I know, I don't generally post on the weekends, but the Green Bay Packers play a HUGE playoff game at 7 pm my time tonight and I'm doing everything I can to take my mind off of the game. If I don't we all know I'll spend the entire day in front of the TV, eating cheese puffs and drinking Vernor's. While that sounds like a BLAST, I'm moderately certain KRAM would not be pleased.
So today I'm going to share with you a little tale from my younger years. Before I go any further, I should share these two things with you:
1) I love, love love horses. Love them. There are days I would trade my children for a horse. There are days I would trade my husband for a horse.
2) I am not now, nor have I EVER been "cool." That has not, however, stopped me from attempting to appear "cool."
That said, please read on.
I believe I was eight or nine the summer we went to visit my mother's cousins, the Boehlkes (pronounced Bill Key) in eastern Wisconsin. A city girl from the industrial eastern Michigan, I was very eager to meet my farm raised second cousins who, my mother reported, own enough property that a herd of wild horses roamed free on their land. In my head I was the one person who could capture and tame the wildest of all the wild horses on the Boehlke place, a rogue stallion that was more beautiful than the sun and ran like the wind. He would only come to me and I was the only human who...
|See? See how good I am with horses?|
Oh, sorry. See, even at 8 or 9 I had a creative mind. That and I read every horse themed book available to me.
Anyway, the day before we were to visit, we spent some time at my friend Kelly's house. Now Kelly was the luckiest of all girls: She lived on a farm in the middle of a sort of city type area. And, KELLY HAD HORSES!
She had three horses, a big bay named Jane, whose job was to pull the surrey Kelly's dad built. Jane wasn't a riding horse. I remember Jane's name all these years because, well, Jane stepped on me once when I was standing a bit too close behind her. Kelly, or rather, Kelly's parents, had two riding horses, palominos, but I don't recall their names.
The day before we went to my cousin's farm in Wisconsin, we spent time actually riding Kelly's horses. I know I'd been on a horse before this, but not often, and certainly not on a horse this size. (I seem to recall riding those sad ponies at fairs, you know the ones chain to a post and their go around in circles. I was also a master of riding the mechanical horses in front of the Kmart in town. I could stay on that one for the entire nickel's worth of time.)
After mastering the art of riding a full sized horse around Kelly's back yard, I was ready, I thought, to meet the rogue stallion of my dreams.
For a city girl, the Boehlke farm was a magical place. It smelled wonderful, the animals were beautiful, and I was giddy out of my stupid little head to show off my cool riding skills. The adults went riding on life size horses first. I remember this because one of my mom's cousins, Ellen, rode a horse who decided it was roll time as they crossed a creek. Ellen returned to the barn soaking wet and covered in mud. I thought she was the coolest person EVER!
Then it was the kids' turn. There were probably seven of us, Boehlke kids, Buch kids, and, well, two Schultz kids. My brother, the younger Schultz, had zero interest in riding anything, he wanted to chase the chickens. But I....I had to be FIRST!
See, one of the Buch cousins was my very best friend cousin, let's call her Leah. Leah is nine months older than I am, and has an older brother which means she learned about life and stuff way before I did. She got to wear two piece swim suits while I had to where a one piece with a stupid little skirt. (OF course, now I wear one with a skirt anyway, to cover the fat, but back then I was SKINNY, and I could have pulled off a two piece!) My life's goal when I was little was to be as cool as Leah.
And that day, in the driveway of my cousins' farm, waiting to ride their pony Daisy, I knew, I KNEW I would be as cool as Leah. Why? Because Leah had never ridden a horse of any size all on her own! YES! This was my shining moment to be cool. BE cool in front of Leah, be cool in front of the Boehlke kids who were, in my estimation, at a level of cool I had never experienced before.
So they brought out the pony, Daisy. Daisy was roughly the size of a large dog. I was so ready to dominate Daisy, this was going to be fantastic!
My mother has video of this moment. I just thought I should share that. There's no sound, of course, but you can read my lips pretty much the whole time.
I mounted the stead, on my own, might I add, and away I went. I knew how to stop the pony, how to turn the pony, how to make the pony trot a little.
What I didn't know was how to make the pony like me enough to tolerate me for the entire time I was on her back. She tolerated me for exactly three minutes. Then it was time to get the city kid off her back.
After the first three minutes Daisy decided to head for home, but instead of turning around and coming back up the driveway, she trotted up the hill a little to the yard at the side of the house...the yard, where clotheslines stretched all the way across.
No amount of pulling on the reigns or yelling WHOA was going to stop Daisy from what she wanted to do and the whole concept of me controlling this mini version of a real horse went right out the window. This ride had become a battle of wits for survival.
Daisy was headed for the clotheslines, and I knew she wanted to kill me. As we approached, I ducked low over her neck. And guess what? I wasn't beheaded! From the yard below, the cousins cheered. I thought they were cheering for me...so...I sat up and waved.
And promptly got a clothesline right across the neck.
Se, you have to duck under ALL the clotheslines if you want to remain cool.
I am happy to say I didn't fall off the pony. She ambled down the hill back to the driveway, where I dismounted. My mother's video shows little me, stomping away from the pony, then turning, and shaking my fist at the pony.
Oh, and I found out later, the cousins were actually sort of cheering for the pony.
In the end, I learned two things that day.
1) I am not, nor will I ever be cool, and it's pointless to try.
2) Ponies are not horses. They are evil death monsters put on this earth by some evil planet's overlord to murder us all.
Years later, at a wedding, because all Boehlke weddings are held at the farm, (It's THE BEST PLACE for a wedding, because everything you could ever want for a reception is all right there.) I saw Daisy. I was a teenager, hopelessly uncool, but totally okay with it. Daisy was old. She was grazing behind the house, and she looked old, and very small. We stared at each other for a moment. "I still hate ponies," I whispered.
I think she smiled.
Now friends, you know I give most of the real people in my blog fake names. This time I'm giving you a real name, because I'm so excited! One of those Boehlke cousins, Andrea, is going to be on the next installment of the TV Show Survivor! Andrea is 21, the daughter of one of my mom's favorite cousins, Royal Boehlke, and I just know she is going to do us proud! So check out Survivor when airs again, and cheer for Andrea Boehlke!