I told Mother that the fresh sheets of dry wall lining our barn’s feed room didn’t reach all the way to the ceiling – things were figuring a way in. But the smooth gray panels looked fresh for a while, until the snakes, spiders and other critters snuck past.
Mother and I tried to make that room cozy. Saddles hung on wood racks; bridles draped neatly from brass horse heads that I won as trophies. We used the orange twine that held hay bales together to string dozens of my ribbons near the ceiling. Blue, red, yellow, white, pink, and green stood for first, second, third, four, fifth and sixth place. Multi-colored pendants stood for champion. Within the year, though, the crisp ribbons grew cobwebs and faded. We kept my trophies at the house. They had evolved from plastic gold statues of horses to coffee mugs to horse blankets to real sterling silver to checks that were quickly cashed.
Full essay published by the Dead Mule School of Southern Literature.