runs the Pro Desk at Mendo Mill & Lumber Co., in Lakeport, the games were a rolling affair, with players convening in each other’s backyards for some 20 years.


We were unmasked then and I was at McCarran International Airport in Las Vegas, waiting for a connecting flight. Jostling through the lunch line, I found a place to sit with my sandwich and hefted up my carry-on bag for a table. The chair beside me was empty, but as I smeared mustard across the soggy bread, three people arrived.

One of them, an attractive woman pulling her own small bag, sat down. With her was a woman, younger, I thought, in a wheelchair. She was accompanied by a tall man with sandy hair and wearing a light blue Aloha shirt, who eased her chair forward so that the women were almost touching knees. The wheelchair was sleek and looked new.

The women bowed their heads in muted conversation, and I found myself leaning back into my chair, trying to give them space they obviously did not need.

They started crying.

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