When I was oh, eight or ten maybe (?) my dad and I were visiting my grandmother in Iowa for a week or so around the 4th of July. The town where she lived was having its version of Frontier Days - a Rendezvous had taken over the downtown square and surrounding streets.
For those of you not familiar with Rendezvous, they're sort of combination street fairs/flea market with people dressed in period clothing doing traditional tasks like weaving, carding, blacksmithing, etc., and selling their wares.
I was fascinated by the knife and ax throwing competitions, but what really had me loitering longingly was the pony ride. We'd been in town for a week, and while I had cousins around, I missed my pony. I was too big to ride these particular ponies - they were more of the Shetland variety - but still, they were cute, fuzzy, had that pony smell... The ride wasn't too busy, and the man working the ride let me rub their foreheads and scritch along their necks while they stood there waiting for paying customers. They wuffled my shirt, and I remember wishing I'd brought an apple or something along.
After my dad and grandmother had looked around enough, we all walked back to my grandmother's house a few blocks from from Main Street. But I couldn't stop thinking about those ponies. I was too big to ride them, and I didn't have any money anyway, but surely no one would mind if I walked back and just petted the ponies some more. I was old enough to walk to the grocery store alone, and the ponies weren't much farther than that. More importantly, no one had said I couldn't go back by myself...
I don't remember consciously thinking that it's better to beg forgiveness than ask permission, but it wouldn't surprise me if the thought crossed my mind.
After a quick check to make sure my dad and Gramma were still occupied inside, I slipped off the porch and down the street back to the pony ride.
When I got there the man was just rotating out the ponies for a new set, so without thinking twice I started helping. Oddly (in hindsight) he didn't say a word as I adjusted halters and loosened cinches on the group finishing their shift and brushed out manes and tales. I don't know how long it was before my dad appeared to retrieve me. I do remember that I was standing with my nose pressed into pony mane, rubbing the little bay's withers.
My dad apologized for me being a bother, and the man just shrugged.
"She was no trouble. Seemed to know not to get under their feet."
You know, I didn't even get in trouble. It was like my dad knew that those ponies were an irresistible magnet as far as I was concerned. Or maybe he was just so relieved that I hadn't been snatched off the street - although people didn't worry too much about that in those days... and besides, my folks always said any kidnappers that grabbed me would return me quick enough. In any case, he just told me to stay in the yard if I was going to be outside, and that was the end of it.
The pony ride wasn't there the next day, to my great disappointment.