“1952: Life Magazine featured Jimmy, the roller-skating horse, in their back-feature “Miscellany” section. The nation fell in love.

JImmy, the Horse, stood-out from other horses, since his birth: all white, except for a most unusual dark “bib” on his chest, which Life Magazine aptly described as looking like a “baseball chest-protector”. Also, Jimmy had–get this–blue eyes.

What was Albert McAlexander of Carysville, Ohio, to do with a horse who looked like Jimmy? What does any parent think, in the 40’s & 50’s, when they have something of a potential side-show on their hands? McAlexander fretted about what to do with the four-legged darling. He quickly became fond of his keep, and did not wish to exploit or sell him.
Albert McAlexander of Carysville, Ohio, loved Jimmy. As a parent loves a child, really. He had little resources, Mr. McAlexander. Not a wealthy man.
Feeding a horse is costly. Feeding a horse nobody who deals in horses would want, other than perhaps a circus or side-show, or for meat. What, he wondered, was he to do?

He couldn’t abide handing him over to a butcher, or sell Jimmy to those horrible Circus-Animal Masters, who would come to town snooping for ‘treasures’ for their damnable side-shows. These parasites of humanity would come to rural towns, offering to relieve poor, struggling farmers of their “creature oddities”–to include any children who might be sufficiently disfigured or handicapped. These vile men and women who sought such creatures as Jimmy, were notoriously cruel and abusive. McAlexander would have none of it.

But he needed to make money to feed Jimmy, and the rest of his animals, not too mention his family. Then, a Miracle happened. Yessirree, Bob!

First, he discovered Jimmy was not quite like other horses he knew, not only in appearance. Jimmy would do uncanny impressions of people he’d see. When Mrs. McAlexander thought Ralph the cat was gone for good–(Ralph always strayed)–but returned home safely, Jimmy watched as Mrs. A dropped to her knees in prayer, praising G_d for kitty’s safe return.
Shortly thereafter, when Mr. Alexander was done working, and returned home, Jimmy the horse would do a little prance, whinny a bit, then drop to HIS knees, as if praising G_d for his return! Yes. I know…very curious, indeed.

Then, McAlexander noticed Jimmy’s unusual fascination of neighboring children, as they rolled past the McAlexander’s on roller-skates. Jimmy would stop what he was doing, and follow the rolling children making their way down the dirt road. The children thought it very amusing. McAlexander overheard the children remarking that they’d bet if Jimmy had rollerskates, he’d skate with them. Well. What a thought!

So, McAlexander fashioned some rollerskates, just for Jimmy the Horse.

It was awkward for about 5 minutes, and then Jimmy was off and on his own. A star was born.”


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