I was just sitting here thinking about life in general during this Christmas season. I was thinking about how sometimes without even trying, holiday memories are stuck in your brain forever, good or bad.
For instance, when I was (I think) 7 or 8 years old, we went to Idaho for a wedding during Christmas. I have no idea who was getting married; as a child of that age, who really cared anyway? But I remember that I got to wear a very frilly purple dress, pantyhose, and grown up shoes to the wedding. I think I got to wear those particular shoes because I didn't have any dress shoes and my feet were already in size 7 or 8 in ladies, so they were borrowed. (Thank God my feet stopped growing at size 10 finally.) I remember thinking that I was a princess. (Sometimes life doesn't change much does it? Except I am now a queen according to my husband. But I digress.))
Anyway, one of the very few memories I have of my cousin Roseanna as a child was that she took me riding in the snow on her horse during that same trip. I'd never been on a horse before. The closest thing to a horse I'd ever even seen in real life was a Holstein cow back in Minnesota. I have small pieces of time that seep through my memory, like when you channel surf while watching television. It's there for a second or two, then gone. I recall having to stand on a bucket to get up on the horse. I know that I was so excited to be riding that I almost hyperventilated. I remember thinking that Roseanna was the coolest person on Earth that day.
Then we were riding. Roseanna in the saddle, me behind her, hanging on for dear life. We walked for a while, then it started snowing pretty hard and Roseanna thought we should get back fairly quickly before we couldn't see anymore. So we turned around, she told me to "Hang on!" and we were off, galloping back to the barn through the fields.
I have never, ever in my life afterwards, felt the same as I did that day on the back of that horse. The snow stinging my eyes. The wind streaming my hair. Holding on to my cousin, trusting that as long as I held on, she would get me safely back to the house. It was terrific. Then she yelled, "Duck!"
I had my eyes closed to the wind, huddled behind Roseanna; I didn't know why I had to duck, but I did. Unfortunately I raised my head up too soon and got smacked in the head so hard by a tree branch that both of us almost fell to the ground.
Well, obviously I don't remember much after that. Just walking in the door of the house with blood pouring down my face, and the horrific look on every one's faces. Every one talking at once, my brothers laughing, and impressed with the blood, my older sisters trying to look disinterested and bored with the whole thing.
But I think that one reason why that incident was pounded into my memory (pun intended), is that I still have a scar, just under my left eyebrow; and every time I notice it I remember how I got it all over again. Blood or not, it was still one of the coolest things I have ever done.