Even though it seemed especially mellow for some reason this year, it was a good Christmas, nonetheless (honestly, I don't think I've ever heard of anybody referring to their Christmas as a bad Christmas because then they would either seem ungrateful, or a scrooge; either way, they would appear very self-centered).
The weather was a bit of a disappointment--obviously no snow (we usually have a better chance for that in February, down here in Mississippi; it's not magic December snow, but hey, beggars can't be choosers). Instead, it was in the high 30s to low 40s, and it was pouring rain. We even had a few tornadoes sprout up; and we were worried about having to spend Christmas in our "safe place", without a Christmas dinner. I personally enjoyed having rain on Christmas. When it's sunny on a holiday, I always feel (ridiculously so) that I ought to be spending my day out of doors getting something done, either by spending time with Joey, or cleaning something up in the barn. But when it's rainy and "nasty" out (I never understood why people refer to it as nasty weather--I quite like good rain showers), I feel justified in staying indoors, next to the fire with my family. I was most grateful that I was not one of those horse owners who live up north that had to be battling a winter storm on their Christmas. When I mentioned this to my parents when they complained of rain and no snow, my dad only laughed and me, and Mom gave me a queer look. Hmm, I wonder how they would enjoy the situation?
The day after Christmas, I woke up on time to feed (amazing, isn't it?); so I dressed warmly (in my brand-spankin new felt cowgirl hat!!) and headed out to do the chores. It was cold; and most of it was wind chill. I don't think I have ever felt the wind that cold and that powerful at the same time down here before. I began to think that maybe the plan of bringing my book along for a quiet read in the barn would have to be altered. When I arrived in the barn, I found my dad, bundled up to his ears, on a ladder, hanging old tarps around Joey in his stall. Joey was buried in an enormous pile of hay. o.0 "I've already fed," Dad told me, his voice muffled by the scarf that was wrapped around his face. I can see that you've already fed.
Now, I'm ashamed of it, but most times, when some caring family member has told me that they've "already fed", it just gets under my skin. Why do they think I wanted a horse? Do they not understand that much of the joy of having a horse comes from the smells and textures of feed time? But I couldn't stay mad at Dad after seeing him buffeted by a sudden strong wind. He called out, "Maybe you should put his blanket on?" And then when I was in putting Joey's blanket on, I realized the point of the tarps. "Do you feel any wind in there?!" Dad shouted above the gale that had arisen outside of the makeshift walls, "Because it's really blowing out here!" My heart melted, and all unjust annoyance was gone. My dad is not somebody who goes outside to do extra things for the comfort of the animals. They're animals, and animals live outside, experiencing the elements because that's what makes them survive; if they don't, then oh well. There's more of them in the world, somewhere. At least, that's what I'm sure he thinks of them.
As the wind died away for a moment, he told me that he had woken up in the middle of the night, hearing the wind and the rain outside, and he had felt bad for Joey; he hadn't slept well after that, he said. "We're gonna put doors on the barn," he said. Ah, so it was that old line. I just nodded my head. "Mm-hmm," I replied, my mind going through everything he had just told me, evaluating how much of it was actually true and how much he had actually felt. Then he looked at me with serious eyes and said determinedly, "No, Samantha, I mean it; I'm really sorry that we don't have them up yet." I was taken aback by this statement. It's been three years since we built the barn and talked about immediately putting big doors on the front and back of it. My dad had never apologized for not having doors on the barn before. I played with Joey's mane absentmindedly. Throughout the rest of the time we were out there that morning, he kept quietly expressing how sorry he was at intervals. It was nearly baffling to me.
Here's a picture of the result of my poor father's labors. It kept out the wind rather nicely. Joey wouldn't come out of it all day, even when the rain stopped:
|(He's eaten all the hay, obviously.)|
Joey received a nice [ginormous] bag of molasses cookies. . .not that we were out. . .and not that we should encourage his prejudice to any other kind of snack. . .>_> Haha, but he was really excited about them! :D
We both received a joint gift of nylon cross ties for our barn aisle. I was really excited to get those! One more step toward actually looking like a horse barn. ;) I forgot that Joey had already been tied with cross ties before, and so cautiously tied him in the center of the aisle, backed away and took a picture.
[Note: Yes, I am well aware of all of the stuff in the aisle behind Joey. I will not be tying him up again before cleaning all of that up. I just had him stand there for about 2 minutes to snap the picture and then he went back out to pasture. Thank you for your concern. -_- ]
Shelby (my 13yo sister) and I also received Breyer model horses as presents this year. She opened the buckskin paint (who had more of a metallic sheen to him in real life and was a darker, more bronze color than in the catalog/his pictures).
And I. . .Well, when I unwrapped this pair, I just about came unglued.
I have been trying to hunt down this pair of classics for three years now. I saw and fell in love with them, soon after we moved back to the south, in a Tractor Supply store that was a three hour drive from our house. I despaired when I found that I did not possess enough pocket money for the beautiful pair. I vowed that I would come back and get them soon, and Dad agreed to bring me.
Alas, I never made it back. A new TS was installed in our own town, and Dad reasoned why drive three hours to a store that we have 20 minutes down the road? He had no idea. . .
I saved my money in a special box for them, and I hunted for "Samson" and "Delilah" online and locally for the next three years, but without success (I had already chosen the perfect names for them). I received the news that Breyer had discontinued/retired them. That was a sad day. But not such a big deal as a few weeks ago. . .
. . .When Mom and I were browsing for potential Breyer Christmas gifts online, and then. . .I saw them. One set left. And for way more money than they really were worth. I begged and pleaded with my Mom like never before, but to no avail. Feeling a final defeat, I went to sleep, and those horses danced mockingly in my dreams for the next two weeks, just out of reach.
The last present I unwrapped on Christmas morning, two weeks later, was them. I couldn't believe my eyes. I don't know where she got them; but Mom came through for me. Again. ^.^
They, too, are much darker in real life than they are in their pictures. (I should have known.) And suddenly they didn't look like a "Samson" and "Delilah" pair anymore. So they have different names: Apollo, my first and only eventing horse; and Moonlight Eclipse for his promising daughter.
Upon their arrival and naming/occupation-deeming ceremony, Shelby and I swiftly built an eventing course for the stallion and her little TB mare, Dandy Mandy. Apollo won, of course. ;)
And in case you were wondering: Shelby's new paint stallion, Last Chance, is currently the leader of his own wild band. ;)
There was more to my Christmas, but those are the high points of it; and I need to go out and feed supper to the animals. Oh, and I will post a picture of my "brand-spakin new" cowgirl hat in a later entry; the weather has not cooperated as of late.
Thanks for reading. I hope you decide to come back for more (and don't be afraid to subscribe). :D