Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Side Ditch Surprise

If Mom hadn't called, I would have never noticed the side ditch surprise. 

Let me back up. 

On Monday night I took Caroline to her first ever Wayne County Grand National of the World. 
Which is also our county fair, but by the way some parents act, you'd think their kids were competing for some sort of international-full-ride-scholarship-title. 
I digress. 

Anyway, I picked up Caroline from daycare, stopped by mom and dad's to circle the wagons then we headed to the fairgrounds. We didn't make it through all the livestock barns, but we had a ball seeing many of the moving parts of a mid-America county fair. 

Then Mom offered to do something she would have never done for her own children: She offered to buy a pony ride for each of the grandkids that were there that evening. After dishing out half of her life savings to a gal who was wearing a Jim Beam apron and speaking Spanish to run-down ponies, Caroline, Oscar and Georgia (cousins) saddled up for three rides around the pen. 

Many thanks to my friend Heather for snapping these photos for me. 
Check out Heather's site!

Mom, why do you always get me in these situations?

This was Caroline's expression during the entire 4-minute ride

She held tight to the horn and rode that pony like a real prairie queen. Or a terrified 11-month-old. Either way - it was fun...until our time was over. WOWZA can this little girl throw a fit when you're peeling her off a pony. 

Cody is in Kansas hosting 45 Argentines this week so I was anxious to send him pictures of our little girl on a little pony.  He has also done some time in the saddle, you know. 

The next day...

Yesterday I went to the post office; on my way back to the office Mom called. 
I'll be quite honest: my favorite song was on the radio and I considered not answering, and calling her back when the song was over. 

I'm so glad I answered. 

We chatted all the way (7 minutes) back to the office, then I put my car in park in the co-op parking lot as we visited more. But then something got my attention. Something across the street. 

"Mom. Wait. You know that tanning salon across from the co-op?"
I asked, unaware if she answered or not. 
"I think there is a tiny saddle out front. Let me call you back."

I hung up on my mother. 

You guys. Don't ever hang up on your mother. 
Unless you spy a tiny saddle in the side ditch of the tanning salon that also sells used cars. 
Next to the muffler shop. 
Across the street from the gas station best known for syringes hidden in toboggans in the back lot. 

I got out of my car and crossed the busy street, anyway. 

I've always been a junkie for junk. 
I was actually on a date once when I asked the guy to pull his truck over so I could load two antique doors out of someone's trash pile and into the bed of his truck. 
We didn't have a second date. 
But I still have those damn doors. 
Anyone need doors?

So when I saw a little saddle laying in the grass along a busy road, I thought back to the previous night and the joy (I think? Her face didn't change until the dismount) Caroline had riding a pony. 

I texted Cody, unsure if he'd be able to answer me with his international guests. 

It was right about then that I remembered that Cody is Harry Shepler's great-grandson. He doesn't exactly take saddles lightly.
Also, we're first-time parents who think our daughter can take on the world: 

Twenty minutes later I left the tanning salon with no sun, but a saddle I spotted in the front yard, for a horse that we don't even own.

This story is a two-part lesson:

1. Always answer the phone when your mother calls. You never know what slowing down for a few minutes and visiting with her will do for you. 

2. Take time - even in a world glued to cell phones - to notice all that is going on around you. In the hustle and bustle of a busy day (and life), how often do we miss opportunities because we're not even aware of the things that surround us? I may not be talking about discounted toys or treasures; I may be talking about people. 

Caroline turns one in ten days. 

There is work 
- scrubbing - cleaning - oiling - polishing -
 to be done 

Stay tuned. 


  1. Oh my goodness this is so great. Stop by the office sometime and Alicia and I will tell you how much we needed this story on day 3 of the Wayne County Grand National.

  2. Tell your friend Stacy to bring some Australian leather conditioner to your home this weekend. It'll do miracles for that ol saddle.

    1. Jesse I'm just seeing this! Per the advice of others over the weekend I bought Saddle Soap. Phase one tonight!

  3. I love your stories. Happy Birthday to Caroline!

    1. Thank you, Kim! I appreciate you reading and the well wishes for sweet Caroline!