Jimmy the Horse was born four years or so ago. I was in the car headed somewhere with my two younger granddaughters when one of them asked, “Who’s in the car with you when we aren’t?”
“Jimmy the Horse,” I immediately replied and then began making up stuff about him. What he likes to eat, what his favorite color is and on and on. Over the years, Daniella and Cristiana have played along. “What do you think Jimmy is doing now?”, one of them will ask. Or “Is Jimmy going to be at the swimming pool when we get there?”
Last Sunday “The First Annual Jimmy The Horse Essay Contest” was held at our house. After a breakfast of juice, bacon and apple pancakes, Daniella, Cristiana, Irene and I all read stories we had written about Jimmy the Horse. (Under the category of everyone needs an editor, my invitations to this event should have said xxx Story Contest not Essay Contest.)
I read first, telling about Jimmy making his way to Vermont in search of mashed potatoes after hearing two girls on Long Island talk about the inn they have stayed in on ski trips where the mashed potatoes were spectacular. Jimmy arrived at the inn and found the two mashed potato-loving girls playing checkers. He was hungry and tired (having trotted and walked all the way from Long Island) and soon bit into and swallowed two of the red checkers. (What’s a horse to do when he’s inside and hungry and there is no visible grub around?)
The girls “were known to be generous and friendly,” the story said, suggesting they saved some of their mashed potatoes at dinner and gave them to Jimmy. How they did this was left unexplained. But “did they make a point of extending their sticky, white hands for good solid handshakes with both Grandma and Grandpa McCoy before going to bed?”
Cristiana, 11, was up next. Jimmy the Horse woke up on Thanksgiving and smelled turkey in the air. “Jimmy never saw or had turkey before so he was thrilled!” One thing led to another as they say and soon Jimmy had eaten all the turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and everything. “Jimmy ran out of the house looking innocent.”
When Grandpa saw all the food was gone, he was “horrified. Then he thought who can eat that much…: Jimmy!” After a little chit chat in the stable, Jimmy and Grandpa went to the kitchen and cooked and baked, “working their butts off” until they had, in the words of the author, “a new load.”
The meal was a success. “..there was food for everyone, including Jimmy.”
Daniella, 14, began her story with Jimmy the Horse a prisoner in jail being released for the Thanksgiving weekend. “His sister Jenna was waiting outside in her automobile. How horses can fit in an automobile is a question I don’t have the answer to. They’re just skilled I guess.”
They ran into heavy traffic because of the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade, and Jenna brought her brother up to date on what had been happening. “Sadly Jenna was the one who had to break the news that Trump the Turnip had won as President.” (Editor’s note: Atta girl!)
When they walked into Jenna’s kitchen, the oven was “on and burning who knows what, flour all over the counter...bowls waiting to be cleaned, measuring cups not measuring anything…egg shells not thrown out yet….” In other words, “the room looked as messy as his future!”
Jimmy gets to make a pie. Some pie. After mixing “7 cups of flour, 9 cups of sugar and 8 cups of cinnamon,” he started throwing in all sorts of things “such as jam, peanut butter, soda, wine, and best of all pickles.” The pie was ready “hours later” and Jimmy and Jenna headed for Aunt Jane’s house where the family had gathered, a family that included six cousins all with first names beginning with J.
When Jimmy’s mother saw him, she said, “There’s my little criminal.” (How warm and endearing is that?) During his two years in jail, Jimmy had nothing to eat but pineapples, so he was really enjoying the turkey and all the rest.
After cleaning up the dishes, the young people and Jimmy went downstairs to play Ping-Pong. “Balls were flying everywhere. Many hit his head, ear, eyes, nose and believe it or not, his rear end.” Jimmy lost the game 102 to 8.
Then it was back upstairs for dessert. “Everyone surprisingly loved the apple pie featuring some pickles.” (Editor’s note: Sure they did.) Soon a police car was heard outside, there to take him back to jail. Daniella closed her story with an official telling Jimmy the Horse, “You’re getting out for Christmas.” Jimmy smiled.
Irene’s story began: “Once upon a time, in a land controlled by a lying, cheating, and never-to-be trusted ruler, there lived a young boy and his closest friend, a small black colt.” Over the years the colt “turned into a magnificent stallion with a rippling coat of shiny black hair. All of which did not go unnoticed by their lying, cheating and never-to-be trusted master.”
This pig of a ruler schemed to take Jimmy for his own, prompting the boy to say goodbye to his father and leave with the horse, “joining a caravan of people, also silently leaving the village to rid themselves of their hated master.”
Soon the horse was renamed James. He provided rides to the weary as the people make their way to “a pleasant valley, far from the land they left.” The community thrived while the wretched ruler’s “empty land fell into disuse” as did “his once magnificent home” and the wicked man himself “withered away into a sorry scrap heap of nothingness.”
(Editor’s note: Leave it to a Hungarian to close a story on a bright, cheerful note.)
It was a fun breakfast. As each of us finished our story, the others applauded. I hope we can all write more stories next year about Jimmy the Horse. In the meantime, this grandpa hopes to play a lot of Ping-Pong with, in Cristiana’s words, “his AMAZING grandkids.”