Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Old Man on the White Pony

It was late, around one-thirty in the morning when I realized how much I needed socks.  Naturally, it could not wait for morning.  The alternative was doing laundry.

I walked into the all-night store, past greeting cards.  It took all the will power I had to avoid reading them.  The slightest deviation could prove terminal to my sock quest.  Yet, secure in my conquest of temptation over Hallmark, something entirely different caught my attention.

The store like several others featured an automated pony; this one was white.  It took just one penny for a lower-middle class kid to feel like a millionaire.  But this was not the case.

An older man, looking at least in his seventies, placed a penny in the coin receptacle.  Having no shame he then jumped on it.  I had trouble believing it at first for not only did he ride; he rode with gusto.  He held the reigns, waving his arms wildly and screaming.  None of the employees took notice.

“He does this every week,” one said.  “I think he regrets not moving west.”

“That isn’t it at all,” another replied.  “His wife left him for a rhinestone cowboy.”

“That’s stupid!” the first retorted.

“You’re stupid!” interjected the second.

I didn’t stay to hear the rest of the argument.  Between them and the man on the pony yehawing at the top of his lungs I was getting a headache.  Also, a pair of Hanes comfort soles awaited me in their respective aisle.

After finding the right size and value I headed back.  The old man was dismounting the pony.  Curiosity getting the better of me I asked why he returned every week.

“I just like to ride,” he said, putting on a cowboy hat with the price tag attached.  He then walked out the door whistling an old west tune into the moonlight.  I never saw him again nor did the employees.


  1. What a great story! This post made me somewhat nostalgic, as I could see my papaw doing this! Also, out of curiousity, did he shoplift the hat? You mentioned the price tag being on it.

  2. Your comment below the comment box has never been more true, nor more scary than just now. As I was reading, smiling, wanting to jump onto a mechanical pony and ride, I saw... AH. Haynes comfort sole socks. I love those.

    And then it bothered me that you never saw the old man again and I wondered how come he didn't come back and did he die? STOP LAUGHING AT ME.

    I hate it when this happens. I gotta go do laundry now.

    Yeah, okay. Good story. I want a cowboy hat.

    1. I was playing on the Western theme of riding away into the sunset, or in this case moonlight. I sometimes get into endings like that. I'm a big fan of mystery.

  3. Great story, Ben. (I get stuck on greeting card aisles all the time.) My kids used to love those things and I recall taking a ride or two myself. ;-) xo

    1. I want to see you riding :-D

      But you seem to have a lot of space. You could probably have real horses!


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