I’ve been thinking about my dreams. Not the kind that come during sleep, the kind that come in my waking hours. Often my daydreams are about happy things; remembering someone I love or something that made me laugh. But they can also be remembrances of sad times. Or they can be sheer fantasy, about what I want, or something that I want to accomplish, like writing a book.
I daydream a lot and I call those moments staring into space time. It is often when my best ideas come and I jump into action to bring what I want into fruition. So it was many years ago, when I was a small, naive fourth grader. I was in love with horses, begging and pleading with my father to please get me one. Earlier, as a second grader, I believed I was a horse and would gallop across the potato fields near our home, snorting and pawing the ground when approached by some of my friends.
Those were the days of early TV with shows like Howdy Doody, Kukla, Fran and Ollie, and The Merry Mailman. The sponsor of one of them, advertised a contest that I jumped at the chance to enter because I knew I would win. The trick was to send in the winning name for a small Shetland pony with silvery mane and tail and a golden coat, similar to Roy Roger’s horse, Trigger. The only differences were that the pony was much smaller, and lacked the blaze down the middle of his face. Instead he had a white patch, the shape of a star, on his forehead, right above his eyes. If the name you sent in was the one chosen to be the winner, he’d be delivered to your home in a fancy pony trailer pulled by a pick-up truck that looked like my dad’s.
I knew I could build a stall in one corner of our two-car garage because mom never parked her car in there anyway. I knew my dad would have a fit, because whenever I asked if we could get a pony or a horse, he said “no, we can’t afford it.” I figured that because the pony didn’t cost anything and because I won it, he’d have no choice but to accept the fact that the pony was mine. I owned it!
I thought and thought about the perfect name. Staring out the window above my bed, when darkness came and the Milky Way glittered in the night sky with billions of pin-prick lights, I made a wish upon one of them. I knew that the name I chose would be the winner.
I sent in the entry blank and waited for the phone call that would tell me that Star would be delivered tomorrow. I kept the whole thing a secret. Every night as I was falling asleep I searched the dark sky for the star I had wished on and then dream about the pony who would soon become my life companion.
Weeks passed before the lucky winner was finally announced one late afternoon. It was perfectly clear that someone had made a terrible mistake. I was heartbroken. When I finally told Mom about it, she laughed and told me that not all of our dreams come true. I responded with, “it was not a dream, I KNEW I was to be the owner of that pony and it is soooo unfair that somebody else has won him.”
My horsey daydreams continued into my teens when I was sent away to boarding school for a year, where I took riding lessons. I learned to jump, and won a couple of blue ribbons at the school’s horseshows, competing in the novice class. I also learned a deep respect for horses as well as fear when one of my classmates was thrown from her horse during a brief thunderstorm. She ended up in a body cast for many months. But, the companion of my dreams never materialized on my doorstep and life went on its merry way.
I got married, had kids and living in a tiny community in northern Vermont, got into raising chickens, sheep and Angora goats on about 20 acres of open land. One day, a friend asked me if I’d like to have one of her horses. I had ridden Haggerty several times at her farm. He was a nice enough bay gelding, just a little skittish. I thought, why not? I had the barn and the space. I was a stay-at-home hippy mom with energy, time, and an aging dream. If I was ever going to own a horse, this would be the time.
I was very excited and started preparing a stall. When Haggerty was delivered, he didn’t feel at home in his new stall and his skittishness turned into terror. Whenever I approached, he’d back away and start to rear up or run off to the opposite side of the pasture. One day he jumped the fence and ran into the wilds. Randy, his former owner came to help me find and capture him. He was clearly not happy and my fear of him was growing. He was simply not the horse meant for me.
Haggerty went back to his old home and I gave up the dream that a horse was in my future. But I still find myself dreaming about horses. This time, I’d just like a gentle old mare like myself. I wouldn’t ride her or make her work. We’d just chat across the fence and dream about what it might have been like had we found each other sooner. The problem now is that my yard is only one-third of an acre.