Sunday, November 11, 2007

SJP, part two

I promise I will get to the Sarah Jessica Parker part soon!

To continue from part one, thirty years ago, we lived a sparse lifestyle in a log cabin way up in the northwoods. I mentioned that we became close friends with our few and far-between neighbors, and many of them were very religious. I liked them a lot in spite of the fact that they carried Bibles around with them while out logging or doing construction work. That sort of thinking was really foreign to me.

I did have a type of faith, however. I felt a drawing toward God at a young age, when my father would drop my sister and me off at the local Congregational Church every Sunday morning for church and Sunday School. Later on, if he couldn't drive me the four miles to church, I'd walk.

It was a formidable, granite structure, this church, and I loved the little secret nooks and crannies that I grew to know intimately. I sang in the children's choir, songs like "This Little Light of Mine" and "Jesus Loves Me," and "Zaccheus Was a Wee Little Man." I attended Vacation Bible School for many years. That church was the center of our community, where rummage and bake sales were held and as children, we played "Red Rover" on the back lawn.

However, there was something missing from the message taught there. It turned out to be a good place to be while growing up as a child, but for a teenager to draw strength from, it was a severely lacking.

One of my memories of my church is from my teen years. I had an unpredictable horse named Buckshot, who was a green-broke, 3 yr. old gelding. I rode him everywhere and up and down highways, never wary that that was a dangerous practice. There wasn't an old "skid road" that I didn't explore on Buckshot in those halcyon years of owning and riding my first horse.

One day, I rode through the back woods to my school chum's house. Gretchen had a large pony, and on idyllic summer days, we would ride together often. On this morning, we decided that we wanted to ride bareback, so we stopped beside an old barn, stripped our saddles off, and clambered aboard the sweaty backs of our horses. I must have goosed Buckshot's sides as I climbed on, because once I was back on, he bogged his head and set into bucking, throwing me over his head, where I landed on the rocky ground of the old corral.

As if to add insult to injury, the big colt then trounced me with his front hooves as he continued bucking playfully. I felt the impact on my back (breaking a rib) and I heard his snort in my ear. Driven into the mud, I had dirt up on my nose, in my eyes and I was pretty disoriented.

I guess it doesn't take long in a situation like that for a teenager to understand that she had had a bad idea, so Gretchen and I saddled up and she took off for home, and I decided to ride the longer but less challenging way to my house, about ten miles away.

Halfway home, I realised I didn't have my glasses on, they must have come off during the wreck. When I got to the old Congregational Church, I stopped and went inside and called the people who lived across the street from the old barn where the rodeo had just occurred, asking them to look for my glasses and to hold onto them for me. Thanking the minister for holding my horse and avoiding his questions about why he hadn't seen me in church lately, I continued half-blind back to my little house where I had some explaining to do to my father.

next installment soon....

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