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Memories: Peas? No thanks. Horses? Yes, please.

My father is part of my earliest memory. He left when I was five and didn’t reappear until my mid-twenties. During his disappearance, he was busy fighting his personal demons: the effects of his stint as a Frogman in the Korean War, ensuing drug and alcohol addiction and manic depression.
 
He died in August of 2005 from complications of throat cancer. Although surgeons removed his larynx in 2001, I spoke to him about my memory before he lost his voice.  I was curious to know if what I remembered was accurate, because the details were so clear considering how young I was. 
 
In early fall, 1962, I was about twenty months old. My father asked me to eat my peas. I refused. When he asked me again, I made my disdain over peas very clear by sticking my tongue out at him. He made his disdain over my actions clear by spanking me.
      
I wailed and carried on for so long after the spanking that I was put in my room.  I sat in my little rocking chair with the spindle music box that played when I rocked. I climbed on my wooden toy box with the teddy bear painted on it so I could look out the window. I cried as I rocked.  I cried as I climbed on my toy box and I cried as I looked out the window.
    
My sobs softened when I was distracted by something out my window. Running across the backdrop of Northern Colorado blue sky was a Bay mare.  Running two feet from her side was her perfect, miniature self. My crying ended at the beauty of the sun shining across the mare and colts’ glossy coats as they wheeled towards the barn and out of my sight.
   
During our discussion of my first memory a few years before he died, my father confirmed that what I remembered was accurate.  I was about twenty months old. Our neighbor had a Bay mare that gave birth to a colt around that time. We joked that this was probably the start of my love affair with horses and proved I was a natural born smart ass.
 
More importantly, I learned this memory was upsetting to him as well. He said he gave me one swat on the butt for sticking my tongue out but I wailed and carried on as if he’d beat me.  He felt so horrible about my reaction that he vowed to never spank me again. And he didn’t.
 
Jules