If a picture paints a thousand words…

If a picture paints a thousand words, can I write that many words about this picture?


From left to right: Tony, Pam, Queenie, Prince, Cindy. In the background are Grandma, Amy (our collie) and Mom.

I’ll tell you first what I can about the picture. The picture is not dated, but it was probably taken in 1965 or 1966 in our yard at the stone house. I would have been about eight years old, which would make Pam about 12, Mom about 41 and Grandma, I don’t know.  

I do not know, for certain, what season this photo was taken in. It certainly looks like early autumn. Pam and I both are wearing shorts, which would indicate warm temperatures, but there are quite a few leaves on the ground. We had many oak trees on our property that are obviously dropping leaves, but there is one tree in the right background of the picture that hasn’t dropped many leaves at all. Which reminds me, that raking leaves was a big project at our house. Dad would not start raking until all the leaves had fallen. And, he was very methodical about it. And, he never left a leaf. We had to help. Dad never did anything half-assed. He was meticulous to the point of obsession and leaf raking was no exception. Dad must have been at home when this photo was taken. I know this because his station wagon is in the driveway. Dad might be the one that snapped this picture. If he did, maybe he used his Argus camera.

Long before we graduated to horses, we had three ponies, Prince, Queenie and Tony. Pam’s perception might be different, so I ask forgiveness if I get this wrong, but as I remember it, Pam wanted horses. She wanted horses more than anything. At Christmas time, when the rest of us were asking for record players and ice skates, Pam would ask for horses. The rest of us, of course, got what we asked for, but, Pam always got the short end of the stick, so to speak. I think, one year she even asked for a bridle, hoping that that first horse related gift would eventually lead to the next.

Since Pam was always the good girl and really wanted horses, dad was ready to cave. He posed a question for a vote – a swimming pool or horses. Bonnie and I voted for the pool. Linda, my oldest sister, surely wanted the pool, too. I mean, she was already driving, dating boys, working a part-time job, what use could horses be to her? But, Pam and Dad voted for the horses.  So, we got our three ponies.

Dad built a nice barn, with stalls and hay loft and he fenced in an area of yard for our ponies to roam. Pam fed them every morning before school and in the evenings after school, she fed them, brushed them, mucked horse poop and did whatever else was necessary for their well-being.

We joined the 4-H. I remember going to a few meetings in the community building behind our volunteer fire hall. Prince could pull a cart. I vaguely remember dad taking me for a ride in the cart. Did Dad actually run Prince against other ponies in a cart race once?

Once, I walked too close behind Prince while he was grazing. I must have startled him as he bucked and kicked me in the teeth. I didn’t lose any, but I did bleed.

Tony was a mean pony. I didn’t like him. Truth was I was afraid of him. He bit Pam in the ass once. It was a nasty bite that made an ugly bruise. I think she may have been feeding him. She may still have a scar! Or was it her boob?

Neighbors down the road had a huge field and we would take the ponies there to graze. Queenie escaped once.  She walked about seven miles along the road – from country to suburbia and finally stopped walking at Ron Stephenson’s house. I remember his name because he was the news anchor at our local TV station, WJAC. Of the hundreds of homes that could have piqued her fancy, Queenie chose the one that would make the news. Well, that, and I think they had an apple tree that was pretty enticing. Later that night, on the news, for our whole town to see, was Mrs. Stephenson feeding Queenie apples. Yep, we were the “fluff” story of the day. And, of course, it took months to live it down at school.

I don’t know what ever happened to those ponies. I think we sold them or gave them away when we upgraded to horses. Pam would know and I hope she shares that in a comment.

Our collie, Amy, was a friendly dog. Shortly after giving birth to 13 puppies, she was hit by a car and died. Our new sister-in-law, living with us while her husband, my brother, served in Vietnam, hand fed this mass of puppies with an eyedropper every day while we were at school. By the time she got done going around with the dropper once, it was almost time to do it again. In the mornings before school and after school when we got home, we helped with the feedings, too. Well, no I really didn’t help much. I thought their bed stank of sour milk. It was mostly Pam that helped. She would assist with the puppy feedings right after she took care of the ponies. Like I said earlier, she was the good girl. Not all of the puppies survived. Maybe one of my sisters remembers how many did.

So, I just took a word count. I’m close to reaching 1,000 words! I could write more about just how doggone cute I was when I was eight! Or about the time I pooped my pants in school at that age because my third grade teacher, Mrs. Bowman, wouldn’t let me got the bathroom. Or, I could write more about the stone house, or my sister, or my super cool grandma or my mom.

I’m glad I stumbled upon this picture. Happy memories (well, except for pooping my pants at school)!