Mr. Chips was my beautiful little Palomino Shetland pony.
I’d always wanted a Shetland, ever since I could say “pony, mommy”. I finally got one right before I turned 30. Or he got me. It’s a very good thing I had 25 intervening years. I needed them to develop enough maturity to handle the supremely confident, totally entitled, force of nature that was Mr. Chips, Ambassador to The World.
I also needed to develop enough muscle strength to drag a Shetland off a sofa. Something I would not have been able to do at five years old. Grace drops things into our lives at unexpected intervals, and we start at the beginning, which in most cases, is: Ready or Not, Here I Come!
The vet estimated his age as 14 to 18 when I got him, and at 45 he was still trotting around his paddock, looking for interesting mischief.
For reasons that are unclear to me, I was unable to come up with a pseudonym for Mr. Chips. It’s his real name. In my mind, calling him another name would be akin to calling Martin Luther King; “Bill”, Ghandi; “Eric”, or Queen Elizabeth: “Betty”.
He was that imperious and charismatic. He wasn’t lovable in everyone’s eyes (ask Dave), but there was no denying his sheer magnetism. This was a pony that could have put Adolph Hitler in his place.
Because of him, my heart will always be a little cracked: he blasted his way in, and brought light and fresh air with him. He made me laugh, anointed me with affection, annoyed me copiously, and I forgave him every infraction. Possibly I encouraged a few.
If I were on the Miss Universe platform now (cough cough), giving my earnest speech about how I’d change the world if I won the title (Duh: World Peace), I’d say “and I will work to put a Shetland Pony in every home that is impoverished of humor and lightheartedness, that the world might become a happier, more peaceful place. “
(You may clap politely now.)
It would have the added benefit of stopping terrorism in its tracks (difficult to finish the bomb when the pony keeps making off with the clock parts) and upping the economy (carrot futures would soar) as well as fulfilling the pony-infested dreams of children everywhere.
Quite simply: Shetlands Rule.
Update: I found pictures that survived my house burning down!