|(photo credit: Library of Congress Prints|
and Photographs Division)
We could chalk up its origins to my feverish chicken pox brain, but I think there’s more to it than that.
When I was in 1st (2nd?) grade, I got the chicken pox, and I.Was.Elated. Seriously. I was blissing like I’d never blissed before. Because: I Had to Stay Home from School, Preferably in Bed… All Day Long.
And dudes, to this girl, that meant
I could hardly contain myself.
Never mind the itching, I was in the lap of luxury.
I immediately made a plea for books. (There was a brief moment when I thought: Oh my gosh. What if Mom can’t leave my side to pick up library books?!?!) But my amazing mom made it happen. A pile-o-books materialized by the bed. (Truly: a marvel, that lady. Now I’m wondering how she managed that library run in the midst of chicken pox care. I have the sense that my babysitter may have been deployed.)
Tizz was a palomino pony who was part of a family that included a boy named Don and a girl whose name I’ve forgotten but who always had her hair in the perkiest ponytail (ponytail!) I’d ever seen.
Yes, it appeared at that young age that I might become one of those little girls who’s wild about horses. (But instead, I just became one of those little girls who liked reading about horses.)
After the best darn week of my young life (oh, chicken pox, why must you strike only once?) I continued my habit of reading darn near everything (even, as previously disclosed, a biography of Barry Manilow [so you can't ever say I don't tell all]), and that mix included a steady diet of horse books.
During the Nancy Drew years (confession: I’m still in the Nancy Drew years) I adored The Secret of Shadow Ranch because Nancy and her chums were all hanging around this old decrepit ranch and riding horses and solving a highly improbable mystery. And that’s one darn intoxicating blend.
Then there was A Morgan for Melinda, which I remember chiefly because there was a horse in it, and also because Melinda’s family decided to remodel a bathroom rather than take a vacation. As a child, I simply had to disagree with their logic. I still disagree. I mean, for pete’s sake, it’s 30 years later and I’m still making the frowny confused face at that episode. (And guys? Happiness experts would support my argument. They say that money only buys happiness if you use it for experiences, rather than things. Take the damn vacation!)
Then I grew up and thought I was done with the horse books. Then I ran across Hank and Chloe and Cowboys Are My Weakness.
And then the Pioneer Woman showed up with her blog and I got a whole new dose of the cowgirl lifestyle.
And I dreamed of it…. Oh, I dreamed.
But guys? The thing is: I don’t actually want be an actual cowgirl.
I don’t like the smell of manure.
I don't like the smell of hay.
I don't like the smell of hay.
I’m a compulsive hand-washer.
I’m not wild about the pre-dawn hours.
I’m not too much into hard physical labor.
And the blood and guts of ranch life… I’d pass out daily. (Seriously: At age 11, I was at a friend’s farm when a sheep was giving birth, and I kept dashing out of the barn back into the house to draw pictures of the Washington Monument to calm my nerves. [I was already a presidential history geek, and the
was about all my meager artistic skills could render.] Then I’d feel like a
ninny and head back out to the barn. For about 30 seconds. Then flee back to
the house. This went on for some time.) Washington Monument
I Do Not Know How to Ride a Horse.
I am kind of afraid of horses. They are surprisingly big when you see one in real life.
And that branding stuff? Scary. Also: disturbing.
And then there’s that other procedure they do to steers… you know what I’m talking about, and it ain’t pretty. (Never seen it, and never gonna.)
And then the beef cattle get hauled off to market to be… slaughtered. (The vegetarian quivers.)
Yet on I read, all about the horses and the ranches and the cowboys. I’m reading my way right off into the sunset…
*But really, guys? Probably the moral of this story is that I really wanna be a librarian. In that case, mission accomplished.