Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Cricket Raised Me by Rhonda Frankhouser

Photo credit to owner
Okay, I admit it - I'm a junkie. Country everything is my drug. Music, clothes, food, animals, gardening. The whole farm lifestyle was cool to me even before Chip and Joanna Gaines made it cool for everyone else. I love it all but there was one special thing about being raised in the country that I'll never forget. Travel with me through a cherished memory.

As the youngest in my family, I spent many years as the only child on our little farm in central California. I had faithful dogs and prolific rabbits, temperamental chickens and a few stray cats to keep the mice from coming in the house, but my savior was a beautiful, steady-riding Appaloosa mare named Cricket.

I'm just gonna say it, Cricket raised me. Sounds odd, but she showed more patience with me than any human in my life. She taught me perseverance and respect. How to take care of others and how to communicate without using words. She taught me what a true friendship should be; honoring and loving unconditionally.

Picture a scrawny, towheaded kid following a twelve hundred pound horse around a fruit tree pasture, talking away like the mare would actually respond. She'd perk her soft, fuzzy ears at the right times and nibble at my face and hair to cheer me up. She was the absolute best listener a little, chatty girl could have. We were inseparable, Cricket and I, and every day she was the first 'person' I wanted to see when I woke up.

My biggest obstacle at three foot nothing and sixty pounds was trying to figure out how I was ever going to get on her back without help. But Cricket knew the answer. When it was time to ride, she'd dip her head into the rope halter, then saunter under a low lying branch and nicker. I finally figured out what she was trying to get me to do. I'd climb the tree and edge my way along the branch until I could safely climb aboard. She was a genius, right?

Cricket glided beneath me when we rode, careful not to knock me off. She'd look both ways before crossing a street and never move a muscle until she felt my small hand grasp a handful of mane to hang on. She was my security blanket. Her unique, calming scent cured many ails throughout those tumultuous teens. I'd stain her shining coat with huge monster tears while she held me in the curve of her neck. Consoling. Patient. Quiet and kind.

I owe my writing career to my sweet Cricket as she endured hours and hours of my amateur storytelling. She'd nicker and bob her head, encouraging me to continue. Looking back I'm sure it was just one kind, intuitive animal bonding with another, but I'll always be thankful for that special horse and the unconditional love and friendship she gave to me.

Did you have a horse growing up? A special friend? Maybe a dog or cat that understood you better than any other being on Earth? Tell me your story.

Thanks for listening. Rhonda

Learn more about Rhonda & her books...



Lori L. Robinett said...

I love this so much! Cricket sounds like the perfect best friend a girl could have. I grew up in town, but longed for a horse of my own. I did the next best thing - I approached the owner of a riding stable and told her I'd work for lessons. Essentially, I worked my rear off raking the barn, cleaning saddles, painting fences, whacking weeds (no weed-eater - I used a scythe) so I could ride for one hour a week. While there, Dingo took me under his wing. He was a flea-bitten gray with the sweetest personality. He taught me to ride, and was a great listener. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

Rhonda Frankhouser Books said...

Your story is just as good, Lori. Horses are life. Thank you for sharing. 🤗

T Fordice said...

Whistle was a BIG 16+ hand foundation bred AQHA Sorrel gelding that I got on right out of the trailer - now this horse had never seen a hog and the sight of each other scared both of them - he reared up and dropped me on the ground so fast - I laughed and got right back on this guy was my buddy and listened to every secret and every word that I read to him - the whole black stallion series!! I could ride with no equipment and boy did we have fun - He followed me every where - when I would get my feelings hurt or just want to hide out he understood and would not let anyone near me - I LOVED that horse until the day he died (Sept '92)in the pasture behind my house - he had cataracts and was blind, but my pony BlackJack never led him astray or let him hit any obstacle!

Rhonda Frankhouser Books said...

That’s a great story. Thanks for sharing.