Some of you are probably saying to yourself, “Yes! A photostory!” Well, here goes:
It was a beautiful June morning, June 2 to be exact-the first real day of the doll’s summer. Yesterday, all the dolls had their awards and promotion ceremonies. Felicity, who had been in 3rd grade, was still asleep, hoping to be able to sleep in. She held her stuffed duck, Mr.Muggles, close. She had had him since she was a baby. Molly, who had been in 6th grade and was going to 7th grade next year, crept in slowly. “Lissie,” she whispered. “Wake up, Lissie…” Molly felt bad to wake Felicity early on her first day of summer. But she needed to, if she was going to get Felicity on time to her……
“HHHOOORRRSSSEEEBBBAAACCCKKKKRRRIIIDDDIIINNNGGLLLEEESSSSSSOOONNNSSS!” Felicity screamed. Molly slapped her hand over her mouth. “SHUSH! The other girls are sleeping.” Felicity nodded. “I know!” she whispered as loud as a whisper would go. “But I’m so excited! I’ll finally ride a horse like my Great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-grandmother and namesake! Oh, do you think she’ll be brown like Gramma Lissie’s Penny was-” Molly put a finger over her lips and giggled. “We can talk ALL we want on the way to your lessons. But let’s get out of this room. We don’t want wake up our sisters. And get dressed”
Felicity changed into the horse-back riding outfit Madeline had bought her. It even had an “LA” emblem on it, which stood for Lipton Anderson, which was where Felicity would be taking her lessons. She tugged on her boots as her and Molly headed out the door.
When they got to the stables, Felicity saw a small, plump African-American women who would be her teacher. “Good golly!” she exclaimed in her sweet southern accent as Felicity and Molly approached. “I had no idea my student would be such a fine lady!” Felicity smiled but before she could say her thanks the women started again. “Anyway, you’ll have to excuse me. I’m not in usual uniform. You see, it was my day out of the staff to clean the stables. I tried to tell them I had a gal to teach, but I couldn’t get out of the job. And oh my, I didn’t have no time to change. Oh dear me, I forgot to introduce myself. My name is Mrs. Anderson, I’m the co-manager of the stables next to Mrs.Lipton, and I love to teach kids like you. It’s wonderful that kids have an interest in these animals,” she said as a horse snorted. “Nice to meet you, Mrs.Anderson.” Molly spoke for Felicity. “I’m Felicity’s older sister. Could I watch her over on that bench?” Mrs. Anderson smiled a smile filled with pretty white teeth. “You sure can.” she answered. Then she turned to Felicity. “So who is my student again?” she asked. “Mrs.Anderson, my name is Felicity Merriman, Mrs.Anderson. Nice to meet me–OH I MEAN you, Mrs.Anderson!!!! I’m so sorry!” The lady laughed. “You don’t have to repeat my name so many times, child. And that’s fine. Now what got ya all roused up in horses?”
“Well,” Felicity began. “My great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great- Grandmother was the FAMOUS Felicity Merriman. They even wrote a series of books about her and made a doll of her, you see. My mother named me after her. Sometimes I even dress like her. She’s my hero.” Mrs.Anderson went, awwww and muttered “Bless her heart!” as Felicity went on. “Well you see, when my Grandmother was ten like I am, she fell in love with horses. There was an awful man named Jiggy Nye in her neighborhood, who beat horses, (Mrs. Anderson puts a hand on her chest and goes, “Ooh!”, wrapped in the story) “And, one day she was helping her father’s apprentice, Ben, deliver some horse things to him. My many-greats grandmother saw his new horse, Penny, and saw how badly he treated it. So in the night, my Grama Lissie-that’s what I call her- visited the horse to give it food and treat it well. She even learned to ride it. She eventually set the horse free so it wou;dn’t die from Jiggy’s harsh treatments. One day at her grandfather’s plantation, Grama Lissie was reunited with Penny, and she loved her and took care of her. I’ve read my Grama’s 6 biographies about her and Penny. I want to follow in her footsteps of being a hero and saving Penny. Also, I want to glorify God.” Mrs. Anderson grinned. “What a great story! That’s a better answer than any of my students have said when I asked them why they wanted to learn to ride. C’mon, I’ll let you meet Blackie.”
“This girl always ends up being my students’ favorite. Meet Blackie.” Felicity reached her hand out. She was a little nervous about how BIG the horse was. But the anxiety melted away when she felt the horse’s soft mane. “Now,” began Mrs.Anderson, “The first and most important step for being a rider is to get familiar with his/her horse. You need to meet your horse and give her the ability to trust you. If she doesn’t, she won’t let you ride her. But Blackie does nice on children after she meets them, and I can already tell you’ll be a natural.”
“Here,” said Mrs.Anderson, handing Felicity a bucket of apples. “Try feeding her. That’s a good way of earning trust from her.” Felicity took an apple from the bucket. “Here, Blackie, sweet darling, c’mon, Blackie, I won’t hurt you.” Then she made kissy noises as a coax to get Blackie to come near her. Like magic, Blackie took the apple out of Felicity’s hand. A wave of astonishment passed over Felicity. The horse’s tongue tickled. Excitedly, Felicity pulled another apple out, and the horse took it. After that she patted Blackie, guessing two apples were enough for a snack. Mrs. Anderson, who had been watching from afar, came over. “I’m impressed, Felicity!” she said. “It usually takes a while for Blackie to get near kids, even though she ends up loving them. But she came right up to you. And you even knew when enough apples were enough, you didn’t over feed her. Maybe I’ll let you brush and wash her. How’s that?” Felicity nodded.
Felicity washed Blackie and brushed her in circular motion the way Mrs. Anderson had taught her. Soon, the horse was clean and “neighed” at Felicity. “That means he loves you!” her teacher assured her. Felicity giggled and petted the horse. “I love you too, Blackie!
Finally, it was time for riding. Felicity sucked in her breath as Mrs.Anderson hooked up the bit and saddle and other supplies and secured the helmet on Felicity’s head. “Hop up. Uppity up!” Mrs.Anderson coaxed her and helped her up onto the huge saddle. Felicity felt as if she were on the top of a mountain. “We are going to trot. I will hold the reigns.” Mrs. Anderson said. Felicity felt amazing on top of the horse. It was great. Felicity leaned forward and held onto Blackie’s mane as if she were going 100 miles per hour. “Don’t worry,” Mrs. Anderson said. “You won’t fall off.” Felicity laughed from the joy of riding a horse. “It’s not that,” she said. “I’m pretending I am in a horse race, and I must go super fast! Hee-yah!” Now it was Mrs. Anderson’s turn to laugh. You deserve to try it on your own. I will be right here to catch you if you fall. Now ride to you hearts desire.” She handed the reigns to Felicity, who rode quite fast for a beginner around the large prairie. She felt just like her Grama Lissie. Finally, the miraculous ride had to be over. How could Felicity bear it?
“My Golly oh MY!” exclaimed Mrs. Anderson. “I am going to enter you in a fine respected horse show. Don’t doubt it. Just a few more lessons and I WILL. That canter–from a first-timer! It’s in your heart, child, not your brain or mind like with most children. You don’t need me to teach you. But we both want me to. You are AMAZING, let me say!” Felicity hugged her. “You are a great teaher, Mrs.Anderson!!!! I cannot wait till next week for my lesson!”