She always called him her “Little Man,” but he wasn’t a little man, he was a warrior. A brave warrior, racing across the Great Plains with thundering herds of wild horses. Hundreds of mustang galloping as one. Nostrils flaring, legs pounding, manes flying in the hot desert air.
He was running right beside them. Grasping a handful of horsehair, he pulled himself up on the back of a feral male. Knees tight against its laboring chest, he rode the beast through blinding dust storms.
She laid a porcelain pony at his grave for him to ride on the other side.
In 1918, a Spanish Flu epidemic, mainly affecting children and young adults, was a global disaster. Navy and Marine military hospitals in major Florida cities alone reported nearly 800 deaths in a three-week period in October of that year. An estimated 20-40 million people died worldwide during the year-long pandemic, including approximately 675,000 Americans.
An old cemetery in Panama City, Oakland, is a seemingly forgotten garden. A small portion of the grounds, two narrow rows of small graves, appears to be devoted all to children. Most of the stones are missing names and dates, so it is unclear if this section was the final rest of those who died young, or if the unusual number of tiny graves was due to some tragic, pervasive illness.