Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Happy Birthday, Cupcake

Tonight, my old mare turns 26.

On the evening of May 11, 1981, G’s Liberated Lady (aka “Cupcake”) came into the world at Red Lake Stable in southeast Roanoke County.

I boarded my Blackie, my quarter horse, at Red Lake and rode the adjoining Blue Ridge Parkway trails almost daily. Blackie’s stall was next to Fair Lady, the barn manager’s pregnant racking mare. Naturally, I’d look in before I left to see if anything had happened. At four o’clock on May 11, it hadn’t.

A few hours later, I got a phone call. Another boarder on her way out saw legs protruding from Fair Lady. She called the barn manager who called other boarders. By the time my husband and I had driven the 8 miles to the barn, a wet foal lay in a heap in the stall. A surprised Fair Lady, who at 16 was pretty old to be a first time mom, lay nearby.

A dozen or so of us stood in the barn aisleway for what seemed like forever. Eventually, Fair Lady rose and sniffed the alien being in her stall. After many tries, the foal wobbled to its feet and started to nurse. We on-lookers heaved a collective sigh. The barn manager went in and toweled the baby dry.

“It’s a girl,” she announced.

“How much do you want for her?” my husband asked. I knew he didn’t mean it. He always squelched my ideas of buying a second horse.

“She’s not for sale,” the manager said.

Six months later, she was. I got the call at school while I was on my planning period.

“How much?” I asked.

“Three hundred.”

The timing was good. My husband was in Philadelphia on a business trip. I stopped by on my way home from school and wrote the check.

Buying her was both the best and the stupidest thing I ever did. We’ve been though a lot together. Her personality and mine have always been pretty much the same.

When I got her, I was still in my mid-30s, which I now consider pretty young. When I faced middle-age, she was an adolescent. In my early middle-age, she was young. For a time, we were middle-aged together. Somewhere she passed me. At 26, she is old; I can see old age looming.

I missed her birth, but I was there for her first step. With any luck, I’ll be there for her last.



Blogger Leslie Shelor said...

Cupcake is beautiful! Wonderful that you've been able to share so much!

2:43 PM  

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