THE RED PONY

 

    John , Mary & Jill.jpg (26614 bytes)This picture of young John and his li'l sis Mary on Jill, their li'l red Shetland pony, just about says it all.  From their home near the then edge of town this trio did in fact for several years roam the meadows and farmlands of turn of the century Salinas.  And the marshes.  The ubiquitous wetlands.  He said there were so many frogs so everlastingly croaking by night that the general populace would probably spring bolt upright in bed wondering, "What is all that racket?" were they to stop.

 

    Jill was usually kept in a stable at a flour mill behind the Steinbeck place on Central Avenue, but she was at times stalled right there at the house.  And there it was, I believe, she one wintry day succumbed to what was then called "the strangles", just as did the pony, Gabilan, in his classic short story, The Red Pony.  And he was very emotionally abused by this, as was his eventual alter-ego, Jody Tiflin.

 

    Red Pony Ranch.JPG (160928 bytes)This tune is about John, Mary, and Jill, but when during Steinbeck Country performances Taelen reads excerpts from the book between verses, it is easy to see how John's realities transmogrified themselves into his fiction.  Always, incidents and characters in his work are very slice of life.  All the great ones do this, yet for a person who so supposedly wished to separate his private self from his work, as did John, that strikes me as humorous.  Except as he shaped personal experience (and colored it), I don't really think there was ever a big lot of "fiction" in Steinnie's writing.

 

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THE RED PONY

Larry Hosford

 

When I was young with a little red pony,

Me and my sister we'd ride her all 'round,

Through the wild oats, and on to the river,

Up, yes, and down every street in this town.

 

The little red pony's been gone it is so, since long, long ago,

I've seen it all from the heights up above, to the depths down below,

Yet the view of the world from her strong little back,

Was the finest that I've ever found,

Remembering the red pony me and my sister rode around.

 

Innocent bliss with the little red pony,

Off in the marshes, the sloughs, and the bogs,

Sweet serenades of the seabirds in concert,

Dissonant symphonies sung by the frogs.

 

The little red pony's been gone it is so, since long, long ago,

I've heard it all from the worst to the best of the virtuosos,

Yet the sound of the music that we never lacked,

Was the finest that I've ever found,

Remembering the red pony me and my sister rode around.

 

I learned of love with a little red pony,

Out in the bean fields and the meadows we crossed,

I learned of grief, of tears, and of sorrow,

All for the first friend that I ever lost.

 

The little red pony's been gone it is so, since long, long ago,

Gone with the lupines, and the mustard, and such, that we once used to know, 

Yet the scent of the wildflowers there by the track,

And the sound of the music that we never lacked,

And the view of the world from her strong little back,

Was the finest that I've ever found,

Remembering the red pony me and my sister rode around,

Remembering the red pony me and my sister rode around.

 

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