Going Back

Two of our grandchildren, Maddie and Aiden, stayed at our house this past week, and their mother Jenny came on Wednesday. They are going home today, they and their mostly Silky Terrier, Jack. It is time. “I miss my dad,” Maddie said, a day ago. But oh, it has been such a good week!

One of our favorite things to do was to visit our neighbor’s two tall horses, a matched team, Kate and Dolly, in the large yard at another edge of our little town. We just only stood at the wood fence railing and waited for the horses to come over to us. The children gave them handfuls of green sweet grass. For my part, with my arms around Katie’s neck, breathing the fragrance of “horse” and resting against her massive stolid self, I pretended for a whole minute that I was a ten-year-old on a farm on the south edge of Mira Valley in the middle of Nebraska.

She could have been Bessie. She isn’t, of course. Animals are no more replaceable than people are, in our lives. But it was more than that. Because my daughter and her children lingered there with me to enjoy these two very beautiful creatures, the flooding contentment I felt was not in the past but the present. These things I will think of as Jenny and the kids wave goodbye to us from their car, a few hours from now.

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