Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Pony Tails

Dad’s disbelief

My father was a city boy. He knew about small critters like rabbits and the like, but that’s about it. He knew nothing about horses or ponies, and was completely befuddled with the fact that his daughter was completely enamoured with them. He didn’t encourage my fascination, yet neither did he make any attempt to quell it either. I had puzzles with ponies on them, books full of them, and watched every television show with them in it. It helped that he loved westerns, and they had their share of horses!
When we moved to the countryside when I was little, he let me believe that we were making the move so I could have a horse, we didn’t. Every shed that went up was for my pony, they weren’t. I fell for it every time, and he built a few outbuildings, so I was duped quite often. Dad would chuckle, mom would admonish him, and I continued to live in hope.
The pony I so desperately wished for, and dreamed of, never transpired, but there were horses and ponies aplenty in the surrounding countryside, so I was able to get my fix.
I remember stopping at home when I was out riding a favourite pony. A little, bay mare that had been a pony-ride mount, June Bug was about as obstinate as they came. Daily riding by an incredibly stubborn girl, me, had seen massive improvements, but she was still a long way from being a kid’s pony. The start of every canter began with seven, rather enthusiastic bucks in a row. I have to admit, when my ability increased to where she didn’t leave me sitting on the ground, I totally enjoyed her shenanigans. There were even a few old farmers, who would make sure they were outside to watch the little rodeo. Better than television, those bucking starts of ours.
Anyway, this particular, hot summer day, I stopped by home for a drink of water. I left June Bug tied by the garage, and went inside. I chatted with my mom a little, had a drink of water, then went back outside. What did I find waiting for me? There was my father, the man who had no use for anything equine, holding the pony by a pail of water, feeding her lettuce leaves which she was actually eating, and patting her. There was so much about the picture before me that boggled my mind. I could hardly believe that dad was holding her, never mind that she was eating lettuce leaves. To this day, I believe she was doing so to be polite.
“Did she get loose?” I asked out of confusion, for I could see no other explanation.
“No,” shaking his head, he shrugged as if he held ponies every day, “it looked hot, so I brought it a pail of water.”
“Oh … thanks, and she’s a she, dad,” I corrected as if it mattered, “I guess I’m going to get going now.”
“Home by quarter to five,” he reminded, though it never helped. I couldn’t be on time, if my life depended on it. If there was horses or ponies involved, the chances of being home when told dropped significantly. Supper was at five, end of story.
“I will be,” I promised like usual.
Of course my intentions were good, reality, well that was something quite different. Time, being on time was a huge struggle. Invariably, I would arrive home late, get grounded, and dad would be greatly annoyed. Poor mom, she was always in the middle of it, but like I said, I couldn’t help myself. I would be very quiet, very sad and mope around, and dad would always cave.
“Go already, shet sparrow,” he would grumble, and I would be off like a shot. It was his name for us kids, when we were incorrigible. He always called us ‘shet sparrows’. It was his pet name for us. A term of endearment, if you will. It was the same story on weekends. If it had been up to that old world, ever so strict father of mine, we kids would’ve worked all the day long. Mom put her foot down though. We did chores until noon, then were set free to be kids. Once in a while, dad would have pity on us, and let us loose early. He would walk by, and that familiar ‘go” would grumble from him, as if it killed him to do it.
Things didn’t improve as I grew older, and when I got my own horse, I wanted to spend every free moment with her. Dad and I would butt heads, never a good thing, as we were both incredibly stubborn. I was never disrespectful or rude, just tenacious. I would dig in my heels, he would as well, and it would be an impossible standoff, especially if I knew I was right. There was one thing about that stubborn Dutchman, he never said he was sorry. Dad’s apology to me was always horse feed. The more sorry he was, the more bags of feed I received. He would come home from work and as he walked by me, he would say, “there’s something in the back of the car for you.”
A really big argument was good for three bags of feed! The teen years were good to me, because dad had taught me to stand up for myself. I bet he never thought he’d be on the receiving end of it.

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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