Comprehensive School, for Frankie Mason was a real drag. He wasnt allowed to be himself, he was coerced into conforming to the expected reality of 1960`s, still suffering from the left overs of the 50`s Class system. But as the final bell of the day shrilled down each long and echoing corridor, Frankie`s heart soared! He fought his way to the exit door of the school, charged across the playing field, and through the town. Frankie dodged cars and buses, milk floats and dust carts.
With his satchel slung over his shoulder, he wound his way over the Railway Bridge, that spanned the North South Railway lines to the Big Smoke! He never stopped to look as the steam and smoke from passing Leviathans, clattered along rails, under the Bridge. Frankie was going home! He almost lost his footing, on the embedded old Tram Rails, still visible within the Cobble Sets, that made the road surfaces in this rigidly Parochial town.
Frankie had passed that unseen way marker of age, to become a teenager, his memories of riding with the Lone Ranger, were still clear, but he needed more, Frankie was waiting! But today, was not any day, no! Today was the day “IT” was due to arrive. His Uncle Charlie, was a horse dealer form the East coast, and had after a real ear bashing! Finally giving in to the barrage of requests from Frankie. Uncle Charlie had drove all the way from Bishop Auckland. The road was packed with trippers, and the flotsam and jetsom of the Travellers world all heading to Appleby in Westmorland, for the annual Horse Fair.
Frankie was out of breath! His heart was creaking with excitement and the rush! Would Uncle Charlie be there? Would he keep his promise?
Teenager as he was, and barely so, he turned into his street. The street was empty! Nothing! His heart sank into his boots, the expectation of youth, the belief of a promise? The tears welled in his eyes. Frankie`s pace slowed to a virtual stop, he felt so let down. As he wiped his eys with the sleeve of his tatty shirt, he was startled to hear a squeal of brakes! Turning round he gasped to see a large truck, stopped right beside him! The drivers window began to lower, then Frankie smiled as the wrinkled and tanned face of Uncle Charlie leant out, and he said, “ Whats up son? Thought I`d let you down?”
The truck rattled into life and began the slow climb upto Frankies home. Frankie, still shocked and feeling foolish, ran alongside the truck, a large and irepressable smile on his young face!
Uncle Charlie climbed out of the cab, walked to the rear of the truck, and began to lower the tailgate. From within, Frankie could hear the shuffling feet of something heavy and alive! His mother and father were now beside Frankie, chattering wildly over this crazy idea, about keeping a horse in the back yard!!
When the side gate finally came down, Frankie was first up the ramp! The inside was dark and smelled of horses, but standing in the far corner, a huge dollop of hay hanging from its mouth, was the most wonderful creature he had ever seen! “Is that ok son?” Uncle Charlie asked.
There was no reply. Both Frankies parents and his Uncle looked at each other, and Frankies father spoke first. “ Are we doin` the right thing?” Judging by the look on Frankies face, they agreed that they were.
“He`s a hill Cob, ready to ride, and he dont take much lookin` after lad!, feet like iron, and will carry `out!” Frankie stood stock still, oblivious to anything and anyone. he walked forward, and as he did, he could feel that surge of emotion, the burning sensation of love, that a human feels when confronted with a gift so wonderful. But the horse kept chewing. It then passed wind, and deposited a hot steaming pile on the floor of Uncle Charlies truck!