Well, now I'm five and a black wooly shetland pony entered my existence. If years were the only criteria, she could have been my mother. Well, she mothered me a lot.
The day she arrived neither Dot nor I would let the other ride alone, or maybe it was neither one of us would ride by ourselves. We both mounted and proceeded up the lane toward where the high school was later built. The pony was in strange surroundings and a bit apprehensive so she stopped, lifted her head and whinnied. It was not just a polite little call but a real honest to goodness, top of the lungs, gut wrenching holler.
No one had a stop watch on our dismount but Polly hadn't even breathed in yet by the time we were at the front of the house. Now, these were two kids born on a farm, I mean, really!!
Either Homer Greer or ole Harry who worked for us on the dairy, won a wagon at a raffle for a dime. Now this wagon was not the Sears type and wasn't painted red. It was a hand make replica of a farm wagon and to show you how well it was made, that wagon has been on that farm since 1935, used by everyone for every purpose including being used as a motorized go-cart and it is still in excellent working condition today.
I hitched Polly to it, usually with a horse sized breast strap and traces but no shafts. Going down hill was no problem. I merely sat on the front and put my feet on the pony's rump and kept the wagon from running up on her heels. Or, if we had a "heavy" load, I put a broom stick through the spokes of the rear wheel and let them slide along for braking action. Worked Great.
Polly was gentle, as only mature shetland's can be. We crawled over her, under her, pulled her tail or,ears which she seemed to enjoy. Really, it only kept the flies off her. But one day, towards evening we had Polly in the yard near the house.
Ruth Stilley, who later figured more strongly in my life was visiting for the summer. I had moved polly's front and rear legs apart so I could crawl under her front to rear, then I dared Ruthie to follow the leader. She started through, with some apprehension and as she exited from between the rear legs of the pony, my dad threw some water in the air which landed precisely on Ruthie's bare back. She expected the worst had occurred and as she scrambled out she screamed "Wait Polly, Wait till I get out of here."
My Dad was a basket case, Mom about fell off her chair and Polly opened the other eye. It took a long time for that exclamation of Ruthie's to bring only a smile.
I did all sorts of things with Polly, I mowed the lawn, hauled corn stalks to the silo, drug heavy "logs" and even rode on her back. She had the patience of Job and tolerance for all creatures.
I had a mongrel black and white dog named, appropriately, Mutt. At the same time I also had a big blue Chinchilla rabbit named Rabbit.
Mutt was always loose but the rabbit was penned up in a cage. Seems
my absense of regularly feeding him caught my folks attention so rather than have them after me, I let the rabbit loose. Problems? No, Rabbit and Mutt became friends and somewhere there's a picture of Mutt and Rabbit laying back to back on the front porch.