By Ralphine Major

Another forgotten photo surfaced during my pandemic purging of files. It shows my brother and me in the seventies during our college days, the orange hats sporting our college colors.

Horseback riding became one of my favorite stress relievers after spending a day on campus at The University of Tennessee in Knoxville. Wayne had told me that riding was great exercise. I laughed—until I spent a day in the saddle. The farm girl in me could not wait to get home from school after walking around all day on paved streets and concrete sidewalks. Wayne always rode Penny, his beloved saddle mare he bought in Grainger County. He kept her more than 20 years until she had to be euthanized.

Old photos that spark thoughts of pre-pandemic life often bring a sense of joy, even comfort, in trying times. As 2020 ends and we look toward a new year, there is much to hope for in 2021: an end to COVID-19; a return to normal life even though it may be a new normal; fewer deaths from the virus; less demand on front-line workers; peace in our nation and around the world; less violence on our streets; a return to in-person school for students; and sharing special times with family and friends.

As we deal with these days of pandemic, I often think back to those long-ago familiar times. In my mind, I mount up to the smell of leather from the saddle; we ride on the trail in the woods or in the pasture lined with evergreen trees; and I enjoy the moment from the back of a horse, forgetting all the problems of a pandemic. Be safe! Happy New Year! In 2021, may you be blessed with good health and joyful times with loved ones.

Words of Faith: “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 (NIV)