April 17

Dear Diary,
On Saturday morning, Aunt Katie took us out to the feed store to have a look around. Then she left Mama and Papa to do what they wanted while we went to see Jiminy Star.

Jiminy Star is a bay horse, that’s kind of a reddish brown with black legs and mane and tail. She has a black nose, too, with a white star right in the middle of her forehead. Aunt Katie whistled for her, and she came right away.

“Want to feed her an apple?” asked Aunt Katie, and of course I said yes! Jiminy Star sniffed and blew on my hand with her warm breath, then nibbled at the apple until she could get a good bite of it. Her nose was soft as velvet, except for a tickly whisker or two. And her eyes were dark with really long lashes. She just looked like a lady horse ought to.

“I can borrow a mare from my neighbor if you want to go riding, Dell,” said Aunt Katie. “We can take the trail by the riding school, they let me go there all the time.”

It wasn’t too long, Diary, until we were both saddled up and trotting through the field. I haven’t been on a horse very much, but I like it! You’re up so high, and you can see lots of things from there. We rode in circles around the field, just so I could remember how to sit and steer and go up and down in the saddle—they call it posting, Diary—then Aunt Katie took me on the trails through the woods. It wasn’t like the woods up the hill, all thick with fallen branches and underbrush, and just a narrow trail where you have to watch your feet every second. No, it was a woods for riding through, so everything was cleaned up and cleared away. The trail was wide. The trees were far apart and lots of light came down between them; there were little streams with shallow places for a horse to cross. I liked it a lot! Jiminy Star walked and trotted along like she was enjoying herself. Aunt Katie was riding a sorrel mare named Sugar Pie.

Sometimes we could see the riding school through the trees, its red brick stables and green pastures laid out with white bar jumps, with kids practicing in their black hats and riding coats. I liked watching them jump, but I wasn’t interested in trying it for myself!

After a good ride, we turned for home and Jiminy Star decided it was time for a gallop. Aunt Katie kept her back behind Sugar Pie until we hit the open meadows, then she moved aside and we both took off on our horses! It was like riding the wind, so fast and smooth, I felt like I could go on forever.

Papa and Mama met us at the house and we all went into Louisville to “museum row,” a part of town where there are lots of different kinds of museums. I liked the one about the Kentucky Derby, and Papa liked the one about Louisville Sluggers—which are baseball bats, Diary—because he got to see the world’s biggest bat and also take a couple swings in the batting cage.

But the best part was going on the steamboat Belle of Louisville! It’s a paddlewheel boat that’s nearly a hundred years old, and we got to ride it up and down the river and even eat dinner on it. Papa and Mama were a little unhappy about it at first—I think it was something to do with the cost—but I heard Aunt Katie say she had “connections” and had gotten tickets that way, so not to worry. Then they relaxed.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen my folks when they weren’t busy doing something, Diary. Leaning on the rail, huddled together, they looked like younger people to me. Happy ones, too. I was glad we came.

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