Every once in a while you think back, sometime way back to when you were a small child and something brings a smile to your face. Sometimes you remember the good and sometimes you remember something not so good. This is a story that was memorable because of the excitement and reaction of those that witnessed childhood in action.
It was in the early 1950’s in Manchester, CT an evening like most any other, the kind of day you just relax, and maybe take your kids for a ride to do something a little special. To children of the day Hopalong Cassidy and the Lone Ranger were real life heroes and riding a horse was a big deal for a five year old.
Mom came up with the idea it would be a treat to go the pony rides after dinner, something we had done before and I am sure our smiles warmed her heart. With all the excitement of a little boy I got my cowboy hat and then reached in the drawer and grabbed a surprise of my own.
The pony rides were near the railroad tracks in Buckland where the Agway Store now stands. We pulled in and mom took me by the hand to see the man in charge of the ponies. He was a nice fellow, always talking to the kids and helping us up on the pony. These were calm older ponies, just what you would expect for small kids to ride a few times around the ring.
In a child’s mind you could be like a “real cowboy” out on the trail. I knew of course real cowboys went fast and I wanted to do what they did. That is where the idea to stuff a New Year’s Eve noise maker in my pocket came from. Yup, I got on the pony and as soon as they let go of reins and gave the pony a gentle tap to get him going I pulled out my surprise.
I proudly raised my hand in the air and gave the noise maker a spin. Suddenly I was off at a full gallop faster than any kid had ever been around that ring. Smiling from ear to ear and enjoying the time of my life. Of course the man in charge and my mother had instant visions of my life coming to an abrupt halt at any time.
The pony got corralled and the man took me down a whole lot faster than normal I thought it was great, until my mother reach me. “You could have got killed” she was screaming and I was beaming, but not for long. I don’t remember her getting more upset than she was at that time. She grabbed my noisemaker and flung it over the railroad tracks, a fete she probably could not duplicate without the adrenalin of the moment.
She continued to demonstrate the fear and anger of a mother all the way home. We never stopped for an ice cream cone I was expecting. My joy was gone at least on the surface but I never forgot that ride, it was a thrill to be sure. Just as she promised we never went back to the pony rides. I am not sure if it was a punishment or we were banned by the owner but it still provides a childhood memory with a smile.