What kind of friend…?
Once there was a young girl who had a very lonely existence. She had no real friends and her family was not close. This meant that she spent much of her time in her room alone, reading and dreaming. Her great love was her collection of china horses. She dreamed of having a real horse one day and would carefully arrange the horses on the home made shelves, made by her industrious great aunt with autumn forest wallpaper as a background. The shelves were rustic and she could almost believe that they looked like real horses in the woods. Some of the horses got broken in time, as the shelves were not very sturdy. Many legs and tails had glued on bits, but that made them all the more precious.
This little girl had one very good friend that she had met in grade 6. The happiest times for her was when she and her friend would cycle from her street in Montreal, all the way up the mountain to the very top. They would sneak into the stables of the horses that belonged to the Montreal Mounted Police and just sit there with the horses. She planned to get one of the horses for herself when it was retired from the police force. One day. Sometimes she would go alone to sit and dream in the dim warm quiet stables, but it was always better with her friend. Sometimes they would go to Blue Bonnets Race Track and sit and watch the horses training. This was probably a very unsafe place for two young teenage girls to be, but as no one knew they were there, no one told them that it was dangerous.
The two girls grew up. The young girl was so unhappy at home that in the end she had to leave. She knew that it might be a long time before she ever got back to her home and she also knew that she couldn’t take anything with her. She took her favourite horse, a golden one with white mane and tail over to her friend’s house and asked her to look after this horse for her. She asked her to keep it safe until she could come back for it. Then she went away.
The young girl travelled far and wide. She moved to 3 different countries and had adventures and even, when she was much older, had some wonderful horses of her own. Real horses. They had golden coats and long white manes and tails. One day this girl decided that it was time to go home. She had been away for over 30 years, so was no longer a young girl. She had lost track of her old friend and, though she tried and tried to find her, she never had been able to. Many people had left Montreal in those years and had scattered around the country and around the world.
One day, when she was back in Canada, she decided to have one last attempt to find her friend. She called a CBC radio announcer and dedicated a song to this long lost friend, whom, she said, she was missing and would love to find. A few days later, the radio announcer, Bill Richardson, called her and told her that he had found her friend, Janet.
A few weeks later, they were able to meet again. It was an emotional reunion and there was a lot to find out about each other’s lives. Much time had passed since those days of cycling up to the mountain in Montreal. They had both grown up. But, amazingly, they were still friends. And Janet brought a box with her. In the box was the golden china horse with a white mane and tail.
So the answer to the question “What Kind of Friend was She?” is…. the Best Friend. Thanks for keeping the faith and the horse Janet. The featured photo at the top of this post is that horse.