This year, Evie’s lesson fell on Valentine’s Day. She’s been plotting decorations since Christmas. But yesterday morning it rained. (It was supposed to.) And the wind picked up. Evie is as avid a horse girl as any of them, but she’s not the most intrepid. A drop of rain or a hint of cold sends her running to the utility shed for shelter. Sammy, on the other hand, will stay out with the horses even when it’s dark and freezing. It was drizzly and wet through the early afternoon and though I expected Sammy, I was sure Evie would take one look at the sky and chose to spend her afternoon indoors, but around 2 the text came through: “Can I drop Evie off at 3:30?” Clearly, the best decorating day of the year was not to be missed.
As it turns out, Sammy had had an awful day. Schools, generally speak, more often than not, make kids unhappy. Kids then find numerous ways to take their unhappiness out on each other and the particular “flavor of the month” at Sammy’s school is of the “I don’t want to be YOUR friend” variety. Sammy is congenial and fun, but that has not saved her from never being a target. She thinks the behavior is stupid, but it still hurts.
By the time Sammy arrived, Evie had hectored me into putting up the “Happy Valentines Day” banner and had spread sparkle foam paper (in pink, rose and red), heart plates, purple glitter and heart shaped stencils all over the floor of the utility shed. Sammy, of course, had a valentine for Evie and Evie had one for Sammy, but she’d left it in the car. This mattered not at all as the two of them plunged headlong into the serious task of cutting out hearts and arrows and peace signs and chattering on about decorating plans for the barn.
It didn’t take long, however, for Evie to dig through the bag of goodies and find the spray paint (colored hair spray). I insisted they use stencils, which they did until I had to check on Cowgirl and they had at Stoney’s tail. Besides the fluorescent pink tail, Stoney ended up with hearts on his mane, chest, shoulders and behind. One heart was half white and half pink with a smaller pink heart on the white side and a smaller white heart on the pink side. Also one of the hearts was in the peace sign style; both of the ideas being the ever creative Evie’s.
Stoney is one of the few horse’s who’s coloring I actively dislike. But the number of times his light coat has given endless delight in it’s use as a canvass is now beyond count. Riding home (Evie and Sammy riding double on Stoney) we were stopped by a man driving by. Could he take their picture?! Turns out he’d left his camera at home, but he had to gaze and admire, his heart warmed by the sight of such a delightfully decorated horse being ridden by two obviously happy girls.
It was a bit of a rush getting home as Evie’s dad had to pick her up sooner than expected so I don’t recall our conversation, but by the time we’d gotten to the top of Quail Lane, Sammy was talking about candy and how candy made her brother happy. I said, “Sammy, people like to eat candy, but it doesn’t make them happy. You know what makes me happy? Erik and I had a little extra money and we gave it to our vet to help pay for medical care for an animal whose owner might need help. Fifteen minutes after having dropped the check off at the vets, a woman walked in with a very sick cat, but who couldn’t afford the emergency care. Because I had just left that money, they were able to save the cats life. Now that makes me happy.” Sammy thought about this for a moment and said, “Horses make me happy. And grooming horses. And you and my mom and dad.” I’m sure Evie would have joined in our conversation, but her dad needed to pick up her brother and she was hurrying down the hill as fast as she could go. Still, I hollered after her, “I know what makes Evie happy! Decorating makes Evie happy!” “YES!”, she hollered back. And Evie’s joy in decorating and overall good company makes for a jolly good time.