One Dead Hero

February 2, 2011
By Elly Stout GOLD, Columbia, Illinois
Elly Stout GOLD, Columbia, Illinois
11 articles 25 photos 1 comment

One cold February day, I walked out onto my grandparents’ wooden deck. Peering out on the horse pasture I saw a new horse. My grandpa told me that the horse standing there was mine. My grandfather had many different types of horses. He told me that I had to choose weather I wanted to ride them or not.

Then for Christmas when I was six, my grandpa had gotten me my first saddle. He did not realize how he was changing my life. Pretty soon, I wanted nothing more then to get out and ride. Every spare minute I had I was over at my grandpa’s barn. He lived across the street from me, so I saw him every day. He quickly became my hero. I wanted to be with him. He even took me out to bale hay with him. I became his side kick.

Every year we went in the parade in Smithton, with two horses pulling a wagon. One particular year, my horse and his sister got to pull the wagon. My brother, my mom, and my grandma were in the wagon with me as well. My grandpa walked back to the wagon, picked me up and put me onto the back of my horse. My horse did not seem to mind me being up there.

Pretty soon every parade my grandpa got to be in included me too. I rode my horse as often as possible. But, always with my grandpa Joe next to me in case I would fall. My horse always behaved when I was on him. One day however, my uncle tried to ride him. Admiral, my horse, seemed mad, and ran off with my uncle on his back. A couple of minutes later my uncle came back to the barn, grumbling to himself, carrying the saddle he went off on.

No one believed me that I was the only one my horse wanted to ride him. Everybody in my family tried. All had the same result as my uncle. Some with more serious injuries then just a hurt pride. One cousin, Kyle, got stepped on and had a broken toe. Everyone thought the horse was crazy. My grandpa Joe knew that my horse was only connected to me. That was okay with him. As long as I treated my horse with respect, I received it back.

On October 7, 2000 something happened that no one would ever forget, including me. My grandpa Joe owned two barns. One was by his house; the other was about one forth of a mile down and up a hill. He told my grandmother that he would be back by lunch. Lunch for him was around twelve, one o’clock. Soon, the clock hit two thirty. He still had not shown up. The only one that knew this was my grandmother.
She called my house not expecting me to pick the phone up. I heard the frantic panic in her voice. Right away I knew something was wrong. She asked for my dad. I rushed the phone to him. I went back to what I was doing with my brother. Both my parents came to us and told us to stay home. They would be back soon. Who knew soon would be about three hours later.
My mom went straight to her room, crying. My dad told my brother and I both to sit. He told us what happened. He said that our grandfather had been changing a tire on a wagon for the horses, when he suffered a massive heart attack. This was not his first one. The first one, they could revive him. But this stopped his heart completely. Nothing could be done, is what he kept saying.
I felt it was my fault. My grandpa had died doing something for me. We were going to go riding later in the week with the horses. Then the trailer needed a new tire so he had to change it. If we had not planned on going riding, I would still be his little sidekick. And I would still have the one person who really understood me. My grandpa
Denzel Joseph Hoggard changed my life, weather he knew it then or not.

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