My Mom just had an incredible weekend. Here is what I wrote about it. I sent this to the local (small town!) paper where Mom & Dad live. Isn't this a cool story? I'm so proud of my Mom!!
A Dream Comes True
In 1901, a Grand Coliseum was built in Springfield Illinois at the State Fairgrounds. If those walls could talk, we would hear many stories. Here is one of them.
In 1932, my Mom was born. Times were very difficult for many during those depression years, and times for Mom’s family were no exception.
In 1940, Mom’s family took a big outing to the Illinois State Fair. This was a very special family outing for only one day. They arose at 4AM to get dressed and pack food and get on the road Back in those days, little girls (and Moms) wore dresses for outings – even to a hot, dusty fairground. Mom still remembers the little dress she wore that day.
Mom’s fondest memory from that day at the State Fair has more to do with what she DIDN’T see than what she DID see. The highlight of the day for the family was supposed to be watching the Championship night of the Society Horse Show held in that Grand Coliseum. Mom’s family was not “Society.” But they had their dreams. They could not get tickets. The best they could do was stand behind a crowd near the Coliseum (outside) where the horses entered the ring. At 8 years old, Mom wasn’t tall enough to see much of the actual horses from behind the crowd. What she does remember vividly is thinking “I wish that was ME!” as the girls rode by, and all she could see was their hats bobbing up and down. A dream was born.
65 years later, that little girl’s dream came true. Saturday night at the Illinois State Fair, in that same Grand Coliseum, Mom’s Shetland Pony won his Championship class. Not just any class, but a Championship class. Mom not only got to watch the Championship classes from INSIDE the coliseum, but was able to participate and WIN with her very own entry - Knight’s Frosty Lee (Frosty).
Frosty’s victory is a story all by itself. Mom got a bit lucky several years ago buying a young pony. Even the best eyes cannot always tell what a young animal will become someday. He did very well as a young pony, but tragedy came close last winter. He became seriously ill, and was rushed to the University of Illinois vet hospital. He underwent very serious surgery, and all of us were just praying for him to live – we weren’t thinking he could ever show again. Frosty’s recovery involved a very grueling schedule not only for Mom, but for his trainer (John Oder of Martinton) with a whole barn full of “regular” (healthy and normal) horses and ponies, and a very full schedule. Frosty could only eat very limited amounts of food at a time, and had to be fed many times per day in small quantities, and had to be exercised in very particular ways. Anything and everything around him represented danger – chewing or swallowing the wrong thing could have meant a death certificate. So… Mom achieved the dream she has held close for 65 years, and it happened with a pony who might not be alive today under different circumstances.
If the 104 year old walls of that Grand Coliseum could talk, I believe we would hear many more stories just like this one. I hope those old walls whisper to many more young girls that dreams really can come true.
I’m so proud of my Mom for keeping her dream alive all this time. She has always inspired me to reach for the stars and never give up. I hope this story has possibilities to inspire at least one other child to have big dreams and just keep working at it. Anything is possible!