This is a fictionalized account of a true story that happened to me... way back when... written as a children's picture book. If you read this to your children--let me know how they like it!
Izzy’s Almost Dream Come True
“Everyone get ready, we’re going to Eldridge Park!” Mom yelled. She had to yell because the four boys always yelled and if you wanted to be heard by them, you had to yell louder. “Get dressed and Izzy, remember your shoes!” she reminded Izzy.
Izzy was the middle child, tall, for six years old, and skinny and she HATED to wear shoes. Her little sister was just three and her baby brother was just a toddler but he had already learned how to be a boy which meant yell a lot and run everywhere. She also had another younger brother and two older brothers. As you can see, this is a LOT of brothers, too many really, in Izzy’s opinion.
This day was going to be glorious. Eldridge Park! The merry-go-round! The bumper cars! Best of all… ponies! Izzy couldn’t wait to ride the ponies! Her first word as a baby was “sorsey.” She wanted a horse so bad she could taste it. She wanted a horse so bad it was all she talked about. She read books about horses and dreamed about horses and just knew that someday she would have her very own horse.
Mom packed a lunch for everyone. This was a huge undertaking because the boys ate like they were never going to see food again. She took two whole loaves of Wonder bread and started slathering peanut butter on one slice and grape jelly on the other and slapping them together and putting them right back in the bread bag they came out of. When she was done it didn’t even look like she had opened the bread bag yet—it just looked like a loaf of bread. The she grabbed a bag of apples and another of oranges and put that in the basket along with a gallon of Koolaide—orange, two bags of potato chips, some paper plates, cups and napkins and we were ready to go!
Dad put the top down on the old blue Packard. It was the most divine bluish-green color—Izzy’s favorite color in her box of crayons- aquamarine. The seats were like a great big old sofa. They were huge and cushy and there were no seat belts back then—can you imagine that? (I’m sure it wasn’t very safe.) There was no center console for water bottles—there weren’t even water bottles, and mom and dad who drank coffee all day never even thought of taking coffee with them wherever they went, so I guess you didn’t really need the center console anyway. Weird, huh?
You could squash as many people as you wanted in that car. The three bigger boys scrambled into the back seat with Izzy and her sister and the baby squished in the front seat between mom and dad and they were off!
It took forever to get to Elmira and then to go under the big black tunnel and when we came out of the tunnel—there was Eldridge Park! Dad parked the car, mom handed each of us two dollars for rides and as everyone started to scatter… Mom yelled, “Be back at twelve for lunch!”
Izzy ran straight towards the pony ride and stopped short. She thought she was seeing a vision, the sun was shining down on the most beautiful white pony standing there tied to a tree with a ‘for sale’ sign tacked to the tree. She approached the pony slowly, holding out her hand so he would know she was a friend. She couldn’t believe it. This was the perfect horse for her, just her size, pure white like a fairy tale horse, and so sweet and gentle. She petted him and told him how beautiful he was and wished she had a carrot for him.
Izzy shyly went up to the man sitting by the pony ride. He was sort of scary looking, with a grizzled grey beard and a baseball hat on and he just looked sort of mean. Izzy was not going to be scared away by him though. She asked, “What’s the pony’s name?”
“Snowball,” he answered gruffly. Then he said, “you lookin’ to buy a pony?”
“Oh, I AM!” exclaimed Izzy. “I really am! How much is he?”
“A hundred dollars, but for you I might go a little less,” he said and he sort of smiled. Maybe he wasn’t really so mean… “Ya better ask yur dad and ma before we seal the deal though.”
Izzy turned around and ran. She ran as fast as her legs could carry her all the way back to the picnic area. She felt like she was flying, she couldn’t believe it, a pony, oooh boy! This was HER horse she could just feel it. This is what she had been dreaming about forever! Her very own horse. Oh please oh please oh please let her mom say yes. She ran and ran.
“MOM!” She yelled as she skidded into the picnic table. “Mom!” She was breathing so hard from all that running she couldn’t even talk!
“Slow down now,” said her mother. “What is it? Is everything ok?”
Izzy took a big breath, “Mom, there’s this perfect white pony for sale and it’s only a hundred dollars though the man said he would let me have it for less and maybe only eighty dollars I think and I could work it off and it’s the most beautiful pony and his name is Snowball and please please please can we buy it? PLEASE???”
“Oh Izzy...” began her mom.
“Mom, just come see him, he’s so perfect for me,” and Izzy dragged at her mom’s hand and pulled her towards the pony ride.
“Now Izzy, I’ll come look but you know we don’t have anywhere to keep a pony.” Izzy kept pulling her mom towards the pony ride and soon they were standing right in front of Snowball.
“See!” Izzy could barely contain her excitement. Every nerve in her body was shivering with excitement. A pony! A real live pony! She just had to have him! She knew she could earn a hundred dollars if she put her mind to it—or maybe only eighty. She would do anything.
Mom stroked the pony’s head. She look at her daughter. She knew how much Izzy wanted a horse. It was all she talked about.
“You interested m’am? I might could do better than a hundred” said the old man. And mom just looked at him and then at Izzy and then back at him.
“Oh please mom? I’ll totally take care of him, you won’t have to do a thing, I’ll brush him and ride him and do everything!”
Mom looked at Izzy with a funny look. “Come on, let’s talk about it.” She started walking back to the picnic area. “”first of all, how will we get him home? We don’t even have a horse trailer.”
“He could ride in the back seat with me, I could just sit Indian style and he could stand right there! He would fit, I know he would!”
“And what about a barn? We don’t have a barn for him.”
“Couldn’t dad build him a barn? Dad can build anything!” Izzy was starting to get alarmed. “Oh Mommy, I just HAVE to have this horse. PLEASE!” Izzy felt desperate.
“I’m sorry honey. It’s just not the right time. Someday we will have a place where we can have a horse, but our yard is not big enough for a horse, or even a pony and we don’t have a horse trailer or a barn.” Mom looked as sad as Izzy felt, but Izzy couldn’t see that.
Izzy felt a hard lump rise into her throat. She felt hot and tight and ready to cry. “I have to have a horse mom. I just have to.” She said shakily.
Izzy slumped away, tears sliding silently down her cheeks, her hands jammed in her pockets. She felt the two dollars her mom had given her for rides crumpled up in the bottom of her pocket and decided she didn’t need to ride the merry-go-round after all, this would be the beginning. “I will get a horse, I will get a horse, I will.”
And she knew in her bones, that someday, somehow, she would have a horse of her very own.