On Christmas morning, when I was eight, I ran up the stairs to our attic family room expecting a new doll. Then I saw my present. That sure didn't look like a doll! Was it real? Could it be?
I was seriously horse crazy as a kid. I ate oatmeal for breakfast every morning—because horses ate oats. I really wanted a horse. But it wasn't going to happen because we lived in a small house with a small yard in the middle of Springfield, Missouri.
|Me on my Grandpa Rhodes' farm horse, Nellie. She didn't go very fast, but I was over the moon!|
I called my neighbor, Donita, and blurted, "I got a burro for Christmas! Come see!" She was pounding on our front door two minutes after I hung up the phone.
|Me, in my nightshirt, admiring Pedro with my friend, Donita.|
All the kids in the neighborhood were impressed and a little jealous. I was an instant celebrity—The Girl with the Burro!
Pedro stayed with us through the Christmas vacation. I felt like a real cowgirl as I kept his stall supplied with sweet smelling hay. I ran my hands over my burro's shaggy, rough coat, loving the feel of it. I adored his funny, long ears. Who needed a horse when I had a sweet, darling friend like Pedro?
At the end of Christmas break Pedro went to stay at a horse farm at the edge of town. Plans were that I would visit him on weekends.
I never did get to visit my burro. Pedro was there for a week and liked his new home. He followed the horses around the pasture. One afternoon there was a winter thunderstorm. A frightened horse accidentally kicked Pedro in the head. He died instantly.
My parents didn't tell me what really happened for many years. They didn't want to spoil my love of horses. They said Pedro ran away.
I like to think that all our pets end up in heaven. Maybe Pedro is there—waiting for me.