New Year's Day: I spent it cleaning the house for a visit from an elderly former neighbor, Faye, and her great-grandson, Kel.
I had no idea what I wanted on this first day of the new year...but was certain that I did not want to spend the morning dusting and vacuuming. Or putting on make-up and fixing my hair. Or dealing with company of any sort. But Faye has been a faithful admirer of Cornelius from back in the days when she lived on the other side of the road and fed him carrots on a regular basis. And Kel had been with her sometimes when she stopped to feed treats. I didn't know him very well, but when he was about nine, I let him get up on Corny bareback. His little legs almost stuck out sideways on my broad-backed horse, but he perched up there like a small, very enthusiastic sultan.
Kel lives in the Bay Area with his mother, but visits Faye every Christmas. In spite of my doldrums, I decided to get Corny cleaned up and saddled today so that Kel, if he wanted to, could really ride for the first time. When they drove up, he hopped out of the car I saw that he'd turned into a long-legged almost teenager. I wondered if this sixth-grader had turned too old or too cool to want to ride. I needn't have worried. He dashed up to us and, without even taking the time to say hello, begged to ride. I think he might have actually hopped up and down a bit.
I smiled and told him, of course -- that Corny had been waiting for him.
My horse was bemused by this enthusiastic human. He liked this kind boy who chattered on about everything, but who also intuitively knew how to stroke a horse's nose so very gently.
We didn't do much except walk around the arena and then head across the pasture back to the house. But the sky was very blue, the sun shone and the dogs frolicked.
Kel beamed down at the world from the back of his noble steed. Corny was obviously delighted to be carrying this young man. And I -- I was just happy to be surrounded by such happiness.
A good beginning to a new year.