I was chosen to share a few of my memorable Christmases with you. My name is Sox, and this is my Holiday Tale.
Christmas at the boarding stable was different from the same holiday at home. It was my third Christmas there, but Santa still found me every year. He brought me a new winter blanket, and he filled the new fuzzy red stocking that hung on my stall door.
I was a little worried that he might have put my name on the naughty list, and it would remain empty. Last year one of the stable hands just rolled my door over while he emptied and cleaned my water bucket. In a flash, I used my muzzle to roll open the door and snatch my stocking! It was mostly empty by then, and I pretty much shredded it trying to get at the last of my goodies.
My Christmas stocking was always filled with carrots, dried apple slices, and peppermints. My treats lasted for a couple of weeks, only because Katie miserly doled out only one or two per day. Mom was stalled next to me,
“I noticed that Emma is not as stingy with your ration of treats,” I complained. Don’t you know, Mom caught me tearing up my stocking!
“Sox! How is Santa going to fill that next year when you trashed it?” I tried to hide the evidence under the bedding in the back of my stall, but Katie found it.
Great! Then I had to listen to another lecture. You are going to have to be very good the remainder of the year, Sox. It is the only way to get off of the bad boy list so Santa doesn’t pass you by next Christmas.
I guess that I was a good boy the rest of that year. My new fuzzy stocking was larger than the old one, and it was stuffed with more goodies. One other Christmas Season that has etched its self into my mind is the year that we headed south.
I was prepared to spend another winter at the boarding stable, and it looked like Mack was going to accompany me.
My first clue that something was different was when I heard Buddy’s excited bark. It was the same sound he made when Katie let him travel to the shows with the rest of us. The second clue came when Slim turned the wrong way out of the drive. Our winter boarding stable was in the other direction.
“Where do you think we are going, Mack?”
“I quit worryin’ ‘bout where I was goin’ a long time ago, Sox. Ain’t like we got a choice. F’rinstance, I went to a reinin’ show with some a mah buddies from mah ol’ home, and ended comin’ back here with lil’ Patty,”
“Don’t you like it here?” I thought maybe he was homesick. I knew I would be.
“Shucks, the grass is good eatin’, and I do like Patty. But y’all sure have cold weather ‘round here.”
“Oh, this is just the beginning. It will get way colder and snow a heck of a lot more before winter is over,” I laughed. Mack didn’t reply. He just groaned, rolled his eyes, and then busied himself with browsing through his hay bag.
Most of my travels had been confined to Ohio and neighboring states. This time we traveled all the way across the Ohio River, through Kentucky and Tennessee, with their steep roads that wound through mountains. It was such a relief to hit the long flat stretch of road through Georgia and into Florida.
Our first night on that trek was spent with some horse friends in Tennessee. Our winter blankets were shed the next morning. By the time we stopped for the second night, we were traveling with our windows down. Florida was a strange and different world!
Heavy snow and ice pellets had made it a slow start from home, and here it felt like summer! How could that be? Cold breezes from the Great Lakes were replaced by soft, warm, winds from the Atlantic Ocean that sometimes lifted our damp manes. From our temporary home we could smell oranges. A local horse, we met, told us that what we smelled was really just the aroma of the orange blossoms. Florida had some strange looking trees that Katie called palms. People there decorated them with Christmas lights, just like our humans did to the pine trees back in Ohio.
Santa found us in Florida! Imagine that! Our usual stockings with dried apples, carrots, and peppermints were hung on our stall fronts. The Christmas stocking was a huge comfort to me. I was a bit home- sick.
It surprised me when Mack said, “ Reckon I ain’t never had a Christmas stockin’ before!”
“Seriously? I always thought all horses got Christmas stockings! Don’t they have Christmas where you came from?”
“Maybe? But we never got us stockin’s on our stalls.“
The following year Mack’s ears perked up, and his eyes twinkled at the sight of his Christmas stocking.
I hope you liked my Christmas memories. Parts are excerpts from my book. “Backyard Horse Tales: Sox 2nd Edition.”
From all of us Backyard horses, Sox, Frosty, Love, Doc, Anna, and Bella.
Check out last weeks post for e-book savings good until Christmas day.
Stop by next week for a doggie’s story of a strange Christmas visitor. Keep your family close, and don’t forget our animal friends.