From the recording Horses on Wheels (Secret Gift)

Adapted from Ted Gup's A Secret Gift:
Just outside Canton, on a tumbledown farm,
lived Edith May—
one of a half dozen African Americans
to write to B Virdot
(the anonymous gift giver).
Her family was so poor
she couldn’t even afford a postage stamp
and so she begged the mailman
to post the letter for her—
which he did.
When she received the cash gift,
Edith May and her husband
piled their family
into their rickety old car
and drove into town.
The streets were brilliant with Christmas lights
and they ushered their daughter Felice
into a five-and-dime.
“My eyes bugged out—
I’d never seen anything like that before—
They took me back in that toy store
and said I could have my choice
between the horse on a board
that you pulled with a string
or a doll.
I chose the horse.”
It became her most prized possession.
She said, “I pulled that horse up and down the lane.”
And she continued to love ponies all her life.
Even today, in her 80s,
Felice has 15 Welsh ponies,
and she likes nothing better
than to ride in a horse-drawn cart.
A check from a stranger named B. Virdot
bought that little pony
and made such a memory possible.
It changed a life.


If wishes were horses on wheels
I’d pull on a string
And bring one home to me                     
There he would stand by my side                     
Wherever I go                                        
I know he’ll follow me                            
~       ~       ~
We will go out every day
To see what we find
I’ll pull him behind
As we wind along our way                       
If beggars and tinkers we meet
I’ll offer a ride
We’ll sit side by side
The saddle is wide
On the back of my horse on wheels                 
~       ~       ~
When I lay down to sleep              
He’ll steal away                             
To prance and to play                             
With dapples and greys on wheels
When sun hits the top of the tree
As the birds sing
I’ll pull on his string                              
And bring him home to me
~       ~       ~
Wishes are horses on wheels
I pull on a string
And bring a wish home to me
© 2012 Phillip Bimstein