|A Pretty Picture (standard:non fiction, 929 words)|
|Author: Pamela Jenkins||Added: Jan 14 2003||Views/Reads: 2169/1409||Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)|
|Mr. Perry had been a wonderful neighbor for many years. Now it was time to do something special for him. The only problem was getting the old horse, Bandit, to cooperate!|
I struggled through the weeds and wet ground next to the fence, careful not to damage the camera I carried or ruin my shoes. Just a little closer and I would have a good shot. "Hey, Bandit, look over here!" I called. The old grey horse raised his head slightly as I focused the camera lens. Bandit's ears stuck out sideways and his eyes were half closed. His head tilted sideways as his mouth stretched open in a tremendous yawn. Certainly this wasn't the image I was trying to capture on film. No amount of coaxing was going to make him perk up and look pretty today. After a few minutes, he ambled off slowly to find a napping place a little more private and where nosey neighbors wouldn't bother him. Now, usually I'm not the nosey neighbor type, but I had a mission and I wasn't about to be stalled by a contrary old fellow like Bandit. A few weeks earlier, we had visited our sweet neighbor Mr. Perry in the nursing home where he had lived for the past year. He didn't remember us at first, but at the mention of his horse, the old man sat up straighter and took interest in our conversation. "Is my horse still there?" he asked hopefully. We told him that Bandit was still out in his pasture, fat and sassy, and was being well cared for by Mr. Perry's son. He still enjoyed his oats every morning, and loved to stand out under the ancient cedar tree and be brushed. "Are you sure?" he questioned us. "You know, he's a good horse. He's the best horse I've ever owned, and I've had a lot of 'em over the years." The next half hour was filled with recounting memories of horses, especially Bandit. Mr. Perry told us that Bandit used to be a dapple grey, but time and old age had bleached his hair coat to almost a pure white color, except for the blue on his nose. My children and I talked about it, and decided we would find a way to put Mr. Perry's mind at ease. We would take a picture of Bandit. It would look nice sitting in a frame on the bedside table in his room. With Christmas just a few weeks away, it would make a lovely gift. So began the adventures in pursuing Bandit around his field. I've not been one to trespass without asking, or climb through and over fences, so I restricted my ramblings to my side of the boundary and along the roadside ditches. I started carrying a camera with me, waiting for the chance to get a good photo. Bandit wasn't interested in photo opportunities, however. He seemed determined to flaunt his independence and steadfastly refused to pose properly. Either one ear was cocked back, his nostrils flared, or his head was looking the wrong way. Offers of carrots and apples were ignored, and a rattling bucket didn't tempt him either. Day after day, brushing away flying gnats, I trod through sodden leaves and stepped in puddles while following Bandit's retreat. On one occasion, the old horse simply turned around and presented his rump to me. "Well, there's a pretty picture," I scolded him as he swished his long tail. "Wouldn't Mr. Perry love that!" Finally, the day came when I noticed Bandit grazing close to the fence. I grabbed my camera and tiptoed through the tall grass. My two youngest children decided to follow along and watch Mom at work. Bandit still showed no interest in modeling, but he seemed to study my children. Perhaps he had not been around many little people before. That gave me an idea. "Kids, do you know how to do jumping jacks?" I asked. They nodded and smiled. "Well, I want you to do a few for me, okay?" Both the children started to do their jumping jacks, one on either side of me. Up and down, giggling and clapping their hands over their heads, they made crunching sounds in the dead leaves. Suddenly, Bandit's head rose up. His eyes widened as his ears flipped forward. He had never seen such a display before and didn't know what Click here to read the rest of this story (27 more lines)
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