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Daughter of Ishmael by Diane Stringam Tolley

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by Diane Stringam Tolley

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

My Kingdom for a Horse

Delores of The Feathered Nest has issued another challenge.
Six words, completely unrelated, that we, her obedient and willing partners-in-crime must stitch into something cohesive.
Or at least read-able.
This week's words?
Ignorant, monstrosity, grating, fiend, speckled, lavender
Make something of those, if you can!
                        *  *  *

I love art.
But I am not an artist.
For me, coloured pencils are used only for . . . colouring. Though I can, if I concentrate, stay within the lines.
Stick figures elude me.
Anything more complex is simply drifting in the realms of impossibility.
But, as I say, I love art.
Colourful creations of fantasy. Black and white impressions. Scenery and/or animals.
But the one subject I most love, and am most particular about, is horses.
Standing, running, jumping. Breathing. Everything they do is pure poetry.
But, though the possibility of me actually drawing or creating a picture of a horse is so remote as to be impossible, I am very particular about my horse pictures.
They have to be believable.
The flank has to be just so. The legs. The curve of the neck. The head.
Maybe it’s because I’ve spent so much time with them.
Maybe it’s just because I’m picky.
Maybe I just know that, if a horse had shoulders like that and that twisted back leg, riding him would be like taking the train.
Without the rails.
My parents had many pictures of horses in their home.
Most were sold or donated as their places of residence shrunk.
But two remained.
One, an original oil of a horse herd in full gallop, was beautiful.
The other, a head study of a mare and foal done on black velvet with a lovely lavender background, was not.
I mean, it was still far better than anything I could have done myself.
And the foal in the picture was quite good.
It’s the mare that I found grating.
If you put your hand over her nose, her softly-speckled eyes are warm and gentle as she gazed fondly at her offspring.
But if you lifted your hand, her twisted nose, with its nostrils wrapped around and extending into each other, made her into a monstrosity.
A fiend.
Quite simply, there was no way she could breathe.
And how did her top jaw keep from falling off?
Whenever I looked at it, I wondered how my parents, horse-loves both, could abide this picture.
Why am I telling you this?
Because my Dad told me he was bringing me my beloved horse picture.
It was time.
Happily, I cleared a spot on the wall in the front room.
A place of honour to do justice to the work of art that would shortly reside there.
Then, I waited.
His car pulled up.
He got out and quietly retrieved a large, blanket-draped bundle from the back.
Happily and proudly, he bore said bundle into the house and placed it into my arms.
Eagerly, I unwrapped and let the covering fall.
You know those movies when something startling happens to the character and there are violent bursts of violin music as the ‘whatever’ get closer and closer?
Well, I definitely needed that violin music.
Dun! Dun! Dun!!!
Because the picture he had brought was not the incredible shot of horses running.
No.
It was the quiet study of freak and foal.
I stared at it.
Then at my smiling father.
The word ‘aghast’ comes to mind.
Not wanting to be ignorant, I obligingly hung it in the prepared spot.
For all of my Dad’s visit.
Then it went to a better place.
The garage.
I have another horse picture there now.
One I chose.

Sorry, Dad.

11 comments:

  1. Can't help if you fallen for another better horse picture, I too prefer the one up on the wall!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Chetana! Good taste prevails!

      Delete
  2. Another good job. Including picture disposition.

    ReplyDelete
  3. But, but, but ... no picture of the picture? Is it THAT bad?! And was your dad teasing you or was he serious?

    It's funny, we can get so used to something and attached to it by virtue of how long we've had it, that we stop noticing the flaws ... good for spouses, not so good for things like pictures!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenny, to this day, I don't know if he was teasing me, knowing how I abhorred (Yes, it was that bad!) that painting. It went the way of all the earth many years ago. I searched and searched and there are no pictures of it in existence! Sad, but true. We don't have the picture. But we have the MEMORIES! :)

      Delete
  4. I love horses!
    The second pic is soo nice.
    Good ol horse.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too! Yep that second picture speaks to me!

      Delete
  5. I love the last photo, I feel that horse is looking right at me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It says to me, "What? Break's over already?!"

      Delete
  6. Love all the wonderful responses you receive! You really have a gift, Diane!
    Love,
    Chris

    ReplyDelete

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Diane was born and raised on one of the last of the great old Southern Alberta ranches. A way of life that is fast disappearing now. Through her memories and stories, she keeps it alive. And even, at times, accurate . . .

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