‘Yes I Name Them’ book detailing the farm life in Loudon to be published in September

By CAROLE SOULE

For the Monitor

Published: 06-17-2023 2:00 PM

This column is adapted from the prologue to Carole's book, "Yes, I Name Them," available in September. Carole shares her 26-acre Loudon farm with husband Bruce and a herd of Scottish Highland cattle.

 

 

The 1957 Sears Christmas Book offers a pony—not a little girl’s toy—a living pony. Carole hunts for the page with his picture. The accompanying text says the pony will be shipped in a crate, which doesn’t seem strange, but the price does. The pony costs $179. She’s never seen that kind of money, but she can imagine it as a fluffy pile of green.

In Sunday School she learned that happiness only happens when you make room for it. Bitterness or anger can crowd your thinking, leaving no room for joy.

So, she makes room for happiness—namely, a pony. She’s sure there is room for a pony in the two-car garage attached to her family’s ’50s suburban home, so the girl clears away boxes to make space. Every night she studies the catalog and thinks this is the most beautiful pony ever.

On Christmas Eve she puts an apple and a few lettuce leaves in the garage, so the pony will have something to eat when Santa delivers him.

After he arrives, she'll brush him and ride him every day. She'll sleep next to him, breathing in the aroma of cut hay. The Sears catalog is her bible. She studies the picture and imagines riding the pony to school.

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Meanwhile, she makes do with an imaginary pony. She sees herself exploring the swamp in the forest behind the house, breathing in the scent of musty earth while sitting on her steed's back. Her imaginary pony travels with her on family road trips. At rest stops, she jumps on his back and canters to a lookout spot or to a souvenir shop. No one knows she's on a pony; people think she's skipping or running.

Christmas morning disappoints the 7-year-old, and as a wise 8-year-old, she realizes there may be another way. When she learns that riding lessons cost $15, she makes a deal with her mother: She’ll learn how to play the violin at Miss Nissenbaum’s, and her mom will pay for riding lessons.

At her Saturday-morning lessons, she rides Sammy in a small pen, learning to sit on him while he walks and trots. The riding instructor makes her close her eyes to learn how to balance by feeling the horse move. The girl forgets she's in a small pen and pictures riding Sammy over the same hills she rode her imaginary pony.

She discovers the smell of a horse. She snuggles and breathes in Sammy's musky odor. It is the perfume of adventure, a whiff of exploration. As they gallop through fields and dash across brooks, she's sure when she gets her pony, she will have as much fun as she's having with Sammy.

Her riding lessons continue into her teens. Always riding someone else's horses, she still dreams of getting her own. Then comes college, and for two years there are no horses in her life. She is almost expelled twice because she can't pay her tuition, but each time the college finds a donor, and she gets to stay. She can't afford college. How can she ever afford a horse? Tired of begging for tuition money, she quits school and moves to New England.

When she marries at age 20, it is to a man with acreage. He tells her to get a horse, and she does.

* * *

Carole Soule's book, "Yes, I Name Them," will be available in September. She is co-owner of Miles Smith Farm (www.milessmithfarm.com) in Loudon, N.H., where she raises and sells beef and other local products. She can be reached at carolesoule60@gmail.com.

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