The Mackelprang Neighbors

I decided to take this story and give it it’s own home.

West of our house there were two homes. The Mackelprang brothers and their families. Don and his wife Lou had two daughters. They were older than us. The two Mackelprang sisters graduated from College and took teaching jobs in a small town in Eastern Utah. I don’t remember exactly all the details but my sister Sandra told me it was in the late fifties. There was a flu epidemic and both of these girls got very ill. One of the girls LouDon contracted Phenomena also and she died. Sandra said she also was very ill that year she was a Junior in High School. This must have been my first encounter with the loss of life. I did not know her very well. But I remember her as being a very nice looking young woman.

These two brothers were ranchers. They herded sheep and they had horses and some milk cows. They kept their stock in a coral west of Uncle Reids’ house. One of the horses name was Fairy Feet. She was black with a white blaze on her forehead and white stockings. I thought she was the most beautiful horse in the world. We would coax her over to the fence and give her sugar cubes and carrots.

The Mackelprangs had a wagon that they kept in the corral that looked like a trailer. It was called a sheep wagon. They would take it out to wherever the sheep were being kept and live in the wagon as they tended to the sheep. I remember sneaking into that wagon when it was in their corral and investigating. I remember being shocked that  coffee was there as one of the supplies. No one I knew drank coffee. I grew up very sheltered.

When I was about eleven or twelve, I used to go over to the Mackelprangs and beg to ride the horses. Finally Mr. Mackelprang let me ride Fairy Feet. He was very kind and indulgent of a silly young girl. I used to go over and beg and he would give me small jobs to do and then he would show me how to saddle up the horse and let me ride. At first I had to stay inside the corral but as he thought I had more experience he would let me take her out on the street and ride out west of town. I begged him to let me ride Fairy Feet in the 24thof July Parade but he said it was really hard to control a horse in that situation and he would not let me. I realize now that he was right and I was not experienced enough to handle a horse in a parade. But at the time I thought I could do anything. I had a pair of marching boots that belonged to my sister Kathryn, I used them as cowboy boots. Those were great days. I wanted cowboy boots for Christmas but never got them. I wanted a horse too but that never happened either.

When I was twelve I got Appendicitis and had to have an operation. I was in the hospital for about a week. When they released me from the hospital I had a hard time standing up straight. The doctor gave me a whole list of things I could not do until my incision was completely healed.  I started feeling better and energetic and wanted to get back to riding “my” horse. But Don said “NO” he said I could break open my incision. I begged but it was to no avail. He would not budge. That was the end of my horse riding days. I started Jr High and got involved in MIA and school activities. But I will  always have the treasured memories of the time I spent with Fairy Feet.

Years later when I returned to Cedar City as a young widow I went to visit Lou and Don. It was nice to see them again. I was Lou’s visiting teacher for a short time. She was always very gracious to me.