Wednesday, January 10, 2007
My dad is doing pretty well.
Among his daily activities is a walk to the corner with his morning caregiver, George, a kind, attentive seventy-seven year man who also works at the horse track during racing season. Considering that the last time I was here (October), Dad could only get from the bed to the wheelchair (with assistance), these daily treks are significant.
Yesterday we drove through horse country to Berea for lunch. On the way back, we traveled through areas that used to be horse kingdoms, but have now been chopped up into cookie cutter subdivisions.
Yes, I grew up in the capital of the Horse. Even though my sister and I spent a few of our youthful summers at Longview Riding Camp, and later, as an adult, I owned my own imposing, well-schooled quarter horse and even showed her a couple of times, I have never even remotely considered myself a horsewoman. (A cowgirl maybe, but that’s about as far as I let the wishful thinking go). Anyhow, yesterday my thoughts drifted back to the horse-loving days of my childhood.
As soon as I was old enough to run fast, I began riding an imaginary horse. I galloped around everywhere on this guy - to school, to play with friends, to my grandparents’ house, you name it. I would tie my horse up at the front door, where he would wait patiently for me, and then I’d climb up on his back for the ride home when it was time to go. My favorite adventure with this imaginary stallion took place when we rode out to California together with the rest of my family. Unfortunately, I did have to spend quite a lot of time in the car, but it was easy enough to tie him up to the back fender and let him run along behind us on the highway.
For a short period of time, and I do mean short - six days to be exact - I actually owned my own pony.
My parents surprised me with him for my 10th birthday. He was suspiciously unkempt and had a mischievous glint in his eyes, but he was small and cute and had black and white spots. (I named him Salt and Pepper). We kept him on a small piece of property my dad owned at the time. I gleefully rode him on my birthday, the day I got him, whooping and hollering and doing my best to be out west somewhere penning cattle and keeping a lookout for Indians. I went back six days later to ride him on my brother’s birthday. Since I didn’t have a saddle or even a bridle yet, it was all “bareback and grab the mane” for this lil cowgal. At some point during our roundup on this second day together, my new pony became terribly excited when a nearby farm dog started chasing a nearby rabbit. Trusty old Salt and Pepper decided to start chasing both the dog and the rabbit, and well, as you can guess, I eventually ended up on the hard dirt wailing, sporting a left wrist which had been snapped in two different places.
After an emergency run to the hospital and some late night birthday cake with my brother and the rest of the family who had waited up for us, my father completed his first and last foray into the horse business. The “gentle” horse for which he had skillfully negotiated (he revealed to me today that the agreed upon sum was thirty dollars) was promptly sold.
So much for this girl’s dreams of becoming the next Dale Evans.
My dad is doing pretty well. We have had some good laughs together, and we’ve had some nice, quite moments together. Mostly, though, I think we enjoy remembering and sharing the good stuff from the past.