October 1, 2008
By C.J. Drago, San Antonio, TX

It was right around 1945, my grandpa was about 14 years old, in a country still trying to recover from a world war. It was World War II and the lives of many Americans had been affected, many in terrible ways. America was in a whirlwind, everyone was in need of money and jobs, which at the time were two aspects of life that were very difficult to get a hold of. Malcolm, my grandpa, and his family were no different. They too struggled to make the amount of money they needed to live happily.

One day, Malcolm’s dad came up with an idea to get some extra money in their pockets. He went out and rented a seven acre lot on the edge of town. With this lot he was going to rent out horse rides for the people in the town, for about 1$ an hour. His dad went out and bought five different horses for which people could ride. Among the horses was a beautiful girl Ribbon.

Ribbon was a Golden Palomino, a beautiful horse with a brownish/reddish color about her. Her main was her most powerful feature, being a golden color that would stand out anywhere. Ribbon took a very fond affection for Malcolm, and Malcolm felt the same for her. He described it as a “love affair.” Who wouldn’t fall for a horse like this, at the age of 14, and in a time with little money and even less technological advances that are often overlooked by the kids of today?

Malcolm loved riding Ribbon, the adrenaline, the sense of power, the feeling of the wind through your hair as the beautiful and powerful creature gallops through the landscape. With the riding, he also had to put in a great deal of work, riding his bike about three miles everyday, during the summer, to go handle the up keeping of the horses. This was a difficult task but was handled with a strong sense of maturity for a child of his age. The hard work would always pay off once Malcolm got to saddle up and ride. He remembers when he and his friends would take out the horses into the town. They would mount the horses on one end of the street and would prepare to take off through a public street, as if they were off to war. Riding down the streets, they would scream and yell, as if they were apart of the cavalry. It was perfect.

Unfortunately, like they say, all great things always have to come to an end. This concept is a very hard thing for a fourteen year old to grasp. A life changing decision in a young teenager’s life can often pave the path for the future, affecting them in a very powerful way. I don’t think that parents always understand what kind of affects they are having on their kids when they make big decisions or changes. The sensitivity towards there kids when the changes are made are not always there, often causing a great deal of resentment held towards one another.

This was the case with Malcolm. The horses were not bringing in the profit that Malcolm’s dad had once hoped for. The money wasn’t what it needed to be. This weighed on his dad until he was forced to take action upon the situation. He told Malcolm that he was going to have to sell the horses. Malcolm understood just as much as any other fourteen year old can, which is never really that much. Later that week, his dad came into his room with a grim look on his face. He looked at Malcolm and said, “Son, I hate to tell you this, but I have sold Ribbon. This is the last day we will have him.” Malcolm was shocked. The thought of losing a horse that he was once so close to was heart breaking.

Malcolm went and said his “goodbyes” to Ribbon and then, just like that, she was gone. Tears poured down his face as if the life had just been sucked right out of him. Ribbon was his baby, his girl, his prized horse, but among all things, his friend. That night Malcolm sat in bed and cried himself to sleep. The depression was too great and the tears could not be held back. A sense of anger and resentment had crept up inside of him towards his dad. The betrayal, the deception, it was all just too much to keep bottled up.

This story greatly affected his childhood, and unfortunately formed resentment towards his father that would take a great time to recover from. In the long run, it built a lot of character, making him the man he is today, but as a fourteen year old boy this character building moment is always overshadowed by the heart wrenching feeling one gets when the loss of a close companion has occurred.

I respect my grandpa a lot more after hearing such things about his childhood. It really affects me to hear this story coming from a raspy voice over a telephone, hundreds of miles away, separating by all the land this great country has to offer. Cancer has begun to take over his body, lungs especially, and is slowing tearing apart the great man I have known for all my life. My heart goes out to him, fighting everyday for his life, which I sometimes take for granted. This story brings me closer to him, and I plan to keep this story alive, long after he has passed or even when I have passed. His legacy will go on forever even when his body no longer can, and as his grandson, I will make sure that this legacy is a great one.

The author's comments:
I just started writing so I am looking for some feedback.

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This article has 1 comment.

Sandy B. said...
on Oct. 20 2008 at 12:52 pm
This was Great C.J.! I loved reading it and could empathize with your Grandfather. I grew up with horses. Just this month I looked out my window at work, at a beautiful fall day, and thought "I should be on the back of a horse, flying across a field somewhere." I've never felt more Free than when I was on the back of a galloping horse. Thank you for sharing your Grandfather's story. As parents, we sometimes have to make hard decisions. And sometimes they are not the right decision but you must always remember that we are just doing the best we can. And that decisions are always made trying to do what we think is best for our family. I was glad to hear that Malcolm eventually forgave his Father. I'll bet it happened when he was a father himself and had to make a decision that he knew would hurt his child but that he believed was best. Funny how life works that way :) Keep up the good work. I'm looking forward to reading more good stories from you.


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