I asked for a horse the Christmas I was four and was not fooled by the black and white wooden facsimile on springy-thingies I got instead. That was my first brush with heartbreak. I did not know to consider the children who got squat, and to be grateful.
My next heartbreak was when one of my older brothers told me there was no Santa, this the night before Christmas when I was six.
We lived in Laos when I was eight and I made a deal with my dad to pay for half the price of a horse if I saved up the other half. Fifty bucks was the going rate for riding horses in Laos, took me nearly a year to save the twenty-five. Found a horse and paid for it, we were supposed to pick it up in a week once it was saddle broken. That was a Sunday. The Sunday I was to take possession I awoke to the sound of machine-gun fire and the rumble of tanks running up and down the road in front of our house. There had been a coup. The fighting would rage for another year. I was not long for Laos and I never saw my horse again.