Old White Horse Knew His Friend
Ukiah Republican Press, December 13 1922
M. Miller met an old friend on the streets of Willits this week. That statement doesn’t seem like news, but wait until you hear the history of Mr. Miller’s friend. His friend is known all over the northern part of the state. Yes, he is white. And this is the history says “The Willits News.”
More than sixteen years ago Mr. Miller purchased an old white horse, named “Tom.” He bough the horse for his mother an father who then living in Santa Rosa. Tom was 14 years old at that time.
Three years later Mr. Miller, who was then conducting a hotel at Rionido, took Tom and put him to work hauling baggage for the hotel. Miller says that the horse soon fell into the ways of a regular dray horse. He would proceed to the station when he heard the whistle of the incoming train. After the baggage had been laded into the wagon, Tom would deliver it to the hotel without further instructions, then trot slowly off to the barn. Through his almost human intelligence, Tom made the acquaintance of every person who passed through Rionido. This work he did for eight years. He was later sold to a farmer near Guerneville who owned a small chicken ranch. Mr. Miller came to Willits soon after. Wednesday Mr Miller came upon his old time friend standing in front of the Willits Creamery hitched to a milk wagon. He thought Tom had died years ago and we presume Tom thought Mr. Miller had also. The meeting was glorious. Tom snorted and pawed when he saw Miller and when the latter walked away, Tom’s owner was forced to exert every effort to prevent the horse from following his old friend away.
The Willits man spoiled a good O. Henry story. The ending of that meeting should have read that Mr. Miller purchased “Old Tom” and put him out to pass the rest of his life in ease.
(Louis Heilman was here from his ranch home last week.)