Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Best Summer and the Worst Summer


On July 4th, I think about two things. I think about when I went up to Jersey to help take care of my mother for a month. She was so sick, I think I knew she wasn’t going to make it. I went outside on her porch for a cigarette. In the beginning of that month, she was coming out there with me and we were smoking together. But on July 4th, she was in the hospital and I was out there alone. I heard my father’s TV inside the house. I heard the fireworks in the distance and I saw a few over the horizon. People celebrating. Life going on. While I was out on the porch smoking and my mother was dying.

Then, it also makes me think of July 4th, 1976, the Bicentennial. It was the day I brought home my first pony. The family was having a barbecue in the backyard. I tied the pony to the chain-link fence on the front lawn, went into the yard and announced, “Guess what followed me home?”

My mother said, “Oh no Debi, not another dog.”

I said, “It’s not a dog. Come see.”

The family swarmed around him. A horse! It’s a horse! I think they let me keep him because of the novelty of it. My father tried to feed him a hamburger. “They’re vegetarians Dad!” I cried. That’s how much my family knew about horses. But my father got to work building a little barn, one of those 10 X 10 Dutch colonial sheds they sell outside the home improvement stores, and my mother would get Cherokee hay, one bale at a time, and transport it home in the trunk of her Dodge Dart.

Cherokee didn’t make it either. He died right before Christmas. But it was the best summer of my life.

So the best summer is intertwined with the worst summer.

Now I realize I had the worst summer, because I had the best summer. It wouldn’t have been so terrible if I had a mother who wouldn’t let me keep that pony. I wouldn’t miss her so much if she hadn’t been that great.

15 comments:

Tammy said...

"I wouldn’t miss her so much if she hadn’t been that great. "

Another thing we have in common. We were very lucky in the mom dept. And if they can see us now, they will know they were very loved.

Gail said...

What a bitter sweet memory.

Thanks for your well wishes with my hubby's health. The past two months have been rough on him, but he says he already feels better. They put a stint in and things are flowing the way they are supposed to flow.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Tripping Over Cancer, I keep trying to leave comments on your blog but for some reason Blogger won't let me no matter what I try! And there's no e-mail in your profile. I hope you see this. I couldn't be happier that you beat the breast cancer! And it was a horse's kick that saved your life. How ironic. Yours was the last blog I read tonight. What a great way to end it. I can't tell you how happy I am for you!

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Tammy, and she had me when she was 16! Let me tell you, we were piss poor when I was growing up. Where we lived when I got that pony was a major upgrade. But what a wonderful childhood I had. Even when we lived in Jersey City. I should blog about it. Our field trips consisted of taking a ride down the NJ Turnpike to the oil refineries to see the goats they kept there to eat the grass behind the fences. The junkyard dog down the street was purple because he lived next door to the purple dye factory. That's where I lived. And it was wonderful. By the way, believe it or not, that yard where you see me standing with Cherokee was about 50 ft. wide by 100 ft. deep and that's where we kept him! I used to tie him to a cinder block and put him on the neighbors' lawns! I still cry when I hear "Wild Fire" because that song was a hit that year and it makes me think of him.

Gail, I hope your husband is as good as new!

Christina said...

I think we have to have a little bad to recognize the good. I see people who have no idea how to be a loving parent because they havent been exposed to that. I didnt have bad parents at all but I have learned from their mistakes. Thank goodness.

Tanya said...

((((Debi)))you have such great memories...i laughed at your dad trying to feed your pony a hamburger! i love that picture of you and cherokee, can still see that little girl in your face :)

Beth said...

What a great story, Debi. How wonderful that your parents let you keep Cherokee! I love that picture of you and Cherokee, too. I'm stuck by how much your daughter looks like you---pretty girl!

Hard times do make us appreciate the good times, don't they? I can relate to that right now myself. I pray for better times for both of us...but thank God for the good times we've had.

Grey Horse Matters said...

I think we were so lucky to have had great moms who made our lives so happy. My mom didn't have it easy either but we all managed and were happy because she made it that way. How wonderful that your mom and dad let you keep Cherokee. We all have so many memories to look back on to bring a smile to our face but also some tears here and there.

CountryDew said...

Life is bittersweet, isn't it. I wish you many more happy memories, though I am sorry they won't be with your mom. It's tough when you miss someone.

Leonora said...

Certain memories like these are etched right into our minds, down to the smallest detail.
My mom is going on 90 and I'm driving up to NY to see her soon. Your post is another reminder for me to make every second of that visit count.

Sweetflutterbys3 said...

What a great way to look at the difficult times in life! I'm going through a rough patch right now and your words help remind me that there is a good side to everything.

You remind me so much of my childhood friend, April. She loved horses like you do and she would do anything to even be near one. She died young, in a car accident, and it was her love of horses and other animals that I will always remember about her.

Cherokee was a blessed horse to have you. Your mom was even more blessed. You are a great daughter.

Greener Pastures--A City Girl Goes Country said...

Aw, thank you everyone.

Leonora, I'm going to read your blog right now but like Tripping Over Cancer's blog, as you know, for some reason it won't always let me comment. I'm there though!

Cynda said...

You get through the hard times by having such sweet memories. That was a very touching story. Your mother sounds wonderful

Peggy said...

Hi Debi. This is so beautifully written. It brought a tear to my eye. xxoo

Horses Are Our Lives said...

wonderful sentiments though!