Copyright © Janice Tracy, Mississippi Memories

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Dad, the Birthday Boy - But on a Horse??

I have written and submitted this photograph for Smile for the Camera, 6th Edition.

What you see here is a photograph of my father on a horse – not a pony, but a full-sized horse WITH a saddle. The back of the picture says it was made at the old J. J. Porter place in rural Attala County, Mississippi, near the community of Sallis. J. J. Porter was his maternal grandfather. The writing on the back of the picture also states that my father was celebrating his first birthday….but on a horse??

Over the years, I have seen family photographs of children sitting on Shetland ponies, standing on the running board of a Model T, posed beside or in front of a another type car of long ago, sitting in a wagon pulled by a goat, standing beside a tractor, and yes, even sitting on a tractor. But this is the one and only picture I have ever seen of a small child sitting on a full-size horse!

Now back to the picture. First, “smile for the camera” must not have yet been understood by my father when he was one. He is not smiling. In fact, he appears to have been very reluctant to sit on the horse in the first place, and is probably quite afraid of his predicament. His eyes appear closed….was it the sun, or was it just time for a quick nap?

A one-year old sitting on a horse must have thought he would never see his parents’ safe arms again. Was someone holding onto him, possibly behind the horse? I certainly hope that was the case, although I am unable to make that determination from this picture. And what WAS he wearing? Something all white, including the coat and the cap, it appears. It must have been his Sunday clothes, but maybe he had been christened on his first birthday….unlikely, although possible.

But I am still wondering…..was a horse, a car, a tractor, and a wagon pulled by a goat all “accepted” as normal places for photographing children “way back when?” Or was it common practice only in rural areas?

Maybe someone who reads this post can enlighten me.

1 comment:

  1. The perfect photograph for this "Smile For The Camera."

    From the photographs I've seen, sitting a child on all of the above was a pretty common practice everywhere, not just in rural areas.

    Lidian of "The Virtual Dime Museum" posted children and a goat cart in Brooklyn, although Brooklyn was pretty wide open at the time her photograph was taken.

    On Shades of the Departed I reviewed a portrait photograph book of children and ponies and they were everywhere.

    Welcome to the Genea-Bloggers BTW!