A mother, a daughter and a family of horses


When there’s only one thing a child wants very badly, and she can’t have it, year-after-year disappointments lead to early cynicism. Of course this child is a girl, and of course the one thing she wanted desperately more than anything else in the world was a horse.

Her obstacles were that her father, son of dairy farmers, never wanted to deal with livestock again in his life. Her mother, also a country girl but new at parenting, never dreamed of calling him out and making it happen. The young girl prayed and wished on shooting stars, but nothing changed. Riding the merry-go-round horses was a poor substitute.

It wasn’t in the girl’s nature to rebel – until she grew old enough to embrace it, to thrill at the power of expressing her disillusionment.

Father was very strict; Mother was very neutral – born on Aug. 11, 1932, when that’s how it was.

The girl knew if she’d had a horse or a knock-kneed pony, life would be perfect. She would be dizzyingly happy in her solitude, her horse as a best friend. They would cross hayfields, skirt beaver ponds, explore lost lanes lined with sugar maples with only each other for company.

Later her mother agreed that the daughter might have led a less tempestuous life if but for a horse. Not long ago, her daughter looked through boxes of yellowed, curling black-and-white photos and realized what coursed in her blood also ran through a family remembered only as old people. The pieces finally fell into place, with a family legacy that pulls it all together now.