Feature Follow Friday (December 25)

Alison Can Read Feature & FollowIt is the Friday Feature Follow!

This is a weekly blog meme hosted by Parajunkee’s View and Alison Can Read.

There are some general rules to the Feature Follow, and they have recently been updated. There are now TWO Featured Bloggers each week, one at Parajunkee’s View and one at Alison Can Read. It is required that you follow both of these Featured Bloggers, so make sure you stop in with both hosts’ posts to meet the Featured Bloggers and follow them.

The Questions:


What was the best Christmas (or other holiday) gift you ever received? – Suggested by Alison Can Read


My Answer:

I don’t remember any Christmas gifts prior to age 10…or really any, for that matter. Being the oldest of four, Christmases were even slimmer as I got older.

To give context to the story below, my grandparents were married but had been separated all of my life. They lived 1/4 mile apart, and seemed to like it that way. 

In January 2003 my grandmother, who was my primary caregiver, passed away. That November, my grandfather told my three brothers and me that we would be getting a joint gift, and he wanted to know what we wanted. Of course, the boys all said they wanted the newest PlayStation.

Recently my uncle took our horse, Spider, to live permanently at his house. I really missed Spider. He was truly the best horse you could have. So, I asked for a horse. My brothers quickly vetoed my suggestion.

The week of Thanksgiving, my grandfather came up one evening to the house and insisted we all load up in his truck. He wouldn’t tell us what we were doing or where we were going. This was very out of character for him. My brothers, mother and I piled into his pristine ’95 GMC pickup. We took the short drive 1/4 mile to his house. He took us out into the pasture (which we used as a hay field) and just stopped. He flicked his highbeams.

At first, we didn’t know what was going on. Was there a coyote out there? Was PawPaw working on something new? Why was he showing it to us in the dark?

And then there was movement. 

Standing there in the realm of light was a leggy, red Chestnut. 

My Chestnut. A horse all for me. My grandfather had traveled to Mexico to a large ranch that was foreclosing, and had purchased the horse that he gifted me with. It was the most expensive and most important gift I’d ever received.

After my grandmother died, there were signs that my grandfather did indeed love her very much. The night she died, he sat in his car-shed the entire night, looking out on the land that they had built their home and life on. In the days following, he dug up her rosebushes and cut down her favorite tree so he wouldn’t look at them and be reminded of her each time. He bought me Red Lightening to cope with my grief. Red was more therapy for me than toy.

They say that horses form stronger bonds with women than they do with men, and I swear that horse knew. He knew everything. He would let me wrap my arms round his neck and sob into his mane, and he’d stand stock still and just let me. 


What has been your best Christmas gift? Leave me a comment about anything! 

18 thoughts on “Feature Follow Friday (December 25)

  1. Wow, such a sad and beautiful story, very appropriate for Christmas as well. You should totally write a memoir, Charlie! And what a gorgeous horse. Is he still alive?

    • I did get Red at the exact time I needed. I had spent the previous year crying in the bathroom all the time at school and hating my science class because my teacher was very much like my grandmother. Just a few years ago, I learned my mother took my oldest brother (four years younger than me) to a therapist.

      Unfortunately, my mother is very easily pressured, and my uncle (the same one who confiscated Spider, which was bought by my grandpa for all the grandkids) pretty much forced her to sell Red before I came home one Thanksgiving.

  2. What a truly amazing story and such a special gift from your grandfather. Those are the kind of memories you’ll treasure forever. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas. Old follower and yet a new on through wordpress and sent you requests through Twitter and Bloglovin.

    Have a wonderful week!

    My Feature and #FF

    • Yes, it is one of the best memories I have of my grandfather, as he wasn’t an easy man. Like I said, this was very out of character for him. That he even recognized that I was struggling was a big thing. Thanks for following, Kristine! I’ve done the same! 🙂

  3. I wanted a horse in the worst way when i was growing up. The house we rented had this miniature barn, complete with horse stalls the city had grown up around the house and horses were not permitted. So I got an imaginary horse. Every school day i would go out to the little barn, groom and saddle my mare, and ride her to school. I got to school twice as fast when i rode as i could gallop the whole way, and she kept me safe on the way home, when the bullies used to chase me. She was the best! http://wp.me/p5WCdr-yS

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