Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti:
Picture it, a small town in Pennsylvania in June 1988 or maybe it was 1989. I was either 8 or 9 when this happened. Forgive me for not recalling my age. I just recall my sheer terror.
My neighbors down the street decided to hire a horse and trainer for their grandson's birthday. FYI, this kid was spoiled. I follow him on Instagram and Facebook now and he goes to the casinos most weekends and has four BMWs. No, I don't know why.
I had never been up close and personal to a horse before in my life. Cows, yes. Pigs, yes. Heck, I have even chased chickens at that point in my life. I can honestly say that I was not enthused at all about being near a horse. And weirdly enough I had not read any books at that time in my life about horses.
Huh, do I have some issue with horses? I know that most young girls or horse and or princess crazed and I was neither. Though I would fight you to the death if you talked crap about Sebastian in "The Never-Ending Story."
My mother in one of her millionth attempts was trying to get me to agree to wear a dress and mary jane shoes to this party. I perhaps flung myself under the bed and was protesting dressing up since I knew that most of my friends would be in shorts and possibly a moderately cleaned shirt. Usually during the summers we went riding all over on our bikes, played in the forbidden creek, or played in the woods or old cemetery so believe me I was dressed appropriately for this.
I was eventually convinced (i.e. threatened severely) to go to the party and my mom made me put on long pants. I do recall that I had on the shirt I was wearing before though, so winning.
When my younger brother and I arrived, most of the party was huddled off to the side watching (redacted) ride a horse. He had on a whole cowboy outfit with a cowboy hat that didn't even fit him. He also, being the jerk he was at the time (possibly still is) was complaining cause he wanted to "ride" the horse and the horse was all, yeah dude, I'm good. The trainer was a sweaty older man who was trying (failing) to keep an upbeat attitude.
Seriously though, we stood for maybe 30 minutes watching (redacted) on a horse while people took pictures. I recall one of my friends at the time complaining we were missing playing Hide and Go Seek for this (swear word). Still cracks me up years later.
Eventually realizing they were about to deal with a mutiny (redacted) grandparents offered to have each of the kids placed on the horse and get their pictures taken too. Of course the parents would have to pay for that. I recall my dad rolling his eyes about that later cause the pictures ended up awful as could be. I think that maybe my head eventually was barely in the picture.
One by one, each kid was placed on top of at the time it seemed the world's tallest horse. Guess what happened? One kid proceeded to scream himself into blacking out. Another cried and tried to crawl up his mother's skirt. I do think one of my friends peed himself. I was freaking out when placed on the horse and recall trying to not fall off. My heart was beating so fast I was scared I was going to pass out. But, I didn't want to embarrass my mother or have my younger brother making fun of me. And I pretty much clutched onto the horse for my dear life.
The horse smelled like a horse. I can still remember the smell of food in the air, the sun on my hair and on my back and the horse underneath me. I maybe fell a bit in love at that time. So much so that I protested having to get off.
So that's my first time ever seeing a horse and my significant encounter with one.
Tasks for Dies Natalis Solis Invicti: Find the sunniest spot in your home, that’s warm and comfy and read your book. –OR–
Take a picture of your garden, or a local garden/green space in the sun (even if the ground is under snow). If you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, take a picture of your local scenic spot, park, or beach, on a sunny day. –OR–
The Romans believed that the sun god rode across the sky in a chariot drawn by fiery steeds. Have you ever been horseback riding, or did you otherwise have significant encounters with horses? As a child, which were your favorite books involving horses?
For me, I would have to go with Sojourner Truth. She ended up becoming one of the most noted African-American women speakers discussing issues of civil rights and abolition.
Her poem "Ain't I a Woman" still gives me the shakes in a good way. Here it goes down below.
Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?
That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man - when I could get it - and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?
Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?
Then that little man in black there, he says women can't have as much rights as men, 'cause Christ wasn't a woman! Where did your Christ come from? Where did your Christ come from? From God and a woman! Man had nothing to do with Him.
If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back , and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.
Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.
Tasks for Quaid-e-Azam: Pakistan’s first leader – Muhammad Ali Jinnah – was a man, but both Pakistan and neighboring India were governed by women (Benazir Bhutto and Indira Gandhi respectively) before many of the major Western countries. Tell us: Who are the present-day or historic women that you most respect, and why? (These can be any women of great achievement, not just political leaders.)