Friday, June 21, 2013

First Love

Twenty-six years ago today, I met my first true love. My mother says (and I do not remember nor do I admit to saying this) that my first words about him were, "That ugly white horse?"  But pickings were slim, and it was that "ugly white horse" or hoofing it (no pun intended) while everyone else went trail riding all day.

Six hours and six brain-jarring falls later, I begged my mama to buy me that beautiful golden palomino, and that day started a journey of love and adventure that I will never forget.  First, I had to name my new-found best friend. I was sixteen, so of course my loving mother foot the bill.  She worked at Vanderbilt Medical Center then, and their (the university, anyway) motto was "Go for the Gold.  Hence, Vanderbilt Gold was his moniker.

Vandy and I were quite the pair.  I know this is shocking to all that know me, but I was a my younger days. Shocking, I know, but tis true I had an adventurous streak.  Well, Vandy met my wild streak and raised the stakes.  We ran helter skelter up those Tennessee hills, through creeks and ponds, and did our best imitation of Man from Snowy River.  If you've ever seen that movie, you know what I mean. And all before I had a saddle. Saddling the horse took up valuable riding time - ain't nobody got time for that!

Vandy came with me when I moved back to Mississippi and we spent some time swimming in the Mississippi River (I don't recommend that - killer undertow).  He saw me through more boyfriends and breakups than I care to think about.  He was my constant. One guy, a particular favorite, once commented, "You love that horse more than me." Uhh...duh? If Vandy didn't like the guy, the guy had to go.  Luckily, Vandy was a friendly sort of fella, real affable and laid back, so it wasn't a problem much.

Until you got on him.  Then he turned into a psychotic ninja Tasmanian Devil on crack. Goodness, I just loved him.  He had one little bitty fault - he didn't know whoa.

Yeah, that could be a problem.  All gas, no brake. Once, while in Florida (I stole my boyfriend's horse trailer the night of graduation and went on a road trip) we were a lovely stroll down a sandy road.  Vandy didn't want to stop and the highway was coming up pretty fast.  Still he wouldn't stop (a little stubborn, that one) and splat, down we went like roadkill on that sun-baked Florida highway.  The car missed us by about ten feet, though, so I count my blessings.  Vandy was okay, so don't worry.  I was a good cushion.  When I got home to my grandparents' house, Grandaddy looked at me, swathed from neck to ankle in gauze and one arm in a sling, and says, "Fell off yer horse again, did ya, girl?"

But honestly, my favorite time was the mule train to downtown Natchez during my senior year of high school.  About 200 horses and mules paraded all the way from The Barns on Liberty Road the 3 miles or so to Under the Hill.  Vandy was full of hisself that day and bounce, bounce, bounce was all he was capable of.  The three Dr. Peppers I'd had before we left The Barns became unbearable as we were passing the backside of the stately First Baptist Church.  Luckily there was a strand of trees there.  I hated to do it, but people, I was desperate, okay? I didn't want to tie Vandy up; he was so excitable that day, you know.  So I decided it would be better to hold him.


Just as I was *ahem* in position, Vandy's ears perked, he bugled as the last horse paraded past on the road below us, and off he went, determined not to be left behind.  Picture it, my horse dragging me through the woods, bare bottom up... nevermind.  Don't picture it. I managed to stop him long enough to make myself presentable, haul myself up, when he leaped off the five foot bluff onto pavement and hauled a.. *ahem* tail, he hauled tail to catch up with the others.  Only he didn't stop when he caught up with our group.  Noooo... he kept going, all the way past the wagons, past the leaders, past the police that were stopping traffic.  The whole time, people in the parade were muttering along the lines of "what a showoff", "needs to learn to control her horse".  My mother watches me go by and only thing she says to those around her?  "Never seen that girl before in my life."  Only thing I could think of was "I'm going to die, and I still have to pee."

In conclusion of that fun story, I got poison ivy in a very impolite place to scratch in public. Try explaining that one.

So, after Vandy came with me from Tennessee to Mississippi to Florida, we both eventually wound up back in Tennessee.  I had some rough years, mostly of my own making, but some just the rough knocks of life.  Vandy was always there.  I used to watch the sun rise while laying against his shoulder, and sometimes we fell asleep that way.  He would come running when he heard my truck turn in at the top of the drive and he'd be waiting at the gate for me.

The day I had to sell him was a hard day for me, but my life had turned a corner.  I had a child and there wasn't enough time or money to care for both.  I think Vandy understood.  I've never stopped missing him and I'll never stop loving him.  We had some happy years together and I wouldn't trade them for anything.

Vandy was truly my first love, and he's always in my heart.


  1. What a great story, thanks for sharing!

  2. You're welcome. :) Vandy was my heart. Blitz reminds me so much of him.