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A Pretty Picture (standard:non fiction, 929 words)
Author: Pamela JenkinsAdded: Jan 14 2003Views/Reads: 1903/1197Story 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 


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