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Billy, the Pony

Plum Thickets & Field DaisiesPart III
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MY COUSIN, SUSIE, had a pony named Billy in the big barn behind my aunt’s house. Billy looked like a circus performer’s horse. He was cream-colored, very gentle and a really beautiful creature. My cousin could ride him very well, and I remember her riding down the street with her hair flying loose as she rode fearlessly along on galloping Billy.
We had absolutely no fear of Billy, and he became our other playmate. At times, we climbed over his back, went under his stomach, and crawled between his legs. If they were not spaced wide enough for us to pass through, we would push on them until he moved one over. He stood patiently like a sphinx while we annoyed him. We would pick grass for him and feed him lumps of sugar to reward him for his patience while we went through his legs several times.
We made regular trips to our cousin’s home to play, but we were still instructed to be back before dark. At that time, children were admonished to be back at home before dark. Most of them dutifully obeyed their parents’ instructions.
The perpetual fence with a gate was around our yard. Mother always kept the gate and fence in good repair, and because she was teaching a great deal of the time, they were a real protection for us. Going outside of the gate when instructed to remain at home was reason enough for a conference. I did slip in and out through a hole in the tall, board fence to see Miss Lowe, our beloved neighbor, but my mother never seemed to care much about that.

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Love, Rose Leary. Plum Thickets and Field Daisies: A Memoir. Charlotte, NC: Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County, 1996