Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Pony Tails n’ Tots

When my kids were tiny tots, they went everwhere with me. If there was fence to fix, they walked with me, hay to haul, same story. They learned about chores, responsiblity, and how to get on with it, from a very young age. One day, when my little sweetpea was about 3, and big brother was in school, she and I went for hay. This was a relaxed affair. We would stop in a small village, gas station on the way, to pick up drinks and treats; because that was part of the tradition, then carry on to whatever hay field. I would drive from stook to stook, taking my time loading the trailer, all the while, sweetpea would be making a hundred observations, and asking twice as many questions. I was in the midst of picking up a bottom bale, when there was sudden movement from beneath it. Quick as a wink, I snatched up the garter snake, and showed it to an astounded, liitle girl. Settling onto the bale, I encouraged her to sit beside me.
“Look, sweetie,” I showed her the snake, “this is a red-sided garter snake. Would you like to hold it?”
Eyes wide as could be, she shook her head. I grinned, because she was sitting on her tiny hands. She wasn’t about to be tricked.
“Are you sure?” I asked, petting the snake, to show her it was okay, “I’m going to let it go pretty soon. Last chance.”
Again, she shook her head.
“Okay then,” standing up, I smiled at the adorable face, “I’m letting it go now, okay?”
“Okay mom,” she areed, blue-green eyes, as big as saucers.
I set the snake free, and we continued loading hay. As we slowly loaded the next stook of bales, I could see that she was doing some deep thinking. I didn’t have to wait too long.
“Yes sweetie?”
“I wish I holded that snake.”
Right then, I picked up a bale and caught a glimpse of something familiar. Snatching up another snake, I held it out to her with a huge smile, “Here you go then, one snake to hold.”
This time, she had a big grin of anticipation. This time, she was more than ready to hold the snake. We sat there a while, admiring the snake. When she was ready to, she carefully released the snake into the grass, safely away from any possible car tires.
She remained quite pleased with herself, and I was pleased that we had seen a second snake. For we finished loading the trailer, and didn’t see another.
On the drive home, I could see that she was having deep thoughts.
“Mom? Can I ask you something?”
“Of course, Munchkin,” I encouragingly smiled, “Go for it,”
“If there’s a snake in a bale, the horses won’t eat it, will they?”
“Of course not, sweetie,” I assured, “Horses don’t eat snakes.”
“Okay,” she was satisfied with the answer, “as long as they don’t eat them.”
I smiled at my precious, precocious child, and wondered what she’d think, if she knew horses stomped snakes until they were paper thin. I hoped she wouldn’t find out, for many, many years.
“Yes sweetie?”
“I’m glad I holded that snake.”
“I am, too, Munchkin,” I chuckled, “I am, too.”

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB