The Great Escape

“The horses are out.” I’d seen one of the guilty culprits passing by the window after he and his partner in crime had evidently found a weak spot in the fence.

“Well shoot!” My step-dad really did say ‘shoot’ as he jumped up, but I was thinking another word might work better. “See if you can grab Scamp and I’ll get in the car to go find King.” So off we went, headed out opposite doors leaving Mom by herself on Christmas morning.

All my life, my mother has been a very organized woman… everything in its place, house impeccably clean.. and she always made sure that Christmases were perfect. We had been in the living room in front of the fireplace opening gifts while the breakfast casserole she’d made hours earlier while everyone was still sleeping was baking in the oven, the glorious scent of cinnamon and fresh coffee in the air. It was an unusually cold day and we got to enjoy the fire without the air-conditioner running- Mom did this often; she always wanted a fire Christmas morning and we lived in the Deep South so we had to get creative. I was a senior in high school that year. Looking back now, I think she knew there wouldn’t be too many more holidays spent at home so each one became more precious than the last.

As I raced out the door, the rush of ice cold air bit into my lungs. The morning sky was a solid, heavy, dark gray and there was nowhere for the sun to peek through. The worn out fleece sweatshirt and pants were no match for the freezing wind and I was relieved my horse came to me when I called for him…

…I’m pausing the story for a second here. We had gotten Scamp a couple of years earlier and I fell in love with him. Mom told me a full decade later that she and my stepdad would watch me from the window with a mixture of amusement and genuine irritation as I called out from the bottom of the field. They’d hear “Scaaaa-yaaa-uump,” (because no word is really just one syllable when you’re from Alabama), and would start saying to themselves, “Why  is she calling to him like a dog? Listen to that. ‘Scaaa-yaaa-uump’ He’s never going to come to her.” Sure enough though, they were wrong, and I’d hear the thunder of the horse’s hooves as he’d gallop to me. Every. Single. Time!…

I stood holding onto Scamp’s halter, shivering and waiting for my step-dad to reappear with King. It wasn’t the ‘first rodeo’ for either one of them, so King was likely to be close-by.

My mother has done many wonderful and extraordinary things for me…never has my appreciation for her been greater before or since as suddenly feeling a heavy weight on my shoulders and instant warmth when she came outside and placed a thick hunting jacket around me. I think she had even put it in the dryer right before so it would be extra warm.

It wasn’t too long before I saw the prodigal son returning. Dad was driving his old big four-door Mercury very slowly, leading King along beside the car with a long rope holding it out the window. Fortunately our road saw hardly any traffic back then!

I don’t remember what happened next, but based on history presume that the fence was repaired quickly. My step-dad had lots of practice grabbing the roll of barbed wire and come-along and could repair a downed fence wire lickety-split. He was equally adept at jumping a car battery with almost no light available- he passed on that skill to me as we had lots of opportunities with the old Mercury!

I think I kept that jacket on for hours and we were really excited to have a story to tell when the rest of the family came over later.

Scamp
Scamp and me. I was 17 and he was 4.

 

 

 

 

Author: awhitlow2

Murder can take a long time if you’re writing about it. My name is Ashleigh, and I’m a recovering next-timer… we’ll get together next time, I’ll call you next time, I’ll write about it next time, I’ll tell you I love you next time. Then reality hit (finally) that there may not be a next time and I was stunned. What?! We only get one shot at life? Really?! I’m also a recovering slow-learner. So in light of that realization that was over 40 years in the making, I’m writing my first novel- murder, love, redemption. I’m not sure what direction it will take but am enjoying the process and isn’t that what life’s all about anyway? More importantly, I’m living with gratitude for my family; God opened my eyes to the blessings of family and I’m thankful to Him and them for hanging in there with me all these years. (Did I mention I’m a slow-learner?) I’m a mother, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a cousin, a nurse, and a writer who LOVES to sing. Loudly. Badly. When no one else is around to hear it. Except the cat. Poor cat.

6 thoughts on “The Great Escape”

    1. Thank you! It was back in the day when selfies had to be taken with a camera with film that had to be taken somewhere to be developed. It was the talk of the town when we got one of those drive through shops with next day photo development 🙂

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