My Father used to always say that the worst mistake he ever made in raising me was to take me over to Main Street to ride the Shetland Ponies. I remember it like it was yesterday:
My heart would race on the drive over. Tightly holding onto the bag of change I had been collecting for doing chores around the house, my fingers started to sweat. At the ripe age of six, I could hardly sit still in my seat. From the moment we pulled into the driveway to park, I would scope out all the horses. Never would I allow them to tell me which one to ride. Waiting and watching carefully, I looked for a horse of size and spirit and one who would certainly canter if I asked. At the Main Street Pony Rides, a horse of size was only 11 or 12 hands high. After watching the other children ride and carefully making my decision, I would take my bag of coins, mostly made up of pennies to the ticket booth to make my purchase.
“Four tickets please.” I requested handing over my bag.
The old man behind the booth was tall and thin. His unshaven face or the dirt under his fingernails did not blemish my opinion of him. In my eyes, he had the best job in the world.
Moving my money to the side of the counter, he started to tear off the tickets.
“Aren’t you gonna count it?” I asked.
With a chuckle, he looked me straight in the eye and said, “No, I trust you.” And he handed me the passport to my dream.
Sitting astride the small steed I picked out to ride, we would walk a few steps onto the track before we were out of reach of my Father and the barn hands. At the very second all was clear, I would kick and cue the horse to a canter, knowing very well we were not suppose to canter the ponies. A few times I was not allowed to ride the same horse for all four rides. I also knew to never make eye contact with my Father until all four rides were over, lest he order me to obey the rules!