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Once Upon a Time

August 31, 2010

Cesar Padilla, age 17 WWII Navyman

 I had lunch with my father today and I mentioned to him that I had a comment on my blog from a Canadian woman named Connie Larson.  When I mentioned what she wrote, about how she knew the minute she had one foot in the stirrup that the horse she was thinking of buying  was the right one, my dad told me about a horse experience he once had.  The password to open the door to this particular memory in his 84-year-old mind was the phrase foot in stirrup.  Now I have been into horses my whole life and my father has never told me this story, never even mentioned that he even ever liked horses. 

He was young, it was in the 1940s he thinks.  He was somewhere on a ranch in Mexico and he loved being out on the horses.  One day he rode off into the wide open spaces on a mare all by himself, galloping along, loving the feeling of going fast.  Then, something happened and he came off.  One of his feet got stuck in a stirrup and the mare began to drag him, his body scraping along the ground, a helpless heap of easily ripped flesh.  It wasn’t more than a few minutes before the mare stopped.  My dad believes that she understood what was happening and made the choice to help him.  After the mare halted, Dad managed to free his foot.  The mare stood still while he remounted.  Young Cesar made his way back to the house with his arm flayed open by the coarse arid land.  The thing Dad remembers is how this horse seemed to care about him.  

We talked about what could have happened if the mare kept on galloping.  Death would have been a strong possibility since no one knew where he was and he could have easily been knocked unconscious.  It is funny that I am 52-years-old and I never knew that my dad had an experience that could have been written out of my own history with horses.  I am the queen of riding off alone into the backcountry, confident that I will get back, hopeful to be in one piece.  Perhaps I have a lineage of vaqueros in my past, people who feel connected to their equine partners by their very genealogy.  I have decided to let the fairy tale feeling that I have right now roam about inside me and see if it rings any truth.  I feel like a kid again somehow.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Carolyn permalink
    August 31, 2010 5:05 pm

    How nice Cesar is sharing some of his stories. The kids and grandkids would probably love them. I use to hear some from his mother and loved them. Carolyn

  2. September 1, 2010 3:09 am

    Yes, I would love to incorporate some of these stories in one of my books, like the time when your father took grandma to a dance when they were about 17 or 18 and a blizzard struck, so he tucked himself in the carriage after dropping Toni off and let the horses take him home. One of my favorite romantic stories….

  3. Cesar permalink
    September 1, 2010 5:03 am

    Your embellished description made me live that moment even more. Love you, dad

    • September 2, 2010 12:56 am

      I guess that is why I am the writer. But, you did describe it like that and I bet the real experience is even more dramtatic!

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