For years, this picture was on the mantel at Grandma Orange’s house. This is a picture of my (Twila’s) grandpa Carl Orange with his baby brother Wilbur (Uncle Wib). Grandpa was the one who always encouraged me. I remember as a kid sitting in the backseat with him and playing a game to see who could see the most horses as we traveled. He would spend hours telling me about his horses. I could almost picture his dear Trixie and the team of mules he had to leave behind when he was called into duty during World War II. The day finally came when he found my Fancy. We spent many hours driving the little pony cart around Crainville. We’d take off on Sunday after church and sometimes we’d even take a trip through the Dairy Queen Drive Through.
I remember the sad, rainy day when I was told that a couple of pitbulls had ended Fancy’s life. The whole town seemed to be grieving the loss of our beloved pony. Grandpa tried his best to console me and the search for a new pony began immediately. We drove all over Southern Illinois to look at ponies. We found a super, cute little grey mare that was pregnant. Grandpa didn’t really want to have to deal with little babies, so we were blessed to find Beauty just across Route 13 in Crainville. We didn’t have a trailer, so we walked her home. Grandpa lead me as I rode her bareback. I remember being stopped by a lady who wanted to pet her and share her soda with the pony. I couldn’t believe she drank that soda after Beauty had slobbered all over it!
Grandpa was with me when I started taking riding lessons, and he helped me when Dad finally gave in and bought me a “real” horse. Sam was my best friend, my everything. We even began to compete in 4H and did very well. The bug had bitten and it still causes an itch for showing. We then started saving and scheming to buy a “show horse” for me. That began a string of prospects that never really were right. I loved them all, but they were either green broke or had other issues (we were working on a tiny budget).
Unfortunately, Grandpa didn’t live to see me fulfill my dream. He did come to visit us in Texas before he passed away, and he had a blast. Many times when it gets quiet and I’m all alone, I imagine what Grandpa would be saying about the ranch. I know he is watching over us and I’m sure he’s having a ball. I often hear a whisper of a memory of him giving me advice or telling me how to approach a horse. I even can see his smile when I watch a new baby being born. I hope I can live up to his legacy!