Pop-Pop loved all his horses. So did I. He had four of them in his barn next to the button shop. Levi, Lil Sug, Ladd & Lacey. My favorite was Levi. Granny would say "Darrrlin' you shouldn't have a favorite they all need lovin'", My reply "I'm your favorite and the other four all need lovin' so what's your point". Grannies reply "yes Darrrlin' but the other four don't know that" My reply "then let's not tell the other three".
Everyday in the late fall after the harvest Pop-Pop would saddle up the horses and then holler for Granny & me to get out to the barn. Granny always rode Lil Sug while Pop-Pop took turns riding either Ladd or Lacey. Me-I always rode Levi.
Pop-Pop would take the lead with me in the middle and Granny bringing up the rear. We'd always ride the same path. Down past Pop-Pops garden and then into the thick forest. This forest was always dark and always scary. I loved when we'd reach the edge and the light would come shining thru because I knew that soon we would be at Auntie Lucetta & Auntie Lucindas' house. And out of that forest. We always stopped at the Aunties to give the horses a rest and to visit. Both Auntie Lucinda & Auntie Lucetta would come running out their back screen door just as soon as we were close enough for them to hear us. Auntie Lucinda would hand me a nice cold bottle of Coke while Auntie Lucetta would start mixing up a batch of Manhattans. And we'd always sit in the screened in porch.
I always enjoyed listening to the four of them chatting away about the same things they had talked about only the day before. And I loved running around the porch then inside to the kitchen and sneaking a sip from the batch of Auntie Lucetta's Manhattans. Auntie Lucetta would always offer another Manhattan after they were thru with the second and Granny would always say "two's my limit Darrlin-you want another one Johnny?" I think Pop-Pop always wanted another one but just like Granny he'd always say "two's my limit Lucetta and we got to get headin' back home anyways". "why it's putinear time for supper". We'd hop back on the horses and start heading into the thick forest then back into the light and down past Pop-Pops garden and into the barn. Pop-Pop would unsaddle the horses and head into his button shop. Granny and I would head to the kitchen and start cooking supper. I'd always be peeling the potatoes and thinking about how much I loved riding Levi. And about how Pop-Pop loved all his horses and Auntie Lucetta's Manhattans.