When the weather finally catches up with the season, we usually lose a pony. It as sure a sign of spring as a crocus or tulip.

When the weather finally catches up with the season, we usually lose a pony. It is as sure a sign of spring as a crocus or tulip.

I emerged outside into the morning and birds were chirping. Across the street, a scruffy, white cat groomed itself under a tree.

Spring, oh, spring, how I've missed thee.

When the temperature gets like this, all of the grills in the neighborhood light up at once. And someone starts cutting his grass and won't stop until September.

I love when the trees sprout buds, and the air smells sweet. When someone has been outside, you can smell it on them. It is one of the best smells in the world.

And my daughters stink of it right now.

My wife, daughters and I soak up every ray of sunshine we can. My daughters, especially, will stay out until the sun sets, if we let them.

One evening, my daughter's evil laugh bellowed and bounced off the houses. She gloated because her sister and I were unable to find the pony she had hidden.

This was a game of hide the toy pony in the backyard. My 4-year-old and I were hunting ponies and having no luck finding the last of the four. Her older sister could not believe we couldn't find it.

"It's right in front of you," she said.

Her clues were terrible, by the way. "T," she kept repeating when we asked for a clue. "T."

We had no idea what that meant, and she finally let on that "T" was the first letter of the clue.

"Tree?" we asked.

"No," she replied, "not tree."

When we begged for the location, she said the "T" stood for "Thingy," as in: "I hid the pony in the thingy."

"You know, the hangy thingy ... for plants," she said.

"Oh, the hangy thing for plants, sure," I replied. "We already found that pony, like 10 minutes ago."

The sun was low, at eye level. My oldest made a visor with her hand and laughed. "Oops," she said. "I didn't see you find that one."

My 4-year-old lowered her brow and directed it at her sister.

If we already found the pony in the hanging basket, we asked, then where is the fourth pony? My oldest tapped her chin and looked around.

"I forget," she said. So, we started to look.

The sun was really low. My 4-year-old held her arms up high and played with her 40-foot shadow.

Across the neighborhood, the person who always is cutting his grass was cutting his grass.

We searched around the shed and swings. And we walked around each tree. The sun was gone, but the sky was pink.

Behind the far tree in the backyard, a yellow-haired pony waited. And the scruffy, white cat cut through the back of our yard and off into the night.

As we walked in, my youngest smelled my arm.

"You smell good, but stinky," she said.

Reach Dave at 330-580-8490 or david.manley@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @DaveManley