As I read Larry Melsheimer’s article in the April 25 issue of the Elnora Post about his experiences as a young man growing up in Elnora, many fond memories of the Melsheimer family came to mind. Although I don’t remember much about his two older siblings, Larry and his younger brother, Melvin (who nearly everyone called ‘Melsh’) were both very personable and handsome young men who were well liked by everyone who knew them. Larry graduated from Elnora High in 1958, and Melvin was a classmate of mine in the Class of 1961. Their sister, Nina, was my date for both the Junior and Senior Proms. However, before high school and those two Proms, I experienced what could be considered a “random act of kindness” from the Melsheimer brothers long before the phrase was ever coined.
When I got to the part of Larry’s article about his family’s team of horses, Twilight and Stardust, I immediately thought of the day when Larry and Melvin rode their two horses from their farm south of Elnora to my grandparents’ (Jim & Alice Rench) home at the easternmost end of Main Street. I don’t remember my exact age, but I must have been no older than about 12. My grandparents’ house (having been torn down and replaced by another family many years ago), sat on a small hill that had some concrete steps (still there as of my last trip to Elnora) leading up to the front yard.
I was playing in the yard when Larry and Melvin rode up and asked me if I’d like to hop into the saddle and go for a ride with them. I was, of course, thrilled to accept. Because of my long-leg braces, the only way I could mount the horse without having to be lifted onto it was to get upon the front porch, have them hold one of the horses parallel to the edge of the porch and swing my leg over the saddle.
Details of the actual ride remain a little fuzzy in the cobwebs of my mind, but that it actually happened is forever imprinted in my memory. Whether they specifically set out to give me a ride or just saw me in the yard and thought it would be a good idea isn’t important. The fact that Larry and Melvin rode two miles or so from their house and did something nice for a “kid who didn’t get out much” is a gesture I’ll never forget.