Unless it’s a horse that’s long dead, of course
And then it’s a horse of a different sort
With inestimable mysterious historic value and charming decorative usefulness and even a creative source!
Okay, that’s a terrible rhyme.
And this is an utterly useless horseshoe that I purchased for one dollar.
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Look at this thing: you can barely discern what it is – or was, I should say. It’s a U-shaped hunk of rust.
I noticed several buckets (rustbuckets?) of these things at the Folsom Antique Fair. Sutter Street had recently been repaved and renovated with new sidewalks and trees and, according to the signs on the buckets, these horseshoes had been unearthed during the excavation. The Folsom History Museum was selling them as a fundraiser. Fishing around in a bucket, I pulled out a shoe and ran my finger over the thick, spiky layer of rust. I like rust; it’s one of my favorite art materials.
A friendly museum docent told me these shoes were believed to be from Cruickshank’s Stables, which had stood on the 600 block of Sutter Street in the 1860s.
1860s! I held in my hand a remnant of late-gold-rush era California, a relic that once trod the streets and trails of this historic area. I paid my dollar and the docent wrapped my horseshoe in a plastic bag. As I dropped it in my shopping bag, I realized I’d just begun my day at the fair. Now I’d have to carry this heavy thing around for hours. So much for horseshoes bringing good luck.