By Lindsay Eckert
The snow had dotted the streets for hours, laying a sparkling blanket of white over my grandparents’ country landscape. The wind whispered a gentle cue to my Pap’s horses as he retrieved the sleigh from his barn. While he was preparing for a winter sleigh ride, and on his way to pick me up via horse-drawn sleigh, I was in my room preparing my Barbie for a near tragedy I never could’ve suspected for her.
It was a frigid day, and as my Barbie’s sole caretaker I made sure she was adequately equipped for the chilly outing, my 6-year-old hands dressed her in a pink snow suit, a hat and of course high heels. Although my mom vetoed my wearing dress-up high heels with my snow suit and bundles of long johns, at least one of us would be taking a sleigh ride in style. My Pap pulled up in my front yard, the reins guiding his horse were gripped by his glove-wrapped hands, which he later used to help me into the sleigh and my Barbie ... and my purse that only held Dr. Pepper ChapStick.
I grew up just three miles from my grandparents’ house and every snowy Saturday, my Pap took me on a horse-drawn tour of my three-mile radius world.
However, the cozy adventure took a catastrophic twist when my Barbie (and co-pilot) came up missing. A (more-than-slightly dramatic) scream provoked a panicked search through the route we had taken in the (at this point) not-so-wonderful winter wonderland.
Tears froze on my face almost as quickly as they hit my cheeks - looking back, it takes one heck of a guy to sincerely console a little kid over a lost Barbie when she has about 50 more at home and battle through frigid winds to search for a doll.
Just as my despair escalated to devastation I spotted my Barbie’s 1990s-neon snow suit glowing in the snow at the bottom of a driveway. I yelled in excitement, which spooked the horse, and just as we were approaching the driveway to make a movie-plot rescue, a garage door opened, a car backed out and brake lights illuminated the short distance between my Barbie being a pancake and being back in my arms.
Just as the car was about to back over the snow-soaked Barbie, my Pap leaped out of the sleigh, ran up the driveway, slid down the driveway, then ran back up the ice-coated driveway as he wildly waved his hands [when they weren’t saving him from falling face first on the frozen concrete] and yelled, “Stop!” at the car - all while the horse just stood there, probably in shock at his front-row show to “The Rescue.”
The car eased into a stop and the driver - who was just seconds from being dubbed, the Barbie slayer, - rolled down his window as my Pap pointed to the bottom of the driveway. Smiles and hand shakes were exchanged and my Pap swept my Barbie up on his way back to the sleigh, he handed her to me with a kiss on the forehead and confirmed his role as my hero, yet again.
Twenty years after “The Rescue” he still holds the title of hero in my eyes.
[friday] editor/ “The Rescue” witness