This I Believe

Peggy - Perry Hall, Maryland
Entered on May 31, 2006
Age Group: 65+

Being Well-Rounded is Over-Rated–This I Believe

“Do you still ride horses, Peggy?”

It was the tenth time I’d heard that question in the last hour. Frankly, I was amazed that my old classmates remembered me at all.

Fifty years ago I’d had an obsession. My goal was simple–to spend every spare moment with my beloved horse. When the 3:30 dismissal bell rang each day, I bolted from Parkville High School like a thoroughbred charges from the starting gate. It didn’t bother me when classmates predicted, “Peggy will probably marry a horse some day.”

Now, at my fiftieth reunion, few of the faces around me were familiar, though I did recognize some names–especially those of class officers and jocks. The enjoyed celebrity status.

My husband, John, and I found our seats at a table we were sharing with friends with whom I had kept in touch through the years. I opened a yearbook and began flipping through the pages. Below the pictures, were highlights of each student’s interests and accomplishments–clubs, sports, awards, talents, and other claims to fame. Some had entire paragraphs. Then there was my picture. Underneath, was the revelation, Thinks horses are the greatest. Probably out of desparation to fill space, the yearbook committee had resorted to including my favorite food–Loves chili con carne. It concluded with, A real nice person to know. And that was it. I was probably fortunate it didn’t read, Frequently smelled of horses in the mornings when she arrived at school, or Famous for trampling innocent people in the hallways at the end of the day.

Months before the reunion, I had received a questionnaire from the committee asking for a remembrance of my favorite high school activity. I racked my brain. I had plenty of horse-related memories from those days, but this was a struggle. Finally, I recalled an assembly where home economics students had to model an article of clothing they’d made in class. So I went with that, mostly because it was the only school activity I could remember. Also, it implied that I had a domestic side. I didn’t mention that I modeled my blouse with riding britches and boots, or that it fell apart the first time it was washed.

I was startled from my reverie when a hand gently touched my shoulder. “Could this be Peggy?”

I turned to see Bill, my old buddy from Spanish class.

“You look great!” he said, as I rose and we embraced. Now this was my idea of a reunion.

“So,” he said, looking around the room with raised eyebrows. “Donde esta atado su caballo?”

Thanks to three years of Spanish, I was able to answer intelligently. “My caballo es tied in the lobby, naturally.”

We laughed good-naturedly.

“By the way,” I said, “have you met my husband?”

I was grateful that John had accompanied me. It was good for people to see that he only has two legs.