I have a Grandma Pony. I don’t know when she came to be called Grandma Pony…I’ve just always called her that. At my Grandma Pony’s farm in Apopka, Florida there were once as many as 20 horses along with, at varying times throughout my childhood, a slew of cats, dogs, prairie dogs and chickens, Dexter the Goat, Porsche the Pig, and Rio the Macaw. That little farm was a kid’s dream come true AND it was right down the street from a Showbiz Pizza! Heaven!
I rode in pony shows as early as two year’s old and, every Thanksgiving, took part in the Turkey Trot riding my Grandma’s beautiful spotted pony, Windsong. My family didn’t have the money or the energy for our own horse and we lived too far from my Grandma Pony’s house to ride in shows more than a few times a year. In middle school I took horse-back riding lessons and it was there that I met Sally the Palomino…the sweetest, most beautiful horse I had ever met. And she was for sale.
I had never wanted something so badly, even though I knew what a HUGE financial responsibility and personal commitment it would take for me to have her. I begged for her even though I knew I shouldn’t. She was just so….perfect!
I remember my Mom telling me that it broke my Dad’s heart that he couldn’t buy Sally for me. That it wasn’t even the cost of the horse, itself, but keeping her fed and healthy and boarded at a barn for the rest of her life. I remember feeling very guilty for begging and also crushed that I couldn’t have her.
It was only a year or two later that I stopped taking riding lessons altogether. I was busy with piano and flute and babysitting and homework…I think about that decision sometimes. What if we had bought Sally? Looking back now, the decision not to buy her was a more meaningful decision than I had ever realized at the time. I think, in many ways, the entire course of my life would have been completely different if we’d purchased that palomino.
Now, in a crazy circular life event, I find myself crocheting a palomino for a brand new member of my extended family, baby Jordan, (I’m going to have to think hard for a while to figure out how we’re related). I used to visit baby Jordan’s family with my Grandma Pony for family reunions and I remember being so intrigued by baby Jordan’s mother with the beautiful blonde curly hair, who wrote country songs and had her own horses…including her own palomino. And soon Baby Jordan will have this crocheted palomino that is supposed to be based on her family’s palomino…but, to me, will always be Sally, the palomino I never had.
I love how this Sally turned out – exactly how I hoped she would and I had fun painting her little barn that is based on one of my favorite places here in Oakland, Tilden’s Little Farm.
Sometimes your parents have to tell you no so you can get (or, in my case, make) the palomino you’re supposed to get…even if it’s not the one you want at the time.