December 17, 2010

shelly's girls and the horse

Uncle John has always had this horse. For as long as I can remember.
Maybe it's not the same horse.
Maybe he gets a new one when the old one wears out.
But it's the same corral (with a baseball field behind), and the same little red barn.
What I remember most about this horse is that every year, when we all gathered together at Uncle John's for Christmas or Thanksgiving, the danged animal was brought out to torture all the little kids.
Uncle John would say," Let's go out to the barn."
He wouldn't say anything else.
He's a man of few words.
Then we would stand around while he brought the horse out, saddled and ready.
We older kids almost never got to ride. That special novelty was saved for the little guys.
One by one, Uncle John would ask them,"Want to ride?"
And one by one, they would nervously look at the horse snorting in the corral, and furiously shake their terrified little heads in an emphatic no, sir.

Poor things. They didn't stand a chance.

On the horse they went.
Shivering in terror, but too well behaved to start screaming yet.
They clung to the saddle horn, being led 'round and 'round the corral, tears streaming down their faces, begging to be let off.
All the while we assured them they were having enormous amounts of fun. Horseback riding was fun. If they would only stop crying long enough to realize it.
I want you to know, Uncle John isn't sadistic, he's one of the kindest people I know, but he's a horse man, and horseback riding is just done.
And he didn't really understand why the girls were so scared. None of us did for that matter.
They were scared of every animal alive. If they saw the little neighbor weiner dog, they'd crawl up your leg until they reached your shoulders, and then lock you in a choke hold....sobbing hysterically until you maneuvered them safely into the house. And locked the doors. And don't forget the deadbolt.
We figured they'd grow out of it.
Weeeelll.
They've gotten better. We'll just leave it at that.


Cathryn, age 13.
Thirteen.
I can't believe it. She shaves her legs now. She used to sit on my lap....now she does things like change her relationship status from 'single' to 'in a relationship'. And then back to single again.



Marianna.
This picture does something for me. Makes my heart go pit-pat-pit-pat.
Look at her soft, butter-wouldn't-melt smile.
She's probably thinking up evil things to do to her sisters though....



Joy.
Ha. Still clutching the saddle horn.
Some things you just never outgrow.



Joshua.
The only boy in a family full of girls.
The only nephew in the middle of 12 neices.
Poor guy. His toenails have seen polish a few times.



Lulu.
I love the shorts and boots combo.
And I love the one hand hanging on to the saddle horn.
Safety precaution.



The mommy.
Aka, Shelly.
 Aka, my sister. Aka, lady with beautiful hair.
This isn't Uncle John's horse. I don't know who this horse belongs to.
It looks like it's choking on a cigar.