image copyright Fred First

She got her horse.

image copyright Fred First

After all these years.

Beauty kept her out of trouble. Beauty, the first horse, also sent her to the ER with a broken arm. But now there’s Cassie, and granddaughter Abby will have her own love affair with the sweaty, obstinate, romantic beasts because her momma couldn’t live any longer without a horse in her life.

If it will keep her a safe distance from other harms and wastes of time, I’m all for it–especially given the fact that I don’t have to call the vet, the ferrier, or the neighbors to see if the horse showed up over at their place after getting out of the pasture. Those duties I happily confer to son-in-law Mike (who is wearing my shirt, I notice here! Some styles never go out of style, eh?)

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. Great pictures, so different in time, so similar in content. Passing it on to the kids and grandkids, our values, love for animals, the work involved in keeping them. Life goes on.

  2. Sweet! You know, Fred, you have such a good-looking family…and I don’t say that just because I’ve been mistaken for your daughter… 🙂

  3. “Some styles never go out of style, eh?”
    Either that, or she married the closest thing to dear ol’ Dad that she could find. 🙂

  4. Beautiful family picture…..Abby sure is growing up to be a beautiful child……My 4 year old grand-daughter wishes for a pony for Christmas – since that is not feasible, I purchased a “Horse corral and barn” with some toy ponies from a store called ToyTyme here in St. Louis……….hopefully it will keep her occupied as she has a wonderful imagination……….

  5. I have wished for a pony for Christmas for the last 45 years…
    Every year I received a doll and something ‘girlie’…

    Maybe it’s time I followed this lead and darned well bought one for myself!

    Merry Christmas!