I want to introduce you to someone.
Her name is Ruth.
She is an artist. She is a teacher. She is a student of beautiful.
When Ruth asked for short stories to which she could add illustration I jumped.
Both hands shooting up in the air...
"ME! I have one! Pick mine!!"
My story is a summertime story about my mamma when she was a wee lass. Ruth's illustration takes that warm feeling of a summer day and slathers it with honey.
Warm and sweet.
I hope you enjoy my story and Ruth's beautiful illustration.
Please do yourself a favor and run, leap, cartwheel over to Ruth's house to see more of her work.
Ruth Meharg...Artist, Illustrator and Lover of Beauty
She couldn’t have been more than nine. Just a little slip of a thing
with chocolate braids and scuffed knees. We cannot know for sure if she
was sweet but her pictures show her smilingly cute. It is probably safe
to assume a certain measure of sugar as all the little bees came
Her family loved to camp. Yosemite was the place to be in 1940. Bring
the family to the wilds of nature. Lots of families joined in.
Campfires and hiking and fishing and swimming. And pony rides.
had the money. She didn’t. Her daddy was a preacher and with the title
came nothing. No big salary. If you were a traveling preacher you got
your dinner provided after meeting. Maybe a bag of apples to take home.
Always there was enough food but not much else.
Poor for the Lord. Nothing extra. Certainly not pony rides.
She never even asked. It was enough for her to watch the ponies. She
would lean on the fence and smile and wave as each pony clopped by her.
She didn’t wave to the riders. Not because she was jealous. No, the
riders didn’t even matter. All she could see were the ponies. She waved
to them and smiled friendship smiles into their beautiful faces. Every
so often a pony would toss his head and she felt honored by his
acknowledgement of her. His soft eyes would reflect her admiration. Her
heart would swell again with every pass. They shared that bond that
little girls and ponies share. They understood each other. Friendship
and devotion. And that was enough.
Sometimes she would see an empty saddle and there is where she would
dream. She’d sigh as she watched that pony trot all the way around the
circle. This was her ride. Her time to believe all the little girl
longings for freedom. She could imagine the wind in her hair as she
floated through the air on her noble steed. She knew without a doubt
that life was best when lived atop a pony. She would watch and hardly
dare to blink. And she would smile and sigh again.
If given the chance, she would stand this way for hours. Her friends
always knew where to find her. They looked for her there when their camp
chores were done and it was time to play. They liked playing with her.
She was quick to smile and always ready for a laugh. Not too prissy. One
of the boys except for the braids. She could climb trees quicker than a
squirrel. Probably because she was so little. She could skip rocks and
catch bugs. And she could belch. Oh, she was fun.
The boys would gather round her as she stood beside the pony pen. She
would grin at them as they ran up with their dust cloud billowing
around them. She enjoyed their rowdy camaraderie. A few more minutes,
boys. Just a few more minutes. They knew that they could tease her away
but they didn’t usually have the heart. If they waited just a bit the
ride would shut down to give the ponies a rest and then she would
wholeheartedly join their camp games. So they did wait. All arms and
legs threaded through the bars of the fence. Shoelaces dangling while
feet swung back and forth and back and forth. One would inevitably sit
on top of the fence and would inevitably, but of course accidentally,
get pushed off. They would tussle and they would wait for her. She was
She had come to expect these gatherings. Wherever she was, she was
not alone for long. That pleased her. She liked sharing her happiness
with her friends. She knew they liked the ponies. Clapping and
whistling, the boys would take turns standing beside her to point out
their favorite pony or to giggle at some rider. A pleasant daily
It took her by surprise the day that no one came to join her beside her
ponies. She wondered where they had gotten to. Oh well. She missed them
but was quite content to stay right here.
They weren’t far away. Those boys. The thing she didn’t know was that
they were all gathered without her. Clustered back amongst the trees
just out of sight, they whispered as they offered up their grubby paws
and clinked their coins together in one happy little pile. They had been
planning this all morning long. Nobody knowing or caring who first had
thought the thought. They put together what each one had to please their
friend. Ten cents. All counted up. Just the right amount for one pony
ride. Exactly enough to bring a smile.
It must have been funny to see them trudging up behind her. Not one
boisterous group but a bashful line of fellows not quite sure what to do
with their grins. A tap on her shoulder startles her. She didn’t even
know they were there. She turns around a little puzzled but soon enough
she sees why they are acting all so strange. They give their gift
without a word and silently stand guard as she smiles and steps through
She remembered that gift for the rest of her life. Each time told
reliving the thoughtfulness of her sweet companions. They waved to her
from the fence. And hollered. And clapped. Her sweetness rubbing off on
them. Their sweetness impacting her, forever.
Honey in Hand by Ruth Meharg
Purchase this print and others in her shop.