My dad smoked a pipe when I was little. I loved the smell of the tobacco and delighted in trying to catch the smoke rings he could blow. Even better was that his tobacco came from a beautifully-blue tin of Kentucky Club. I don’t know why Dad liked that brand, but the only reason I loved it was the image on the front – a rider on a horse. A horse! To own a horse was my dream and desire that for most of my nine years of life had been on the top of my birthday and Christmas wish list. Every year. For naught. I would never get to have a horse because I was unlucky enough to have been born to parents who kept telling me they couldn’t afford one!
And then one year in the early 1960s, Kentucky Club had a contest to give away a horse. A FREE horse! Mom and Dad couldn’t argue with that. This was heaven-sent luck. All I had to do was fill out the contest form, select a name for the horse, and send it in with two proofs of purchase of Kentucky Club, which I made sure I got from Dad. The horse was as good as mine. I spent hours poring over its pedigree to come up with a name. Suddenly, it came to me – the name that I was sure would capture the judges’ hearts because it was such an awesome name that fit “my” horse and his pedigree. His name, I wrote in all capital letters on the entry form, was MYSTIC BEAUTY. It was so perfect, I nearly cried. Mystic Beauty, by Midnight Magic (magic – mystic; get it?) out of Dancing Beauty (beauty – beauty; no other word to describe this magnificent creature). I spent hours practicing how I would break the news to Mom and Dad that we were getting a new pet.
Somewhere, somehow, sometime that year, someone became the lucky owner of a free horse. It wasn’t me. Again I bemoaned the fact that I was so unlucky. But luck hadn’t abandoned me yet. As luck would have it, we moved to a real-live, honest-to-goodness farm. The place came with a drafty four-bedroom, mouse-infested home; the landlord’s German Shepherd watchdog, Rocky; some old chicken coops that made great clubhouses for us kids; a barn with a haymow and stalls in it; and a fenced meadow. The place practically screamed for a horse to make it complete! One week after moving there, I went from horse-crazy to horse-heaven in seconds. Dad got me a pony.
I forgot about checking my little Shetland’s pedigree and still came up with the perfect name for him: Midnight (so clever since he was solid black). I loved that ornery, stubborn little pony more than any other pet I’d ever had. Life was suddenly absolutely perfect in the world of Kid-dom. I was the luckiest person in the whole world.
And as Luck has had it, I still am!