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.