We lived in the valley where I live now. Dad and Mom decided we needed to be closer to the highway to catch the school bus otherwise we would be walking over a mile in all kinds of weather one way to catch the bus. They purchased a small house from a couple that had belonged to their daughter who had moved away.
In those ancient days it was proper respect to call elders you didn't know by Mister, Missus or Miss and elder friends were addressed by Aunt and Uncle.
That placed us close to neighbors, Joe and Emma Rose, in their grandparent years with their children grown and gone. I adopted them, or they me, I'm not really sure which was true. They quickly became Aunt Emma and Uncle Joe. I was there when ever I could obtain permission.
They had a Catalpa tree that reached the sky. I could climb to the top and sway in the breeze with no admonition. It was heavenly!
Aunt Emma's kitchen always had great smells and Uncle Joe's barn always had surprises to discover.
AND they had a horse. She was almost a true black with the longest mane I'd ever seen. Her tail touched the ground. In the middle of her forehead was one bright white star. Molly would present her head to be scratched and hugged no matter how small you were.
Molly could pull a plow and turned our garden many times. I was able to ride her, too. In fact Molly would willingly walk with five children on board at a time. I learned Molly had been a show horse with many ribbons and trophies ridden by Aunt Emma and Uncle's Joe's daughter. Molly was twenty-three when I met her.
In the barn Uncle Joe and I found part of Molly's old show halter with the buckle still attached. He removed the buckle and handed it to me. He said I could think of Molly every time I held it.
Life changes. Aunt Emma and Uncle Joe moved closer to their son. Molly went with them.
I still have Molly's buckle.
Oh, the memories I have when I hold the buckle in my hand.
Thank you, Aunt Emma and Uncle Joe.
Thank you, Molly.