Sunday, October 07, 2007

Mustang Sally

I'm at the end of the day, looking backwards.

I just watched Hidalgo with Viggo Mortensen. I want a mustang. I love horses, I grew up around them and I want just one mustang.

I last rode a horse about a year ago. My friend Mandy lives out in Poetry, TX and she has horses and was kind enough to let me ride one of hers. I'm old and out of practice, but mounting a horse is so easy for me and seems like second nature to me. The same day my son rode the same horse. It was unique for him because it was his first time on horseback.

I got a pony sometime around my 4th birthday. His name was Billy and he was a mean sumbitch. The Cowan boys from down the bayou were supposed to break him so I could ride him. I don't remember riding Billy much (did I mention that he was a mean sumbitch?) I do remember being on him and him taking off down the levee and my aunt and grandmother screaming at me to jump off. I do remember him sulking about the yard being a nasty pony.

I remember my 4th birthday. I'm almost fifty and I have clear mental images of birthday number 4. Tina and Dick Smotherman came down to Ashland Plantation. I was living there with my mother's parents. I think my mom was going to school in Memphis and my father had died the previous September. I don't know the particulars of why Tina and Dick came but I was comfortable with them and so happy to see them. I actually thought Tina was my grandmother and was sorely disappointed at a future time to learn that she wasn't. I still call her grandma Tina.

Tina and Dick took me fishing on the bayou. I can see it as clear as I can see my computer screen. I think we had bamboo poles and I know that I was astonished to catch some small fish (I think a perch) I remember that our vehicle was parked on the levee and that we had some issue with a flat tire. My grandfather showed up and rescued us. I cannot express the complexity of emotion about how I felt about my grandfather. I am in tears now as I write this because I loved him so much. The flat tire got fixed and we got home and my fish got fried and I was celebrated for catching my own dinner on my 4th birthday.

I remember Ashland Plantation. That's where I lived at that time. It was an interesting cinderblock house.

There were three tremendous pecan trees in the front. I remember gathering pecans. My grandmother's uncle lived with us. Joseph Stillwell. He was bedridden with arthritis. He was a crusty old gentleman and I loved him dearly. I think that he was in some part responsible for the swing set that appeared in the yard to entertain me. I also remember having a bow and arrow set and shooting at Uncle Joe's headboard (which did not thrill him)

Around this time, my mother's younger sister was in high school. Somehow she gained the nickname "Stormy." I thought it was her name because I called her Aunt Stormy. I was told that she was called Stormy because of her temper. I slept with her and was grateful to have someone next to me. I'm even more grateful because it would have to be kind of geeky to have to sleep with your tiny niece. She had a record player and there was a record collection called " Sounds of the Sixties" We would go to sleep listening to Baby Elephant Walk and Alley Cat. She had some kind of hair dryer and would leave it on for the whir. I still like the sound of such things to help me sleep.

I love my aunt so much, she was my hero. She was so strong and vibrant. I was a small child and I thought she hung the moon. She was a barrel racer and she got a new horse. Little Red. I have a recollection of there being a Big Red and a Little Red. I recall some fracas because a horse got stuck in the cattle guard in the middle of the night. My grandfather was furious. I think he was willing to shoot something. I think Big Red was the offender.

I have a recollection of asking my aunt if I could ride her new pony and she was nice and told me I could ride it as soon as I was big enough to get on it. I don't know if it was the next day but it was very soon that I coaxed her horse up next to the fence and climbed on and was riding it through the pastures. I don't think that's what she meant about riding it as soon as I was big enough. I recall getting stuck on top of the horse out in a cow pasture. The horse was willing.

I feel bad that my children didn't get to ride like I did. I truly didn't realize it until they were almost all grown. I love horses. They smell nice.

How I wish I lived where I could have a horse. I'm envious of my friend Mandy and her country home with horses. I regret that my own children never learned how to ride.

I just want a mustang. A fiery spunky native horse.

I love the newer cell phones. It's cool that one can assign ringtones for individual people. The ringtone for my son is Mustang Sally. It's only right.