Mrs. Brown’s Horse Sense

When Ehris and Mic were little, I had a framed index card on my desk. On the card was a short typed quotation from the film, National Velvet, which is not a simple movie about a horse-crazy tween. It’s not a kiddie horse-tale. The book/film is about family, and about will and desire. It’s about dreams – big and small, wise and foolish, realized and impossible – and about the way dreams change those who are lucky (or brave) enough to dream them.

Much of what I learned about being a mother came from from National Velvet’s Araminty Brown, Velvet’s very wise mother. It’s the attic scene – one of the sweetest scenes ever filmed – that always makes the tears collect, fall, and slide from my eyes. Mrs. Brown takes out the 100 gold sovereign coins she won for swimming the English Channel as a teenager, and gives them to Velvet to use as the entry fee for the Grand National. There were many, many times the family could have used that money, but Mrs. Brown was saving it for a dream as big as her own once was. She tells Velvet, “I, too, believe that everyone should have a chance at a breathtaking piece of folly once in his life.”

It was at least twenty years ago, long before Google and the internet, that I played that attic scene on our VCR and rewound the VHS tape over and over again, scribbling the lines on a yellow legal pad, until I had the text for my index card. I still know it by heart:

“Things come suitable to the time, Velvet. Enjoy each thing, forget it, and go on to the next. There’s a time for everything. A time for having a horse in the Grand National, being in love, having children. Yes, even for dying. All in proper order at the proper time.”

All things come to their logical ends. This allows another cycle, or season, or year, to begin – whether it be a job, a home, grief, a way of life, or even life itself. It’s important to allow things to end at their proper time, while also looking forward with anticipation to what’s coming next.

Mrs. Brown lets Velvet chase her destiny.

In 2017, chase your destiny, and perhaps it will be the year for your own “breathtaking piece of folly.”

~ Velya Jancz-Urban

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