Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Lesson 110: Christmas Ponies

Remember this Christmas commercial, Readers?  The above post was the 1987 version of the Budweiser commercial from Anheuser-Busch.  The images of those clydesdales pulling that sleigh through the snow are burned into my brain in part because of that memorable tune playing in the background.  That is one of the reasons I usually include pictures and music with my words.  There is just something magical about the combination of all three that makes a lasting impression if you get it right.  I don't always do that, but that is my aim.  Watch the above video for a little blast of nostalgia.

I can't give too much praise to Anheuser-Busch because they stole my favorite beer away from Latrobe, Pennsylvania.  They moved the making of my Rolling Rock to the dumb state of New Jersey.  Eloise is loyal and I like what I like.  And I prefer what I like to stay with me in my great state.  The best way to drink it is in little green bottles called ponies.  When you are done, they make killer bud vases.  This is what they look like in case you want to buy me a case.  If you look closely you will see the mention of Old Latrobe and the mystery number 33 on the back.  If you want something to really entertain you, look that one up on a search engine.  It will be even more fun if you are searching while drinking one.

All this talk of ponies and sleigh rides got me to thinking about my sleigh ride last weekend with my family.  It was really fun.  Below are some pictures of our experience.

This was last year's open sleigh on runners.  Erie had one heck of an early start to its winter last year and by mid December we already had ourselves a nice, thick snow base.

This is the "sleigh" we rode in this year---it's the Plan B if there isn't enough snow.  The Middle of Nowhere, PA did get a few inches (truly, don't ask me for directions because I still don't know where we were) making the ride picture pretty.

This is a picture of some scenery you drive past to get there.  The sleigh pulls you through a wooded loop, past a couple of ponds, and through hemlock trees with low lying branches.  When the sleigh bumps them everyone gets showered with snow.  It really is picturesque.
Sam could not resist the opportunity to sling a snowball.  Told you he was a southpaw.

 This is one of the horses.  Look at his size compared to Ellen.  The owner of the farm told us that the horse weighs 2,780 pounds.  Now that is a lot of horsepower!

The sleigh stopped at Santa's hidden workshop in the middle of the woods in The Middle of Nowhere, PA.  I got out to take a snapshot.  You can see a figure in the back of the sleigh who wanted to make sure she got the best seat on the return trip---Natalie.

This is a horse that lives on the farm where Sam goes to Pre School.  His name is Moses.  I couldn't resist a snapshot of him the other morning.  I hate to tell him that I really hate horses.  I am scared to death of them.  Of horses and roller coasters---Eloise is not a fan.

Now here is one horse-like creature that I adore.  Do you recognize him, Readers?  It's Nestor the Long Eared Donkey.  It is probably my all time favorite Christmas story.  You can catch it once in awhile airing on some cable or dish channel if you surf around. If you were a child of the 70's like I was, this type of animated character was popular then--the Rudolph type figures that moved in jerky steps and cried teardrops of real water.

In fact, here is one of Nestor crying those water droplet tears.  You'd be crying too if you saw this part.  The beginning is worse than Bambi, let me tell you that.  Nestor gets picked on by bullies in the barn because of his big ears.  His Momma protects him by telling him that he is kind and good and special.  Then somehow Momma and Nestor get locked out of the barn in a snowstorm and Momma covers Nestor with her body to protect him from the cold.  Nestor wakes the next morning only to find that his mother has died and sacrificed herself to save her son.  It's a killer, so have a box of Kleenex ready (and a pony bottle--those help, too).  Stick with the story because Nestor gets the most special job of all.  Watch the movie to find out.

I hope your last few days of preparation are going well and you found a five minute reprieve to read this story.  So what is the point of my lesson today?  It is this:  Find your Christmas pony--either pulling a sleigh, on a retro Christmas show, or in a tiny green bottle. I've experienced all three and they are all good.

Enjoy the anticipation of the good things to come,

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