Friday, July 18, 2008


The year was 1948 and I was in the third grade when my father picked me up after school, something he NEVER did before. I climbed into the truck (we did not have a car then) and all he said was we had to stop somewhere before going home. That somewhere happened to be a farm about 2-3 miles from home where we “picked up” the pony he had bought for me. It was a total, absolute surprise!! Although I had never been on a pony or horse before, I was instructed on how to put on the English saddle that was included in the purchase and rode the pony home while my father slowly followed with the truck. To fully appreciate the significance of this pony one must remember the time, 1948, when a young boy's heroes were Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, and a host of other cowboys who did battle with the bad guys and the Indians.

Pal, the old one eyed Shetland circus pony was to be my companion for several years to follow. His “barn” was a small shelter my father constructed onto the end of one of the chicken coops. He spent most of his time grazing in one of the many small fields around the farm. I taught myself how to ride and spent countless hours chasing bad guys with my six guns blazing, either out in our range or in the fields across the road. When our neighbors got their pony we would ride together through nearby farms and orchards, or race one another in one of the fields. Although their pony was at least 2 hands bigger than Pal, I believe we did win at least some of those contests.

Of course there were certain things that were required of any cowboy worth his salt, like grabbing an overhead limb and dismounting while galloping under a tree, or running and leaping into the saddle from behind your steed, and of course waving your hat while the horse rears up into the air. Being the good cowboy that I was, I practiced all of these with rather limited success, often determined by the amount of cooperation from Pal. He was rather stubborn, and frequently decided on his own when it was time to run, walk, or go home. On more than one occasion our riding session would abruptly end and all I could do was hang on while he headed for his barn at full gallop. I lost count of the number of times I hit my head on the low branches of the Mulberry tree on the corner of our lane; branches or not, Pal was not deterred from his mission to reach his barn. I wondered if Trigger ever did that to Roy Rogers.

OK, so I left my hat and guns at home.

Albert and me...


dog face girls said...

Oh Bill, the pics are priceless.



Peanut said...

Oh haha Pal knew when he was done and wanted to go home. How funny.


Villager said...

Great post! I love old family pictures and I display them on the walls because I think it's a shame to leave them inside some drawer.

ankur said...

I think having that pony would have been the greatest gift of your life,from your father side.