Saturday, February 06, 2010

Sepia Saturday: Reunions in Sepia

Among the many things that could be said about my maternal grandfather pictured above, one can not be debated. He was precise on any matter or task he took on. Whether it was use of the English or French languages, pruning cherry trees, playing a game of Yahtzee or the care and riding of horses.

Although some of his older horses came to live on my parents farm, I never gained great confidence or skill as a rider. I did, however, have decided awe and respect for both their grace and power. The fact that each had a distinct personality and sense of humor added to their mystery. There wasn't that much riding of the horses after my grandfather died, but they lived out comfortable, labor free lives, all of them passing the age of 35 or higher.

As a middle schooler, being 35 was an age I couldn't even wrap my mind around and the amount of life experience surrounding it. It came into focus years late when a distant cousin -- whose father raised one of the now elderly horses as a colt -- visited our corral and raced toward the red maned quarter horse that approached her with joyous gallop I had never seen him exhibit before. I remember tears streaming down her face as she fed him sugar cubes and it seemed they spoke in a silent language of memories that only the two of them understood.
Indeed it was easier for me to wrap my mind around the copper plated horses that adorned the flagstone fireplace mantel of our farmhouse. They were always there on the lower left shelf of the mantel, even though pottery and flowers changed through the years on the other shelf. I never knew their provenance, just that they were always there.

When my parents sold the house in the 1980s, I felt certain that their pack-rat sensibilities meant they were still with us. After both parents died and my sister and I were dividing the estate, it was this type of solid memory that we valued more than real estate or stocks.
So there was a mix of excitement and mild disappointment when we discovered two of the copper horses in a box in an obscure corner of the basement. I was certain there were three, but I was pleased to reunited with these two, thinking of my cousin years earlier visiting the old quarter horse.

Last Sunday while strolling through Alemany Flea Market seeking dusty treasures, a dimly gleaming object caught my eye three stalls down. Lying on his side was an all familiar copper horse. I knew in an instant that he was not a duplicate of the two I had at home but the long missing alpha to tower over the other two. He was even missing a front leg like the other two.

I sent off the above image to my sister with the subject line "Missing family member discovered in California".
She sent back a message and the attached photo. While she was pleased to know about the reunion, the picture confirmed that there had originally been four horses. There is clearly a fourth head on the far left. The quest continues.

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At 4:25 AM, Blogger Erin Wallace said...

This is just the most amazing post! I love the photo of your grandfather, stately and proud on his horse, and I so hope that you find the fourth horse to complete your herd.

At 6:59 AM, Blogger willow said...

I still have my copper plated horse, minus the pop bead reins! It was my most prized possession at age five. I'm glad you were reunited with yours!

At 9:05 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Erin - Thanks. I think knowing that the fourth horse is still "out there" is one of the wonders of it all.

Willow - Ah, another copper equestrian. I was greatly impressed that the reunited horse had not lost his pop bead reins.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger mouse (aka kimy) said...

delightful post - your grandfather's white chaps (they are chaps aren't they? i'm not much of a horse person) sparkle.

great reminisces and what a hoot that you found a member of the equine pack that migrated to california. that photo your sis sent back is priceless! you look a bit zorro-ish! if your glasses were only a mask!

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Mouse - I appreciate the Zorro comparison, but I think it was for a play in which I portrayed Columbus. I wasn't as critical of colonialism at that age, I guess.

At 1:15 PM, Blogger Poetikat said...

What a lovely post! I really enjoyed your reminiscences about your grandfather and also your serendipitous recovery of one of the missing horses. How pleased and surprised you must have been.
I love the photos. The one of you in the Robin Hood? gear is priceless.


At 1:16 PM, Blogger Poetikat said...

Ah! Columbus!

At 1:34 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Poetikat - I think that outfit could pass for a number of historical characters.

At 2:37 PM, Blogger Barry said...

Photographs are amazing things, especially for what their background reveals. I very much enjoyed this post.

At 3:45 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Barry - Thanks. They're also helpful in my quest to restore those copper horses.

At 4:35 PM, Blogger L. D. Burgus said...

I do remember those horse figures. We never owned them but I think my cousin had at least one. I had completely forgotten them. I ran across a vase the other day in a friends glass cabinet and it was on just like my Grandmother owned. I had not seen it since the sixties, and I wonder who inherited it. Good story.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

L.D. - I think they were very popular in the late 1950s to early 1950s. We also have a number of cast iron Eiffel Towers and other travel souvenirs from that era.


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