It was the week before my 8th birthday, when my mom said I needed to help my dad go pick up a goat. I was really confused; it made no sense at all. I almost never spent any time alone with my dad, and a goat? What in the world were we going to do with a goat? I didn’t want a goat, I wanted a pony! Everybody knew that, I had wished and prayed on every star for the last year. My sister and my dad both had horses of their own. Now it was my turn. I was more than ready for my very own pony. Goat! What where they thinking. I loved my dad, but I had a very healthy fear of him. He was the Chief of the Boat of a Trident Submarine and his style of communication was to lecture, yell and swear. If he didn’t speak to you, it meant you were doing just fine, staying out of his way and minding your P’s and Q’s. When he wanted to talk to you, it only meant one thing, that you had done something wrong. He married my mom when I was 4 and by the time I was 8 I had learned not to make eye contact with him in fear that it might lead to a lecture. Now what was I going to do? We were going to be in the truck together, alone! I couldn’t figure out how mom had weaseled her way out of this one.
I headed outside to meet the inevitable. Dad was waiting with the truck; he had the neighbor’s horse trailer hooked up to it. Horse trailer? How big was this darn goat? I have no memory of any conversation we had on the 20 minute drive. What I do remember is the Country music coming in over the radio. Dad turned it up when my favorite song came on; Michal Martin Murphey’s “Wildfire”. How I loved to hear of the girl and the pony she called Wildfire. In my overactive imagination Wildfire was white as the snow with a long flowing mane and tail. I was the girl as we drove along in the truck I imagined that I was riding him bareback and bridleless on the shoulder of the road right along side the passenger side of the truck. Just as Wildfire got close enough to the truck that I could reach out and touch him, dad slowed down as we turned into a driveway.
There were lush green hills surrounded by fencing as far as I could see. A very kind looking woman met us just outside the barn. Where was the goat? I could see some horses off and the distant and I instantly gravitated towards the fence. Dad and the nice lady stood behind me. She said something about a girl that was bringing the goat up from the lower field. I didn’t bother to look in that direction; I was too busy soaking in every inch of the two horses in the field. One of them was paint, and I was memorized by his markings. Somewhere in the middle of the adult’s conversation I overheard the question; “Are you going to get another horse anytime soon?”, too quickly my dad answered “No, we have enough mouths to feed, I am in no hurry to get another one.” My heart sank; I was never going to get my pony. All I would have is a stupid goat! It was so unfair!
“Oh, hear she comes!” I looked in the direction that the lady was pointing. At the very bottom of the field, several fence lines away I saw a white flash. It wasn’t! It couldn’t be! It was! A Pony! White as the snow! She had a girl on her back and she was flying, running up the hill in my direction. They would stop at each gate and open it. The girl never got off the pony, just opened the gate with one hand and slid though shutting it behind them. I had never seen anything like it. As they got closer, I drank in the details of what had to be the most beautiful pony I had ever seen. She had blue eyes, and a pink nose, she was perfect. I heard a new voice behind me. “Do you like horses?” the girl’s father asked. “YES!” especially ones like that!” I still hadn’t fully understood what was going on, until my dad spoke up. “She’s yours!”