Mindy’s Birthday (Image: Susan Hellard)
When Izzy and Willow asked me what I would like to do on my birthday a few weeks ago, the answer was easy. I was seeing my sisters before the event and Mom was visiting me the next day, so there was no need for an extended meeting. I didn’t need “things”, but what I really wanted, they knew, was a day of rest.
I could feel Willow’s moan behind her smile. Which 17 year old child would like to wake up at dawn? Possibly some, if it were to destroy her own pony, but she is a night owl and, like many of her age, has a sleep pattern that sees her stumbling downstairs at lunchtime, ready to have her breakfast.
Izzy, on the other hand, was looking forward to working the morning shift. She had been helping me for weeks and loves the opportunity to be in charge, so she found it easy to convince her little sister.
Mindy with her dogs (Image: Susan Hellard)
Richard had to leave at 6:30 am to work, and although he whispered a happy birthday before leaving, hoping that I wouldn’t wake up, the sun had other ideas and sent blinding rays of golden light through the gap between the bedroom curtains.
I tried my best to stay in bed, but within 20 minutes boredom washed over me and after letting the dogs out and drinking my coffee, I could hardly wait in the kitchen by turning my thumbs any longer. I put the horses out and did Max’s stable – so the girls could do the rest. Half an hour later, I went back to the kitchen and found the two girls waiting for me, along with a pile of wonderful gifts. We had breakfast and decided to finish the work together outdoors.
With a stable for each of us, we hummed while working and Izzy was about to expose Musca for his limited grazing time, when I heard a voice behind the backyard gates. Ojo and Sparrow went crazy as usual, and since the gates are six feet high and solid wood, I wasn’t sure who it was. So I climbed on top of the hay bales waiting to be transferred to the store, to see Richard’s mother on the floor. “Happy birthday,” she called. “I didn’t get an answer from the front gates and I thought you could be here.”
She had brought some lovely plants to the garden, but as soon as she passed them on to me, there was a commotion in the stables. I turned to see Izzy leading Musca towards his picket.
With the horses (Image: Susan Hellard)
But Musca was in the mood for mischief – and Ojo, too. Our bouncy doodle left the hay shop, surprising his little friend, who jumped forward, surprising Izzy, and spent all the money.
Thank goodness he only has nine hands and was being playful, not aggressive. I jumped off my perch, but I had barely taken two steps before Willow grabbed Ojo and put him in a severe “position” while Izzy continued with Musca trotting angelically beside her towards his picket.
The instant the collar of his head was removed, Musca galloped along the entire length of his field, circling and delighting in stretching his legs. Ojo was released and ran straight to the fence to watch his friend, his tail wagging and a smile on his face.
I chose not to remind the girls of my last words before speaking to Grandy, who were, “Don’t drive Musca until Ojo is in his leadership at the post.” But they managed the situation and I doubt they will make the same mistake again.
We finished the stables in a super quick time, which meant that I could take all the dogs on a longer, more relaxed walk than usual, and when I came home two beautiful birthday bouquets had arrived for me – one of peas and another of white roses and freesias.
Then my lovely friend Helsy arrived with another one – of radiant sunflowers and yellow roses. The kitchen was full of all my favorite, fragrant and glorious flowers from my wonderfully attentive friends.
Tired but happy (Image: Susan Hellard)
I was excused from all cooking tasks for the rest of the day. Willow put the horses to bed and the girls agreed to get some Thai food and watch my favorite movie with me, Joe against the volcano. He’s an old man, but a good guy.
Even though we spent months together, there was nothing better than spending the day with my girls and, as we all know, the best gift that anyone can give is their time.