Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Boy and His Pony

It is about time I came clean with all my faithful readers. When I was a kid, I had a pony (pictured above). We were not rich or anything like that, but we lived on a ranch, and one day my Uncle showed up pulling a stock trailer. I ran out to greet him, but instead of receiving the normal greeting from him, he just smiled, walked around and opened the door on the stock trailer. There inside was the most beautiful pony you ever saw. He gave it to my bother and me. Now I don't want to make to big of a deal about it, but I must say that as a kid, having a pony is just about as good as it gets. The horse was a Shetland pony, and was about the size of a big dog. We named her Wendy. She was such a nice little horse, and a very sociable creature. We did not have a saddle, but we did have a bridle and a small horse blanket, so we would ride her bareback, Indian style. She loved to be rode, and I can remember trotting around the yard on her back. Every day she would come to our yard and make little horse noises, wanting us to come out and play with her. She loved sugar cubes and carrots. We would always bring her a treat, and then she would rub her head on us. She loved to be combed, and loved to take us for a ride.
Now I remember one day our parents went to town, and left my brother and I at home. I was about 7 years old, and he was about 11. Back then, you did not bother with baby sitters, you just assumed that the kids would just take care of themselves. Well, my brother and I were sitting on the front porch, and up comes Wendy. She walked right up on the front porch, and gave us a little nudge, like she always did. We petted her a while, and then we noticed that she kept looking in the front window into the house. My brother and I started talking about it, and we decided that she wanted to go into the house. Well, you don't do something like let a horse in the house without giving it some serious thought. We talked about it a while, and we came to the conclusion that neither of us had ever been told not to let the horse in the house. She was a pet, and the dog was a pet, and the dog was allowed in the house, so it must be OK to let the horse in the house. So after some more discussion, we decided we would let her in the house, but only if she really wanted to go in. My brother walked over to the front door and opened it. Sure enough she walked right in.
I will never forget the look on her face as she went into the house. It was a look of wonder and amazement. She had never seen anything like it before. She walked around the living room, being so careful not to bump or disturb anything. It is not every day that a horse gets to go into the house. She appeared to fully grasp the magnitude of the honor. She walked around and looked at every piece of furniture. My brother and I were feeling pretty good . . . we had done a really good thing, giving her a tour of the house. Well, she pretty much looked at everything in the living room, and things had gone so well, we decided to take her into the kitchen. Now being 7 and 11 years old, my brother and I did not have a good grasp of things like the coefficient of static friction, and traction control and all of that, so we had no way of anticipating what would happen next. As Wendy stepped into the kitchen, her hoofs had no traction on the freshly waxed linoleum floor. As she stepped into the kitchen, she lost all traction, and her four legs went out in four different directions, and she landed on her belly. This was something like she had never had happen before, and well, she panicked. She tried to get up, but lost her footing again, worse than the first time. At this point she went totally wild. She just started kicking and flailing around the kitchen. Well, as much as I respect the designers at Frigidaire, GE, and all the furniture companies, apparently in designing their products, they did not consider the possibility of a horse going crazy in the kitchen, and did not design their products to withstand the stresses introduced by such an event. I mean the horse was kicking, bucking, jumping, falling, and in the process totally wrecking the kitchen. The furniture was destroyed, the major appliances were damaged, and I wont even talk about the smaller appliances. Now I am going to have to apologize for telling the next part of the story. I am not trying to be vulgar or anything, but I just have to tell it to you like it happened. I guess the trauma of the situation caused some type of intestinal distress for the poor horse, and she started pooping and peeing. Now I am not talking about the normal thing you would expect of a horse taking care of a little business. I am talking about full scale projectile pooping. I mean she was firing poop across the kitchen like something I had never seen before. Also, the pee made the floor even slicker, and she lost any small amount of traction she might have had as she tried desperately to regain her footing. My brother and I just stood there pretty much in shock, as the horse destroyed the kitchen. Anything she did not wreck, she pooped on. Some items were both wrecked and pooped on. While we considered ourselves pretty proficient horse people, we had never been trained on how to deal with a horse gone crazy in the kitchen. Well, she finally was able to flail her way over to the more firm footing of the living room. My brother and I both panicked, as we could see she was still in a state of high anxiety and we imagined the same thing happening to the living room that had just happened to the kitchen. Now my brother was thinking pretty good, so he ran to the front door, and held it wide open. Wendy saw the sky and ran for it, and ran straight through the living room and out the front door, doing relatively little damage on her way through. The living room came out relatively unscathed, compared to the kitchen.

My brother and I then just sort of stood there and stared at the kitchen. We then both began to get a sinking feeling as we heard my parent's little green Volkswagen driving up. We had no time to even attempt to improve the disaster area formerly known as our kitchen. We had no time to even prepare an adequate defense, or seek professional councel. My Dad walked in and said, "What happened Here!". I don't know if he was asking because he really did not know what had happened, or if he was asking more of a rhetorical question. Given the amount of horse poop on the walls, and the hoof prints on the refrigerator, I think he probably knew what had happened, and it was in fact a rhetorical question . . . but I digress. Anyway, I tried to go into damage control mode and describe it as benignly as possible . . . "Wendy slipped and fell in the kitchen, and then got scared." My dad preferred to focus on the aspect of the situation that we had let a horse in the house. Try as I might, I could not get him to consider the broader complexity and subtleties of the situation. To him, it was simply a matter that we had let a horse in the house and the horse had destroyed the kitchen. I should say at this point that my parents were not well versed in some of the more modern theories of rearing children. Things like the importance of taking opportunities like this to try and build up your children's self esteem, or the fragile nature of a child's self image, or the importance of never raising your voice at a child . . . none of these things were understood by my parents, or at least, they did not appear to be manifesting themselves in this particular circumstance. No, it was pretty clear how they would handle the situation, we were going to get a whipping. Not what you might call a spanking today, like a little swat on the bottom or anything like that. No, we got a good old-fashioned, whipping with a belt. Now, as an adult, I really can not say that the whipping damaged my self esteem, or led me to be a criminal, or that I am harboring any deep seated problems because of that day. I can say one thing for sure though: from that day forward I never brought a horse, or for that matter any other farm animal, into the house. I should also say that I remember that evening my dad made us popcorn in what was left of the kitchen, we sat in his lap and he read a book to us. He never brought up the subject again. We were punished, the issue was put behind us, and we moved on as a happy family, and the horse stayed outside.

36 comments:

  1. Great story and you told it so well! I'm sure that was a topic of conversation for many years..

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  2. Wow, that blows my sisters' bedroom full of cats right out of the water!

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  3. This was hilarious! Thanks for sharing it.

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  4. I am still laughing at the mental picture of you and your brother standing at the kitchen door watching poor Windey flail around the kitchen. Pretty helpless feeling.
    Reminds me of one sunny day my friend and I found his Dad's large magnefying glass and took it to the field beside the house and ..............

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  5. A great laugh that made my day. Thank you!!

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  6. All I can say is, "Oh dear!". You sure had a wonderful dad and mom. Thanks for the great laugh this morning :)
    P.S. Boys will be boys!

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  7. hehehehhee.

    I can imagine how bringing the horse into the house seemed such a good idea as a child.

    Well, it WAS a good idea, until she got into the kitchen!

    I was expecting you to say she opened the fridge door and ate all the food!

    Thanks for the great story.

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  8. I appreciate all the kind comments on this post.

    Hmmmm. . . People really appear to enjoy stories envolving me being humiliated, whipped, and left without a kitchen :)

    OK, maybe on Sundays I will try to post other stories from my childhood. Anyboy know of a good therapist?

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  9. I really enjoyed this story! I don't know who I feel more sorry for - you kids, or the poor horse. I think it's about even. :)

    Thanks for sharing!

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  10. I am rolling in laughter! That's great! Thanks for sharing. I will have to read more of your blog.

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  11. what a great story! i kept worrying the pony was going to break a leg.

    regarding your whipping, I think the problem with such punishment is that too many parents don't have the emotional skill to separate the behavior from the worth of the child. it was quite clear that though you knew the magnitude of your action, and you expected a corresponding punishment, you also knew it did not change the love from your parents for you, or yours for your parents.

    I don't know if there's something about society these days, or that we've always had too many with poor parenting skills...that would be quite the essay...but it is clear to me from this anecdote that your parents had good parenting skills even though I wouldn't choose that method.

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  12. Heidi,
    Thanks for the comments. Despite how I told the story, I really did know full well that you should not let a horse in the house. We would not have done it if my parents were home. We thought we could get away with it. My parents rarely punished us like that, but when they did, it was well deserved. Thanks for your your thoughts, and your post.

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  13. Thanks for sharing that story. I feel bad for the pony, but couldn't stop laughing.

    A day that ends with laughter has to be a good day.

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  14. Man I can not top that one! i got in a lot of trouble but nothing like that! What a story!

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  15. It's amazing what a google search for "civil war flag" will bring you! I stumbled across your blog today and just love it. I particularly love this story and it is told so well, I can easily see the hoof-shaped dent in your fridge. Thank you for a great site & story. I'll be back for more. :-)

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  16. What an interesting day for you and your parents!

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  17. Thanks so much for the story I can just picture myself in your place as a young child. Your logic was precious!

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  18. Note to self: Must tell Maxim and Roman not to bring Roany Pony in the house!

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  19. HooooWaaa hahahaha.
    We had a little black shetland pony and some thoroughbreds. All the horses were friendly but the biggest was especially playful. He came up onto the porch steps once. I was seriously tempted to get him into the house, but was already familiar with my mother's hairbursh and knew that she would probably escalate to the riding crop if I let him in.

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  20. Wonderful story and wonderful writing.

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  21. Does your older brother have a black eye in that picture?

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  22. Justin,
    No black eye, just a shadow.

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  23. Hilarious! Thanks for 'fessing up to this vivid event in your childhood.

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  24. It is Christmas Eve and I am at work so needed cheering up and this story sure did the trick.
    PJM, Nate, Smartgirl and all the other regulars on here Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year and look forward to hearing from you all in 2010.

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  25. I know this post is 2 yrs old, but I clicked on your "horses" tag and found it. Hilarious, and very well told. I like your "voice;" dry, witty, opinionated and down-to-earth.

    Poor Wendy; I hope she forgave you for leading her into the first ring of Hell.

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  26. LOL, Greaty story and very well told. I always wanted to bring my horse into the house. I don't think that thought will ever cross my mind again.

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  27. Just went home to see my 85 year old mother in Maine. We were going through old photo albums and I decided that every child must have at one time had their picture on a pony! I'm in the process of writing a craft/sewing book, and decided my author photo will be of me (at age 3) on my first pony, Sundae. This just makes me realize I am on the right path. And, like you, I once had it all, and know I have all I need, and am much happier for it! I am now a follower.
    Thank you.
    Nancy

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  28. great story... I love your stories, you could be a "great-storyteller-to-kids", kids would love that, I know I would...

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  29. Why do all your stories end with you getting whipped

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  30. you are a gifted sotry teller! I had a horse at your age in the story; we would open a window in the living room and hed rest his chin on the tabel under the window and watch TV with the family...but we never let him in. We thought the floor would not hold him...thank god for that fear!
    count me in as a new fan.
    Barb

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  31. This was so funny, I want to read it to my mother so she can laugh too :) I found this blog on StumbleUpon

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  32. OMG!! You wrote a perfectly hilarious story here. I love it!

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  33. This is a really great story, I think the part that stands out to me the most is how when Sweet Wendy was in the living room (unpanicked) she was so careful not to bump into anything. What a good good pony.
    Although I was sorry to hear that the event ended with spankings, I was quite happy to hear that said spankings did not turn you into a serial killer either. Funny coincidence, I often got spankings too as a child (when I deserved it) and I didn't turn into one either! That is so crazy! LOL

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