“Bud and His Buddies”
Marion McGillivray continues her reminiscences about a very special, long-ago Christmas gift, a black Shetland pony named Bud.
Mischief played a large part in Bud’s working hours. He would be trotting along the road on his way home from school while the buggy’s occupants discussed the events of the day. Suddenly, a butterfly might dart in front of his nose, or a seagull or its shadow might swoop over him—whatever the instigation—in a flash, before the astonished driver could react, he would perform a 180 degree turn in the middle of the road and either head home or into the ditch. The only casualty in several of these episodes was the buggy where, after many seasons, steel braces had to reinforce its two wooden shafts.
Religious contacts did not seem to improve Bud. The two older boys drove him to Sunday School at Queen Hill followed by the rest of the family in their car. One Sunday afternoon, they encountered Mr. and Mrs. Kelly who were driving to St. Andrew’s Church. Mr. Kelly’s horse, never having seen a creature like Bud before, and no doubt thinking it was something from Jurassic park, took fright and bolted. The Kellys narrowly escaped injury. Meanwhile, Bud trotted nonchalantly on to church.
Nor was he only of interest to horses. One summer, the two brothers drove him via Hwy. 21 (which was then still gravel) to Tiverton to visit their grandparents for a few days. At the last corner East of Tiverton, Mr. Wes Farrell was ploughing with his team of horses. He stopped his team, climbed over the fence and gave the Shetland pony a thorough once-over, asking many questions. While in Tiverton, Bud undoubtedly gave many children their first pony ride.
One of the pleasures of being a senior citizen is recalling memories of days long gone—especially pleasant memories. But the added value of those days with Bud was in the lessons we learned: lessons in responsibility, in animal care, and in accepting setbacks as well as successes. But in retrospect, the greatest value of those days was the fostering of an abiding love for nature and animal life, especially that of creatures like Bud.
This article was originally written for the 1994 Bruce County Year Book and adapted by Bob Johnston