1 pm and nothing to do... I can see why people get addicted to shopping. It is a sunny day but cool and windy, I feel like doing something, but what? It is too cold to go for a walk down at the St. Lawrence - I already got an earache just walking around the property. So what then? We could go for a drive, but where to? We could drive down to Morrisburg to the Basket Case for a club sandwich, but we do want to limit the off diet food. I'm not crazy about going shopping, plus the last thing we need is more stuff... I'm trying to organize and tidy all the stuff (junk) we do have. It's Saturday so museums and what not will be crowded. I'm just antsy! Oh, maybe I could clean the house... nah... skip that idea.
We are back from our outing now - we decided to take the truck for a drive to get gas, and maybe drive past one of Carm's old coworkers house, if we saw him outside we'd stop and say hello. We drove down some roads that we don't normally travel and there was something about the area that reminded me of riding when I was a kid. Maybe it was the little ravines, or perhaps the wide open fields. It could have been the colours. Whatever it was I was transported back to the winter and spring of 1975. My Mom had found this place called "Rainbow Ridge" in the small town of Grunthal, Manitoba, about an hour from Winnipeg. The old gentleman that owned the place lived in Winnipeg and went out there every Sunday with a load of kids in the back of his van. We'd have the day to ride and then he'd drive us home in time for supper. Oh what fun we had those Sundays. We'd all pile into the back of the van, sometimes with his St. Bernard puppy, and with music playing on the radio (one of my time warp songs is "you are so beautiful, to me, can't you see..."). After the long drive we'd bundle up (it was in the winter) and run back to the field to get our ponies. Mine was a dark brown little pony named Fudge. We rode bareback so I was happy to have one where I wasn't so far from the ground when I fell. Some of the kids also had ponies, and some had bigger horses.
Once we caught them we'd brush and curry their coats till they shone. Then away we'd go. We'd ride over a wide creek and then up the side of a huge ravine. We'd have to hang onto their manes or we'd slide off their backs. At the top we'd all break into a gallop across the rolling field. From there we'd disburse into little groups - I wish I could remember the name of my friends (I went with some of them to Phantom of the Paradise). We'd hack around the countryside, sometimes on the roads, but often in fields and woods. At lunchtime we'd go back to the farm, down that same steep slope that we had gone up earlier - this wasn't my favourite part of the ride - it was hard to stay on! There was a building for us to warm up and eat our lunches in - we'd be starving! The owner would have hotdogs and french fries that we could buy to augment our packed lunches.
Our afternoons would be more of the same. Races down the roads - my pony was fast for his size and sometimes even beat the big horses. I can close my eyes and recall that exhilarating feeling. We found an abandoned barn and dragged out bales of straw to be used for jumps. Fudge and I could jump two stacked - bareback! One of the girls was from Grunthal and introduced us to some boys from the area. My boyfriend was Jeff Broesky - I still have love letters from him (feel free to laugh, we were 12 or 13) - he wanted to be a figure skater. He had a big golden palamino and would ride over in the morning to join us for the day. Oh - this is funny. One day a bunch of us decided to have a contest to see who could kiss the longest - so kiss we did - puckered lip to puckered lip, barely touching - I remember thinking "I could do this for a long time, but it's really boring."! Isn't it funny the things we remember.
At the end of the day we'd groom our ponies and set them free for another week. Then we'd pile back into the van, sitting on the floor, exhausted from our day. The drive home was always pretty quiet.
Winter turned to spring and then one day we got there and my little pony was gone. In his place I'd be riding Dusty, a big pinto with the biggest withers you can imagine (remember we were riding bareback - ouch!). It turned out that the owner was selling his farm and moving to another location. He wouldn't be transporting us every weekend anymore, and some of our ponies would be sold. I begged and cried but had no luck with my parents, they wouldn't buy Fudge for me. Anyway, it was a really cool way to spend a winter, a dream come true in a way. If only when I finally got my own ponies I had the same braveness, instead of a chicken bone...
Back to now and our drive to Jim's... as luck would have it Jim was outside fixing the pasture fence by the road so we stopped for a little visit. As he and Carm caught up I looked across the wide brown fields and remembered... I felt a little melancholy. As we were driving back home Carm voice it well when he said "I wish we still had the horses". But there is a time for everything and that time isn't now.