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'Enough is Enough' and 'Stealing' Horse Carrots!

This is a Royal Doulton figurine I was given many years ago. It's called 'Flower of Love" and was hand-made and hand-decorated. It's dated 1991.

'Figurine' is one of the words we selected for this month's Uxbridge Writers' Circle writing challenge. The other words are: toll, absolutely, education, conversations.

There's a moral to the story too which I attempt to describe at the end.

Below the short story is a photo of Finch and Raven waiting for their 'stolen' horse carrots!

Enough is Enough


It had been too long. Too long since Mindy’s last vacation. She’d had enough of work, too much of taking care of her demanding and cranky father, and too little time for herself.

Her carry-on bag had caught her eye. It sat, playing 'innocent', on the floor of her closet, but it was as if it knew her desperation. She could have sworn it sidled a couple of inches towards her. She closed the closet door with a snap.

She knew the stress was taking a toll on her health. Her blood pressure was up, her cholesterol was high, and her medication had just been increased again, despite her youth.

Mindy was respected in her job as a problem solver, but the problem of her father was not solvable. It didn’t help matters that he had three large dogs, four cats, and three horses. She wished she could afford to get some help. Her father wouldn’t like it, but enough is enough.

She sat down on the bed—the one she’d slept in for her whole life—and reflected on how absolutely intolerable her position was. She’d dropped out of university because her father got sick, so she didn’t finish her education. She wanted to become a marine biologist. It sounded so exciting and surely would mean travel to exotic places. Mindy had good marks and had been on the path to graduation, but her father needed her to look after him. Unfortunately, because she lived at home while attending university, she found it impossible not to step up.

But he was a difficult man and demanded everything be done his way which often involved time-consuming steps which Mindy thought unnecessary. He wanted his shirts ironed when they could be taken straight out of the dryer and folded. It wasn’t as if he went anywhere.

She’d tried to start several conversations with her father about her discontent and her suggestions for change. He wouldn’t hear of any alteration in the daily routines. In fact, it was as if he hadn’t heard her. He showed no apparent interest in her well-being.

Mindy’s head hung but she managed to stop tears from erupting. She didn’t want to give in to self-pity. She gazed at the threadbare carpet, the dark floorboards surrounding it, the chipped paintwork on the baseboards, and at her bare feet which hadn’t enjoyed a pedicure in three years.

Her hands, with their short nails and dry skin, made her think of an older woman. A couple of small calluses had appeared on her palms, probably from the barn work. What a luxury it would be to have a manicure!

“Mindy!” her father bellowed. She’d heard that shout so many times—ever since her mother fell down the steep cellar stairs and lay lifeless on the concrete floor below.

Her father refused to go down to the cellar, and it wasn’t long after her mother’s death that he wouldn’t have been able to manage the stairs anyway. It was piled with boxes, probably damp and smelling musty by now. Abandoned.

“Coming.” She passed the cream-painted panel door that opened directly onto the top of the cellar stairs. It was quite dangerous if you didn’t know the layout, and you had to stretch inside to reach the light switch. It was dark, dank, and dismal down there, like a dungeon in a castle.

But, as she passed the door, she remembered why her mother had wanted to venture into the darkness. She’d inherited her mother’s, Mindy’s grandmother’s, collection of figurines. Her grandmother had been obsessed with them. She had glass-fronted cabinets lining her living room and dining room, packed with every figurine you could imagine, including some of the rarest Royal Doulton pieces.

Mindy didn’t care for them, but a glimmer of hope brightened her mood a little.

“Mindy, where’s my tea?”

“Coming.” Mindy rehearsed what she would say to her father as she made the tea.

She placed a mug on his side table and sat on the lumpy sofa. The dogs waddled over, and she stroked each of them in turn. They were overweight because her father shared all his meals with them and insisted that they each get three mugsful of kibble every day.


“What do you want? Jeopardy’s about to start.”

“Dad, would it be okay if I cleared out the cellar? I’m concerned there could be rats. The cats are too old and could get bitten if I take them down there.”

“Just get pest control.”

“But we might not need them. We can’t handle an added expense right now.”

“Why? Are you losing your job? Fired?”

“No. It’s just that everything has gone up and it’s harder to manage on my salary and your disability pension.”

“What’s down there? And what will you do with the stuff?”

“I won’t know until I find out what it is.”

“If you want the figurines, you should say that. I don’t want them.”

Mindy’s body slumped. He remembered.

But something about the tone of her father’s voice told her she should seize the moment.

“I’d like to sell them.”

“You would, would you? Your grandmother’s prized collection that she gathered over decades.”

“Yes.” Her hands trembled but she kept her voice steady.

“I see. And what would you do with the money?”

“Get someone to help with chores and cleaning. And go back to school.”

Her father looked directly into her eyes and said “Okay”.

She sat upright. She couldn’t believe what she’d heard. And there was a rare faint smile on his face.  

“I wondered how long it would take you to get a hold of your life. You fell apart when Lily died and lost your sense of purpose. Well, you’d better get down there and catalog those figurines. Jeopardy’s just started. Oh, and by the way, spend some of the money on a vacation. You deserve it.”

Vicky Earle Copyright 2024

My thoughts as I wrote this story:

We make assumptions about what other people are thinking and feeling, and how they perceive our actions. And sometimes we are wrong!

Mindy's father wanted her to make something of her life but he wished she would take the initiative herself.

The loss of her mother had affected Mindy more deeply than she recognized. She dropped out of school to care for her father because she didn't have the resilience to persevere with her studies. Her father made her life difficult, hoping that this would encourage her to pick up the pieces of her life.

What do you think?

'Stealing Horse Carrots'!

Finch and Raven (you can guess who is who!) are in a spare stall in our horse barn. They think they are about to 'steal' a horse carrot each. (I have a couple in my pocket).

It's a matter of principle: less carrots for the horses, more food for the most important animals on the farm, as far as they are concerned, that is!

I remember, in the early days of owning horses, I was grooming my wonderful Paint, Eagle Bullet (that's where the names of Meg's two retired horses came from (Meg Sheppard Mystery Series)), and I had a few carrots in my grooming box. I thought I was going batty because the carrots I thought I'd put there were nowhere to be seen. It took me a few grooming sessions to realize that Meg and Kara, the two lovely dogs we had at the time, were sneaking up to the box and stealing the carrots. I'm not convinced that dogs think they are delicious. As I said, it's a matter of principle!

What do you think?

Thank you for reading my post.

Please share.


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