Thursday, March 4, 2010

Goldberry


She was his first love. Short and shaggy and four-legged and full of attitude.

Jon wanted a horse practically since he could walk. We bought a wild paint named Dusty who turned out to be only half-gelded--someone hadn't done the neutering job right and he was a right pistol to handle. Not good for a little boy. Not good for a grown woman either, I learned after he tossed me a couple of times. Dusty soon went to the horse sale, and good riddance.

Jon saved his money and we added enough to it to make $100. On his 8th birthday we went to the monthly horse sale at the livestock market to look for a pony. It didn't take long to find one. A man with a trailer full of ponies was outside in the parking lot, and he told Jon that for $70 he could have any one he wanted. Jon looked them all over, and picked Goldberry. With the extra money he got a saddle, bridle, saddle blanket and a curry comb. He was in business.

Goldberry came home and promptly got sick with shipping fever which we learned from the vet was actually pneumonia and not unusual for ponies that were shipped from sale to sale. The horse salesman said she was seven years old. In my years of horse and cattle deals I learned that no animal at a sale is older than seven. It's the magic number where they just quit aging. But I think in this case it was the truth. Goldberry survived shipping fever and turned out to be one good pony.

She loved kids and let any child ride her except Aaron (son #4). For some reason he irritated her and she even bit him once, on the chest. Poor boy, he got little sympathy because the other kids all sided with the pony! Goldberry hate adults who tried to ride her and threw every one who tried. Years later when we finally sold her, she threw the son-in-law of the buyer, breaking his arm. He got little sympathy from us--we told him she'd do it.

As a pony, she wasn't much to look at. She was brown and rough and only looked good immediately after Jon groomed her. She loved running in the brush and could be depended to bring the cows home at milking time because she liked to clean up their spilled sweet feed. While she wasn't a looker, she was a real worker. We'd hook up a cultivator to her to work the tobacco, sorghum or gardens and she went through the rows faster than a tiller could. We had to put a face mask of chicken wire on her because she liked to nip off the plants as she went through the fields. She only tried the tobacco once, though--it, apparently, was not to her taste.

Jon rode her until his feet touched the ground when he straddled her. He adored Goldberry and she returned his love. Later when Jon bought a bigger horse, Goldberry went to Derek, and when both boys left home for the military we finally sold her. The last we knew of her was about 10 years ago when she was owned by a blind girl in a neighboring county.

One of my best memories is Jon and George, our oldest son, riding across the ridge on Goldberry. Two small boys on a pony, silhouetted against the sky on a narrow ridgetop, talking as fast as they could go as the pony jogged along the dirt road. Now that is what childhood should be.

19 comments:

laoi gaul~williams said...

a lovely story sue.

i am presently listening to The Lord of the Rings audio book and not far past the section where we are introduced to Goldberry :)

Susan at Stony River said...

What a perfect name! Much better than Tom Bombadil LOL

I was that exact age when I got my pony; what memories! Jon's life seems to have had everything anyone could ask for, so much love and beauty in it. That last image of him riding into the sunset on his pony is just perfect.

Twisted Fencepost said...

Beautiful memory, Susanna!
Every kid should have a good horse/pony in their life. As well as a good dog.

gigihawaii said...

Susan sent me to your blog, and so far, I am impressed! You write very well. I was sorry to read about your son's death. It is always hard to cope with the loss of a child. I have 2 adult children and 2 grandchildren, and treasure each.

Good luck and best wishes. I hold only good thoughts for you, Sue.

I like your blog so much, I have added it to my blogroll.

jeanie said...

Susie. Your stories make my heart happy. Thank God for our memories. Although they put a lump in our throats and a heaviness in our chest, we wouldn't take a million bucks for them would we? Jon was always a go-getter and always had a story to tell in high school. He was a blast. Keep the pics and stories coming. I LOVE THEM. Love, Jeanie.

Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Beautiful Memories you have to share. Thank You for letting us share part of this.

Granny Sue said...

lee, that is just where the name came from. The boys read the trilogy when they were 7 and 8 years old--proficient readers, they were!

Susan, he would have loved to hear you say that "riding off into the sunset." That was just how he felt on his pony.

Granny Sue said...

TF, a good dog and a good horse--nothing better except a good meal to a boy :-)

Welcome, gigi. I believe I've been to your blog a few times to read a story or two. Thank you for your kind comments. Each day is a little better for me. Remembering him and telling his stories is the best way to keep him alive.

Granny Sue said...

Jeanie, I can just imagine the tales he'd tell! I am glad you are enjoying them. I was so pleased that the two of you remained friends over the years.

Granny Sue said...

I am glad you are here to read the stories, Bill. A guy called the Old Fart would have been right up Jon's alley!

Susan at Stony River said...

LOL And you never mentioned a sunset at all -- why did my head put it there, or is that just where we were ALL going on our ponies? Great days.

Marianne said...

Susie, you have some of the BEST stories!!!!! How wonderful that you even have the pictures to go with each wonderful story of Jon....It is wonderful as well that you want to share all of these stories with everyone....I always hold everything in...

Angela said...

Hey Granny Sue!

That makes me want to run out and get a pony for my 5 yr old boy! Boys just love anything and everything to do with the outdoors and adventure don't they?

Your memories of Jon are just precious. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Janie B said...

What a great Jon story. I'll bet your mind is a veritable movie reel right now of Jon stories. Love that! Sounds like he had a wonderful life and that you are relishing the memories. God bless!

Granny Sue said...

Angela, do it if you can! Ponies are a lot easier than horses to care for and more hardy.

Mary, we all have stories, and we can all learn from each other's stories. That's why I love storytelling--not just the telling, but the stories others tell to me.

Granny Sue said...

That is where we were all going, Susan! Riding off as heroes, all our good deeds accomplished. We didn't have real horses when I was a child, so we made do with stick horses. Same feeling, just easier to control :-)

Janie, as I look through photos I remember so many little things. I wish I had pictures of all the cars he owned! Before he graduated from high school I think he'd owned at least 5 cars--and a camper, and a few motorcycles. He was quite the horse trader.

Janet, said...

I think every child would want a pony, glad Jon had one. You have wonderful and fun memories to share.

Beth said...

beautiful memories and a great picture!

Reisa Stone said...

Sue, what wonderful horse and pony stories! Goldberry puts me in mind of the pony I learned to ride on---Goldie! I learned bareback from a Manitoba Metis family.

Your son is one brave, wise little boy. The story about the lost stallion is priceless. I hope you'll start a discussion thread or two in the Animal Stories group!

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