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winter rides

January 22, 2011
winter

Westerville winter

Westerville has six inches of snow today and it was zero this morning.   The snow came night before last.  We got the entire six inches in about 12 hours.  It was cold yesterday with the temperature dropping from about midnight through yesterday until this morning when it finally hit zero.   NOW it is MINUS ONE. 

I put the dogs out this morning and they didn’t mess around, that’s for sure.  Sebastian and Gable, both wearing their faux-shearling coats, came right back and begged to come in.  Even Mika was there to come inside.  Maxim must have been pursuing private business because I had to call him.  As soon as it was finished he came hustling inside.  Rachael said he came upstairs to see her while she was sitting on the tub waiting for the shower water to get warm.  She said his eyes were all big and his cheeks were quivering.  She took his face in her hands and his jowls were all cold and frozen seeming.  “Mama!  It’s cold out there!”

This morning reminded me of the time we got about a foot of snow when my brother and I were in junior high school.  Or maybe I was in junior high and he was still in elementary school at West.   Anyway, it snowed.  The schools were all closed, so were the roads and although Dad went to work, he told Mom not to go out in the car.    She wouldn’t have tried anyway.  She wasn’t what might be called a ‘confident’ driver.  Dad could and did drive through anything.

Mom was helping an old lady who lived on the corner of the block by West School. Mrs. Jones needed an insulin shot every morning and wasn’t able to give herself the injection.  Some how or other her family had contacted my mother to come to make sure she had her breakfast and more importantly, her insulin.  Then Mom would be sure the kitchen was clean and that there were things available for lunch before she left.   When this snow came she could not get to Mrs. Jones’ house

My brother had a very nice little Hamiltonian Standardbred.  She had been the apple of a trainer’s eye, but was afflicted with ‘heaves’  and could no longer be worked.  ( If you’ve never heard of heaves, check:  http://www1.agric.gov.ab.ca/$department/deptdocs.nsf/all/hrs3713 )   He was very picky about what happened to her and because he knew my dad would give her a home to live out her days in ease he sold her to us for just a  couple hundred dollars-much less than her value, even as a brood mare.  Her name was Nancy.  I don’t know what her registered name was; Nancy was her call name and that’s all we ever ‘called’ her.  She was well loved for many years until she died a natural death while I was in college. 

Nancy was my brother’s horse.  She was small for a Standardbred, only 14 hands-56 inches, just barely within the breed standard.  We all loved her.  She could pull a cart or carry a rider.  A few times we hooked her to a sled, but usually we rode her.  She did well if she wasn’t pushed too hard.  I don’t think my brother ever ran her in all the years we had her, but she did like to show off her trot, just not for very long.   

On this very snowy day, Mom was desperate to find a way to get to Mrs. Jones’ house.  It wasn’t far, but it might as well have been on the other side of town without a car.  So someone hit on the idea of her riding Nancy to Mrs. Jones’ house!  Now I don’t remember my mother ever before or after riding a horse, but this day my brother bundled up and put the bridle on Nancy.  Mom bundled up too and put on a pair of my father’s pants under her dress. 

She hadn’t the slightest clue how to ride Nancy or even guide her once she was on.  So Buster rode in front and Mom clung to him in the back.  We never put saddles on the horses when we rode them so they were on bareback.  Buster (my brother, Myron, if you’ve never read here before )  had a very secure seat. I don’t remember him ever falling off a horse and that was a very good thing, because Mom didn’t have any kind of seat at all.  A sack of flour would probably have been easier to carry than Mom.

Nancy though would have balance eggs on her back if we asked her and we did ask her to do that with Mom!  I remember watching their backs as they headed off up the un-graded, only-mapped- Maple Street behind our house.  Mom leaned to one side and then the other with every step!  Nancy had her job cut out for her!

They got safely to Mrs. Jones’ house and Mom took care of everything that needed to be done.   I wish I could have been there to see Mom mounting back on Nancy from the porch!  It must have been a sight.  It took me and Buster both to haul her on from Dad’s loading ramp at home!  That little horse had the patience of a saint!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. March 24, 2011 10:58 PM

    Reading your stories. This one of Myron and your Mom riding the horse, I would have loved to have seen that!!!

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