Out of Pearidge

Authorization is granted for the use of short quotes for educational purposes as long as proper citations are used.

The Horse Not Wanted

Kids generally want horses. I didn't. Well, not a real one. We had a real one. She was a work horse. She wasn't fun. I wanted a fun one.

I was five and Christmas was coming.

I had seen the giant riding horse at the department store on the north side of the square. It was taller than I. It was mounted on a metal frame with large springs. It was brown with a yellow mane; it looked just like a pony. The store clerk let me ride it and it rode better than the mechanical horses that cost money to ride. Mother had once, or twice, yielded to my pleading and deposited money for one of those rides.

The department-store horse must have cost a fortune, and, even at five, I knew it was something that we couldn't afford. That knowledge didn't keep me from wanting it.

As Christmas neared, my sisters asked me what I wanted Santa to bring me. I dared not tell them about the riding horse; it was beyond reach. I told them the usual things; but they kept asking if there was anything special. So, I told them about the horse. They said it didn't hurt to wish, but the horse might be too much. Perhaps I could wish for one on a smaller scale.

After that, I attempted to forget the horse and prepared myself to enjoy whatever Santa brought. However, the week of Christmas, my sisters started suggesting that Santa might just surprise me.

On Christmas morning, everyone seemed anxious for me to look under the tree. They were acting as if the riding horse might actually be there. Somehow I knew better than to expect it. Whatever it was it couldn't be the riding horse, couldn't even compare with the riding horse. I was in no hurry for the disappointment.

I tried to mask that disappointment when I saw the tiny rocking horse under the tree.

"What's wrong, Son?"

"I think he's afraid of it," said my brother.

"Yes, I think you're right. He's afraid of it."

I didn't try to explain. I didn't think they would understand. I didn't think they knew what I hoped would be true: Life prepares us not only to understand unfulfilled dreams but also helps us make unrealized goals a positive force in our struggles.

It's good to have holidays on which we get things that we have long wanted; but, it wouldn't be good, even if possible, to get everything we desired. The challenge, indeed the excitement of life is in maintaining the appropriated balance. A balance between wanting things we can and can't obtain. The difficulty is in knowing the difference between the two and contenting ourselves what is realistic. Still, sometimes we must ignore that difference and attempt the impossible. In all these things, knowing how to deal with disappointment is essential.

Then, it must be said, the joy of the holidays is neither in giving or receiving things, but in sharing our lives, and its lessons. May you be blessed with individuals with whom you can share.