After opening presents for an hour the large box was the last one standing. Rocky helped me open it and my mouth dropped open. The guests that had stuck around until the bitter end were silent waiting to see what we pulled out of the mysterious package.
It was a rocking horse, a beautiful handmade rocking horse. I was already choked up and overwhelmed, but the craftsmanship and the gesture paled in comparison to the story behind the horse. Rocky had been given one when he was a baby from the same couple almost 29 years ago, the Caughorns. Linda Caughorn had been Rocky's aunt Rawlena's best friend growing up in Walland and she included with the horse a little history lesson.
Once upon a time...a long, long time ago...there were two little girls who lived just a few miles apart. Their families took them to the same church so they were friends long before they started school. One of the little girls had sisters and a brother (Big Rock) and PONIES! The other little girl loved horses her whole life and told everyone "I'm going to get me a horse as soon as I get me a bar." This little girl loved to visit her friend (Rawlena, called Sissy by Big Rock). Rock let the little girl ride HIS pony whenever she came to visit Sissy. The pony's name was Midnight and he was the biggest, prettiest and smartest of the whole herd of ponies! Rock would ride another pony and the three would have so much fun.
The three little pony riders grew up and the little girl that so loved horses got a bar, a horse and a husband, not necessarily in that order! When she heard that Rock and his wife were expecting a little boy, R-3 (aka Rocky), she and her husband decided that he would have to have a special rocky horse. They caught one of their horses and took many pictures: of hoofs, eyes, mouth, ears and even under the tail! The neighbors who saw this photographic event probably wondered why one was holding a horse's tail out of the way and the other was snapping pictures of a horse's back end!
When he finished, one was dark and one was light in color. Remembering the black Midnight, the little-girl-all-grown up decided that the dark one would have to go to R-3 and so he did.
The husband took the pictures and set to work carving. Along the way he decided that it would be just as easy to make two horses and so he did.
Years passed and the other little horse sat all dejected. Then came great news! R-3 and his wife were expecting a little boy (R-4?). R-3's horse with the often broken ears would not be good enough for the new little one! The little light colored horse was dusted off and polished until his wooden coat shown. His mane and tail were brushed and his eyes were polished. He was so excited! Now he would have a special rider and they could travel miles and miles together just like R-3 and Midnight Jr. had done years before...and they all lived happily ever after!
I had sat visiting with Linda and David for quite some time until I was told it was time to open the gifts. They sat there knowing this amazing treasure was waiting for us in that box. I can't imagine what it must have felt like trying to keep such a beautiful secret quiet. Rocky loved his so much, David had to make several sets of ears because he broke off the poor horse's ears multiple times trying to hold on tight. How do you keep broken pony ears a secret?!
It is not my Flashback Friday, but a flashback more than fifty years in the making. The Caughorns kept this horse in their house for decades waiting for the right child to take it home. Little B.B. King is one lucky lucky boy.