“How many of you have a horse?”
Maybe a half-dozen raised their hands.
“How many like to read?”
Four times as many arms up.
“How many want to be a cowgirl or a cowboy?”
About 40 arms excitedly lifted into the air. That was all of the legs-crossed children on the floor.
It was the weekly gathering of preschoolers and Kindergarteners at the Silver Lake Library, where we were talking about cowboys.
All eyes popped as the old cowboy in typical attire touched off with scarf around collar of red snap-shirt, and century-old spurs on boots, still a tinge of barnyard on one heel, shuffled to the front.
Kickoff was debut reading of our first “children’s book.” Written in a jiffy, but revised concisely upon advice of a little cowboy’s mom, “Frankie Gets A Horse,” didn’t seem to appeal to the already-getting-fidgety listeners as much as to the writer-reader. Guess that’s not our calling either.
A couple dozen pictures of our horses from the past five decades kept attention for a bit, and got a few hands raised with questions, actually more statements, such as a couple: “I have a horse, too.” The pictures of us and our son standing on horses’ backs drew comments, as well.
When we talked about our spurs, and passed around another pair, along with trophy stirrups, and our bridle, bought new 53 years ago, attentiveness brightened.
BB Jake the Practice Steer, made specifically for the program in red sawhorse fashion, with fiberglass horned bovine head, rope tail, and BB brand on right hip, attracted immediate attention.
Attempting to demonstrate our lariat, we threw, and missed Jake, dropped our chin, and shrugged. But, second loop catch drew vivid children applause, and reprieve. Smiles abounded as youngsters examined the rope, personally.
Sack full of past summer’s horseshow ribbons, one for each, made all the cowboy’s friends.
Everyone identified our Bible when we showed it, and joined seemingly faithful in prayer. Librarian even said the cowboy might be invited back, if we talked about our hat.
Reminds us of Job 35:2: “Children are perfectly innocent before God.” Thus, Deuteronomy 4:9: “Lest the things your eyes have seen, depart from your heart and teach them to the children.” Because, First John 4:6: “Children listen, perceive, recognize, understand by observation, and experience we share.”