Thursday, April 21, 2016
Tender Years: Riding Jenny
"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson
Peeling back the layers.
Over the years, after Daddy got Jenny for his plowing, most every baby or toddler that was ever at the house sat upon Jenny's back or "rode" her. Here is my youngest niece, Sarah's daughter, Holly, and I on Jenny at Cooks Road. I remember Holly diving right over into Jenny's neck with her mouth wide open, like she wanted to kiss her or perhaps take a bite of her!
Jenny was always totally docile. We no clue if she had been trained with love, or trained with beating. I do know that Daddy only struck her once in the very beginning and then if she was tempted to eat niblett ears of corn as they went down the row, he simply lay his whip out where she could see it.
I was less than eleven here, no date is on the picture. Guessing from Holly's size, I'd say this is in 1969.
Fast forward a few years, on 1122, in 1975, not long before Daddy would succomb to colon cancer, he had a photo shoot in the front yard with Holly and her little brother, Clay. He was the first male in the family and was Daddy's namesake, as the Clay was short for Clayon. Here's Clay on Jenny with Daddy. I was fifteen and the one taking the pictures.
I was the only one who ever truly rode Jenny. I learned the hard way that a donkey doesn't walk through a ditch, they bunch up and jump it! I remember lying back on her and looking up at the clouds as she grazed. I remember laying over her neck, much as Holly did, just petting her on the sides and smelling her unique scent.
Jenny was my first only "chore" for the many years we had her. It was me who was supposed to go out and feed her and check on her water every day. Jenny was the only "person" in my household who was still alive when I met and started dating Pete. She was more than a beast of burden, she was a connection, through the years and the generations. A connection from Daddy's childhood memories of cotton farming and through my life, my nieces and nephews and cousins, on to the man I'd share my life with.
What memories come to your mind as you read this? What is something that you feel has connected the generations of your family together in some way?
Thanks for sharing!