This weekend, I watched a four-year old ride my old rocking horse on springs and I thought what every old person does in these situations, “They don’t make ’em like they used it.”
I was referring, for course, to the toy. They make four-year olds exactly like they used to, which is why I’m shocked my old horse is still standing. Still smiling, really.
That poor horse has been woo-hooed and let’s go-ed and jounced up and down with unabashed glee for 54 years.
My mom and dad presented me with my rocking horse when I was three-years old. They had just brought me home from the hospital following a particularly virulent case of the flu during which I’d spent a couple of days hooked up to an IV.
The dates of my hospitalization might be familiar to Packer fans. I was admitted on Dec. 30, 1967 and, as my mom tells it, my dad developed a case of the gout from the stress of the situation and from standing over my hospital bed holding the IV line in place.
The next day he played in an historic football game with a gouty toe that became a numb foot thanks to some well-placed but hotly debated novacaine shots. The shots wore off during the fourth quarter of the Ice Bowl and my dad, Ron Kostelnik, was more relieved than anyone to get to the locker room following Bart Starr’s NFL championship-winning quarterback sneak.
The next day, as Packer fans revelled and Packer players recuperated, my dad and mom bought me the horse and then came to the hospital to bring me home.
In the years since, the horse has aged far better than its owner. You’ll find no frown lines on my horse, no extra saddle bags either. That horse is as lean and spry today as it was the day I received her.
She is not only happy to entertain today’s savvy little people, she is also still very capable of doing so. How great is that?
Listen, I am a firm believer in raising children for the world they’re going to live in. I appreciate electronics and I understand that a little tablet time is beneficial for everyone. I know kids need to exercise the brain they’re going to use in all sorts of ways we can’t even envision today.
But, they also need to develop their imaginations.
So, I have to take a moment to salute my stalwart steed and her little giggling gaucho.
Here’s to the horse I never named and to the childhood she represents and to all those years of joy she has brought generations of children.