My Granddad, John J. Walker, bought “Sally” the Pinto pony that cousin Georgene is sittin’ on. Granddad Walker was a “Westerner” and he wanted his grandkids to know how to ride horseback. Cousin Jimmy Lee Osborn was the first to learn to ride Sally. Next was cousin Georgene. I was third in line with my two sisters following me onto the saddle Granddad had made, adjustable to our varied sizes. Sally was a perfect pony. We all loved her.
Three more cousin’s arrived several years later. One girl and two boys. I do not remember if they learned to ride Sally or not. Sally would have been an old and tired pony by then. Regardless, Sally did her job well with we older five cousins.
The photo above, of Georgene and Sally, was taken at El Rancho Pequeno, the ranch my father and younger brother owned on the Little Laramie River SW of Laramie. It was during WWII when Pop and his brother operated Plains Airways a Civilian Pilot Training Program flight school with bases at Cheyenne, Laramie and Ft. Morgan (Colorado). The photographer was Dick Goff who handled all the PR for Plains Airways back then.
El Rancho Pequeno was acquired to provide a retreat for some rest and relaxation. It was a great place for my parents to entertain business associates along with friends and family. I caught my first trout there as a younker and got acquainted with Sally as well.
Georgene was nearly four years older than me. She was born in 1937. Her biological father was apparently killed in an accident but left Georgene and her mom, “Muggs,” well off. Pop’s younger brother, Charles Willis “Bill” Walker, ever the opportunist, married Muggs and adopted Georgene. Her patronymic name remains lost to me. She was always “Cousin Georgene.” I loved her! Even with the age difference we remained close.
I remember when Georgene went away to college. She met Montie Ray Christian. I seem to recall it was instant love for them both much to the chagrin of Georgene’s “father.”
Love, is not to be denied. Georgene and Montie were soon proud parents of two beautiful daughters. Sherry Lee and Rae Jeanne were the bright lights. Sadly, Georgene would leave her beautiful family and earthly home for Heaven in 1964 after a long hard unsuccessful fight to overcome leukemia.
Montie would see his girls grow into fine young women until his own departure, to rejoin the love of his life in 2017, fifty-three years after Georgene’s passing.
RIP cousin! RIP Montie!