In the interest of getting to know who I am, I’m sharing stories from my life. I call them Preliminary Files and I hope you enjoy them.

PygmeMy grandpa, Ernest Earl Baker, retired from his work as an electrician for the railroad. Naturally the next step for a retired railroad electrician is to start up a pony ring. He bought a bunch of Shetland ponies and offered rides to kids in shopping center parking lots.

I got to know some of the ponies when I was seven. They had cool names like Spartan, King, Captain, and Joe-Jack. I’d ask them about their names and they would never, ever answer me. I figured there was a bit of a language barrier, what with them speaking Pony and me speaking English. They’d just stare at me with a calm, inquisitive look as they munched away on their barley and oats.

I never rode them because riding horses was not my cup of tea. Which is why I was surprised when Dad told me he’d gotten me a pony for my eighth birthday.

After I blew out my candles and we all had cake & ice cream he said, “Come outside, I’ve got a surprise for you.”

There he stood on the grass, with an unmistakable look of vicious wildness, trying desparatly to force his eyes open wider than their capacity.

I didn’t like the look of this one.

Dad said, “Hop on!”

I said,”What? Oh… no thanks. Maybe I’ll just pet him.” But inside I was saying, “Don’t pet him! Run away! Run away now!”

But then Dad insisted.
Dad had indicated on several instances that his insistence is not to be denied.

So I mounted the beast.

Dad said, “Ready?” and with every particle of my being I wanted to answer no, but that would just prolong my hellish dread, so I just said yeah.

Dad let go of his halter and Pygme forthwith bent his neck around backwards. I caught a glimpse of white teeth protruding beyond pink gums as he clamped into my leg with just over four thousand pounds of pressure.

Once he was positive I was in excruciating pain, he let go, did a wheelie and charged off out from under me, thundering off into the distance as I did a triple-gainer into the dirt.

I looked pitiful and Dad could see that now. So I was released from my obligation to pursue the joys of horseback riding.

(My Lesson: Intuition is always dead on. If you feel something is dangerous, run away. And; always remember ponies don’t speak English.)


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