Thursday, November 18, 2021

First Times by Nancy M Bell


To learn more about Nancy's books click on the cover above.

First times and last times. If we knew we were going to do something for the last time, would we do anything differently? 

As I approach my 65th birthday- dear heavens how did I ever get that old?-  I start to remember all the firsts in my life. 

I remember the  first time I rode a horse a Bowmanville Zoo. I was very young, but I can still remember the feel of the horse moving under me, and see the sunlight through the trees on the brown earth between his ears. I remember the last time I rode. It was in 2006, a year to the day after my accident that effectively ended my riding career. It felt good and it felt right and I never thought it would be the last time I threw a leg over a horse. Actually, that day it was more like I crawled unto her back, but that's a moot point. Had I known it was the last time, would I have put up with the pain and ridden her longer, held onto that joy. Held unto that magical connection between horse and rider when it seems like I see through her eyes and we think together. 

I don't know. Perhaps some day I will have the joy of sitting on a horse again, I hold onto that thought, it helps balance me and keep my sane. 

I think every girl remembers her first kiss. That special step from childhood into young adulthood, although we don't realize it at the time. I remember the date of course. August 15th, 1970. It was the summer I'd just graduated from grade school and looking back it was the last summer of my childhood. We had a cottage on Davis Lake in Haliburton County in Ontario. My heart still goes there in memory to visit. There were four of us girls, my sister, Elaine my friend, and Abby who worked at the little store at the end of the lake. And of course there were four boys. Local brothers and their cousin who lived on the Buller Road. Doug was my first boyfriend, and the first boy I ever kissed. At the top of our cottage driveway, under the maples in the magic darkness that lies under the canopy of trees. I took the first step into womanhood, although that transition was still years away. I guess a corner of every girl's heart will always hold a special place for that boy who gave her that first kiss.

For me,  my first horse was a huge milestone in my life. Horses are, and always have been a huge part of who I am. Brandy was my first and even knowing how and when it would end, I wouldn't change a single thing. He was my rock and my safe place as I manouevered through the uncertain waters of being a teenager in the 1970's. 

So many firsts, and so many last times. The last time I spoke to my dad, the night before he died. The last time I saw his face. It's been 13 years and it still brings tears to my eyes. 

Life is a  journey, full of firsts and lasts, I guess the best we can do is ride the joy of the peaks and persevere through the valleys of uncertainty. November always seems to be a month of introspection for me. This year is no different. On November 11 I think of my grandfather who lived with us when I was young. Shaving and picking shrapnel out of his face and neck years after the war was ended. He taught me so much and most of all to honour all life. When I was really young he showed my how to catch a bee in a kleenex and set if free when it was trapped on the window pane frantically trying to get out. That memory has stuck with me my whole life.

Wishing you joy and peace as the days draw in and we wait to turn our faces to the light at Winter Solstice. The magic mid-winter night when the after the longest night that light pushes back the dark once more.

Until next month, be well, be happy. 












  1. Lovely pictures. I'm not sure I remember my first kiss but I do remember the first one my husband gave me.

    1. Hi Janet, I remember the first one my husband gave me too. On my 19th birthday, at a wedding where he was an usher and I caught the bouquet. Poor guy didn't have a chance LOL

  2. What a great way to remember. Firsts and lasts. Something to keep in mind. We should live each moment as if it were the last, while planning to live forever. Thanks for sharing.


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