The Hobbyhorse
March 22nd, 2014

Elsewhere people turn to Miley Cyrus or Lady Gaga for sartorial inspiration; here in conservative Utah we have—or had, until just recently—a wooden hobbyhorse. For years the little fellow was a fixture in my neighborhood, always standing in the same spot but changing outfits according to the season. For instance, there was St. Valentine’s Day.

Followed by St. Patrick’s Day:

The Fourth of July:

Back to School:

And Halloween:

DSCF2369 - Version 2

Yikes! Come Christmas, the hobbyhorse would miraculously be transformed into a reindeer, complete with antlers and a red light bulb attached to his nose. Then would come a new year and still another series of costume changes.

However, last year wasn’t so great. Whoever was in charge of the hobbyhorse’s wardrobe seemed to lack a sense of style. The plot on which he stood was re-landscaped, and our little friend looked to be increasingly out of place. Was it just my imagination, or had a look of sadness come into the little fellow’s glass eyes? Gone were the adjoining swing set and the children who used to swing there. And then—oh, my!—gone missing was the little hobbyhorse!

Where has he gone to? I like to think he has wandered off in search of the previous owners of the house and their grandkids. I surely hope he finds them, and they him. Or perhaps he has lit out for the West Desert in search of other horses and is no longer a wooden horse but a real horse—like the Velveteen Rabbit, brought to life thanks to those of us who have cherished him lo these many years.

-Richard Menzies