31 Letters Literacy Project – Day 13 – “Inspired by Horses”

Day 13 of our 31 Letters Literacy Project is all about HORSES and what they inspire in us.  This topic is inspired by a poem we bumped into on Day 13 of our 365 Days of Literacy for Kids:


Out of the earth
I sing for them,
A Horse nation
I sing for them.
Out of the earth
I sing for them,
The animals
I sing for them.


In this poem, a “Horse nation” is so important and so celebratory that the Teton Sioux Indians SING for these animals.  Horses are an integral part of their lives, their transportation, their sustenance.  Is it possible that you feel the same sense of song for HORSES… or other animals… or special people?  My personal experience with horses is very limited, but I feel the passion in this poem. Write a letter to your kids/grandkids/special kids telling about your experience with a horse or horses, or any other animal.

Here is my letter to my grandchildren:

Dear _________________________,

Hi, my little darlings!  Today’s letter brings me back to the summer of 1961… and my introduction to a horse and a person of courage!

When my family moved back to New England from California, we stayed at the home of my Aunt Jean and Uncle Ed.  Aunt Jean was my Mom’s younger sister.  Aunt Jean and Uncle Ed had 2 daughters… Debbie, who was 8 years old and a little younger than me, and Donna, who was just 1 year old.  They lived in a beautiful home in New Hampshire and had extra room for my family while my parents found a place for us to live.

I still remember the late afternoon in August that we arrived at their home.  We hadn’t seen these relatives in over 3 years, and I had never met the baby, Donna.  After all the hugs and hellos and a tour of their home, Debbie wanted to take me around the neighborhood to show me everything.  She was very enthusiastic… and my parents said I could go, but to stay kind of close to their home.

Debbie showed me the cemetery that was across the street from her house, behind a row of houses and a stone wall.  I thought it was kind of scary in the early evening light,  especially when Debbie told me the cemetery was haunted.  Just what I didn’t want to hear.  Debbie wasn’t afraid of anything, I would come to find out.  I was much more timid and shy and I approached most things very cautiously.

Next, Debbie took me up the street to a horse corral.  In that horse corral was a horse.  A very big horse.  Debbie told me that the horse had chewed one of her shoes… and she showed me the chewed part.  Just like the haunted cemetery, I didn’t want to hear about a horse that chewed shoes.  Debbie whistled to the horse (Debbie knew how to whistle awesomely… something I practiced but never mastered).  The big horse came running over to the fence where we stood and Debbie reached right in to pet its face.  She told me to do the same.

“UM.  NO THANKS,” I was thinking.  That horse was big, it had a big face and it had a GIGANTIC mouth.

Debbie was not amused by my hesitation.

Then Debbie asked me if I wanted to FEED the horse.

UM. DOUBLE NO THANKS! Remember the REINDEER incident?

I can’t remember where or how Debbie got an apple at that moment… but she did.  (Maybe it was in the corral?!)  She put the apple flat in her hand and put it up to the horse’s mouth.  The horse took that apple so gently from Debbie’s palm.

But I still didn’t want to do it.  So I didn’t.  When Debbie realized that I was AFRAID to feed the horse, she was OK with it.

My cousin Debbie would become one of my best friends.  I still love Debbie just like she’s a sister to me.  We are still very, very different in many ways… but I remember being so enthralled with her courage.  She wasn’t afraid of haunted cemeteries, gigantic horses who chewed shoes, hitting a baseball as hard as any one of the boys in our neighborhood, or riding her bike up to my house in the dark… and she could WHISTLE and tap dance better than anyone I ever knew!  (My family moved just up the street from my aunt and uncle’s house a few weeks after we moved to New Hampshire!)

My cousin Debbie celebrated life.  Debbie celebrated animals.  Debbie celebrated horses.  Debbie taught me great lessons about life and animals and horses… and about courage.

Today, I sing for my cousin Debbie and the great love I have for her!  I hope you always feel this way about your cousins!

1954 (l-r): Billy,Nana,Dad,Mom,ME,Aunt Joan,Aunt Jean,Uncle Ed,cousin DEBBIE

Love forever and ever,

Grandma Couto


Write a letter today.  Mail it to someone you love.


MAIL TIDBIT of the Day: The volume of post office mail has decreased significantly due to the increased volume of EMAIL.

31 Letters Literacy Project – Day 13 – “Inspired by Horses” was last modified: March 13th, 2011 by Sharon Couto
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31 Letters Literacy Project – Day 13 – “Inspired by Horses” was last modified: March 13th, 2011 by Sharon Couto