The ride

The wagon stood in the front drive of my great aunt's farm. I was five. Somehow I climbed behind two horses to the wooden seat and picked up the reins to say ''Giddyap'' the way I had heard it said. And off we raced, two horses, wagon and child laughing with happiness into a field of hay. Everyone came running behind, shouting ''Whoa!'' Someone leaped up to grab the reins. But no one spanked me. All were too shaken up, afraid I might have fallen between the wooden planks and wheels, not believing I could stay in place. Two weeks later at the neighboring farm with Marion Brooks, I saw her brother as he took the great bay to water, pass by. He stopped, scooped me up and seated me on the bareback horse. ''Here. Ride him, since you love to ride.'' Arthur Brooks. He must have been fifteen. Although I thought he was a grown up man. The better part of half a century is past. The larger part of all our lives. All the classmates we acquired grown and gone to war. And some are back to worlds of loss. But that one hour stays. ''Look at her. Look at the little city girl. Riding as if she were born to ride.'' I smell the coat of that proud bay, so tall beside the well and trough that sun-filled day.

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