Saturday, September 22, 2012

Papaw Borrowed a Pony

This looks like a fairly ordinary picture of a man with a couple of kids on a pony. The man is my father. We'll call him Papaw for the rest of this story because that's what his grandchildren called him. The kids are his two oldest grandchildren, Cindy and Slade. There was a third grandchild at this time but Blake isn't in the picture. You'll find out why later.

In the summer of 1983, my parents talked my brother and sister-in-law into letting my then seven-year-old niece spend a month with them. Cindy and her parents lived in Florida so a trip to Kentucky for a month was a big deal. I know the grandparents were a little afraid that she'd get here and immediately want to go home. Papaw thought the key to keeping her from being homesick was to get her anything she wanted. So, when they were arranging the visit, he asked her what she wanted.

Cindy's answer? A pony. [Uh oh.]

Papaw might have flinched for a minute but he started looking for a pony. He called someone he knew had one and offered to buy it. The owner said he wasn't really interested in selling the pony. Papaw said he wasn't really interested in buying it either since he only needed it for a month. In the end, the man agreed to loan him the pony for the duration of Cindy's visit.

I'm not sure if Papaw had considered the logistics of having a pony for a month - you know, little things like where to put it. He didn't have a barn or a shed or even a fenced in yard. Just in case you ever need to know, it's possible to keep a pony tied to a big rope in the backyard.

See the rope?

Mamaw was a little afraid of the whole riding a pony thing. She was really concerned that it would go too fast or just decide to run off with one of her grandchildren on-board. Solution? Papaw sat in a lawn chair holding one end of the rope while Cindy and Slade took turns riding the pony in a circle around him. Day after day after day. For a month. I'm very sorry there isn't a picture of that. Actually, I'm very sorry there isn't a video of that.

I don't remember the pony's real name but Cindy called her Sugarfoot. Slade and Blake called her Penelope.

Wondering where the pictures are of Blake and the pony? I managed to find one where he's mostly on the pony with a little help from his mother. You see, Blake was only two and a half years old and he was just a little afraid of Sugarfoot/Penelope but he didn't want to admit it. When anyone asked if he wanted to ride her, his answer was "It stinks, I'll ride it after Papaw gives it a bath." But he enjoyed taking a swim in the pony's water tub. Apparently, that didn't stink.

This post was written for the 2012 Share a Memory contest sponsored by DearMYRTLE and Not Your Mother's Genealogy.


  1. It's a great story, you brought it back vividly! thank you! From the Mama in the pic.

  2. How simply delightful, Linda! Thanks for SHARING A MEMORY. ;)

  3. Oh, Linda, I'm so glad you've preserved this memory in written words and photos. It's a wonderful story! And I believe your dad was a very patient man.

  4. Sure made me laugh. What a great grandpa! Glad you shared these memories with everyone.