I Love Horses
Growing up on the farm in my early years, I had a donkey. Stubborn little stink but smart enough to outwit me frequently. I could spend an entire day climbing a fence in order to mount him but just as I would throw my leg over his back he would slowly take one step to the other side. I’d climb down and push him back over but he would do it time and time again. I hate an animal that is smarter than me. Mama never had to worry about me as she watched out of the kitchen window because she knew his stubbornness would outlast mine.
This experience, surprisingly, fueled my passion for horses to the point that I had very little interest in anything else. Instead of dolls or perfume bottles, etc., I collected horse figures by the dozen. Except for a dime to go to the movies once a week all of the money I earned went to these little statues and books about horses. These books probably fueled my love of reading, which is almost excessive.
Every day, I would run a mile to a stable south of our house just to inhale that magnificent aroma which surrounds any horse operation. It would probably gag the average person but to me it was heaven scent and I always loved the first waft as I approached. I groomed, shoveled and hot walked as much as they would let me and felt privileged to do so. My parents were dead set against this but had a visit with the owner and they all decided I could be doing something a lot worse.
Through this affection I gained a very deep understanding of this very noble animal which benefited me as a trainer of horse and rider. I don’t know if they could feel, anywhere near, the depth of my feeling for them but I never failed to reverse any adverse treatment that was handed down to them. They have no voice to express pain so they have endured much cruelty at the hands of human beings. Fortunately, they have enough reasoning power, approximately that of a three-year-old child, to eventually understand kindness when it is offered to them. Dressage is the kindest, most understanding method of training in which the horse gladly participates with no fear in its eyes. They most willingly become our partners in this endeavor. To this day, I cannot abide racetracks, western events, etc., as their training methods are permission to further abuse one of God’s most gentle creatures. I have to fight back the tears while remembering all the wonderful horses that enhanced my life through the years. They taught me many of life’s lessons and I will remember every single one of them. The old adage, “There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man” was never truer than in my case.
There was Barrister. My beautiful, 17-hand, 1200 pound, macho stallion with the heart and gentleness of a lamb. Woody was small but had tremendous willingness and won several State championships. Little mare, Holly Hocks. Such a prissy, feminine girl who objected to putting her delicate feet into anything as nasty as a mud puddle. My beautiful Carillon who overcame terrible racetrack abuse to finally learn to trust again. Brandywine, who dumped me in a crowded stadium, I can laugh about it now. To this day, words can’t convey the affection I still feel for my dear school horses that taught hundreds of children and adults how to ride, with kindness, even though they had to endure the ineptness of all those beginner riders.
There isn’t enough time or space to mention all of the lovely horse friends I have known but someday I hope to see them again. Hopefully, grazing in Heaven’s green pastures and when I whistle they will all come to me once more. Running with tails flying once again for one more carrot.
Trophies and Plumbers
There are a lot of people out there right now who are trying to get a trophy. Especially if they are good in a certain sport or activity. Trophies are in. There are trophies for the Oscars, Emmy’s, Tony’s, Grammies and many more for different activities. This results in my trying to understand what all of the excitement is about. I don’t get it that these people spend so much time and effort just to try to prove that they did something better than anyone else at that time or place. So they are top of the hill until someone comes along and does it better. Some trophies are for a particular time. They may represent a single event that happens every year, such as Dancing with the Stars. Next year someone else may be better and last year’s trophy will be placed on a shelf to be dusted and shifted around until it is time to send it off to Good Will. Taylor Swift won seven trophies at the Country Music Awards a few days ago. She is so talented that she may win many more before someone steps up to challenge her. But just think about it. She has already won more trophies than anyone else in that category on the Country Music Awards show and she is still in her twenties. It makes me wonder what will she do with all those trophies? How will she feel when someone eventually replaces her? But I don’t envy her even though she will always have her memories plus the trophies that may be gathering dust on a shelf in a trophy room.
Sometimes they give you a trophy and then take it back. That’s what happened to Lance Armstrong. If you are yearning for a trophy and don’t want to do all the work involved to get one – there is an easy way. You can go to the Internet and for merely $5 they will send you a trophy that is engraved and they will ship it the same day. That is a good deal.
I remember that I was awarded a trophy for helping my Congregation. At the time I really was thrilled. Now it sits in a corner of a book case and I don’t even remember exactly what it was for. Trophies are classy and entertaining but there is just so much I want to say about them before it becomes boring. So much for trophies. Although you think that this is a story about trophies – it is also about plumbers. As you may have guessed I’m using trophies to try to spice up my story – about plumbers.
It began last Thursday morning. I was thinking about writing about trophies while dressing to go to a luncheon that I had been looking forward to. Bust just a few minutes before it was time to go to the luncheon, the toilet in my main bathroom wouldn’t flush. The handle went limp. Now I immediately forgot about trophies and started thinking about plumbers. Should I forget about lunch and stay at home to get plumbers Townsville to fix it? If I go to the luncheon that means I’ll probably have to stay home tomorrow and I won’t be able to join the mah jongg ladies because I’ll be sitting at home waiting for a plumber. Since I was already dressed and hungry – I drove to the luncheon. For a short time I forgot about trophies and plumbers and enjoyed lunch.
When I returned home the trophy paper I was writing left my thoughts and I concentrated on getting the toilet fixed. I called the first plumber I saw advertised in the phone book. Jackson the Plumber* advertises as being reasonable and promises to come fix the problem the same day. But they couldn’t come the same day because I called too late, so I made an appointment for Jackson to come the next day and he promised to be there before 7:00 p.m. Then I saw another ad. Courteous Plumbing* promised the same deal but he could come after 10:00 a.m. the next day. Then I called a friend who recommended that I call Thomas Plumbing.* To my surprise he was able to come that day, in about an hour. It turned out that he charged the same as the plumbers who advertised but he was able to fix it immediately. Naturally, I chose him. Thomas Plumbing arrived within an hour, fixed the toilet and I was pleased because he not only was efficient but now I had time to play mah jongg that very day.
After I paid him I thought, “this man should get a trophy for being so available when I needed him.” I offered him my trophy but he refused. He was happy with my check and he said he didn’t want a trophy. Truthfully, I thought he deserved one. But Thomas, the plumber is a smart man. He knows that money is better than trophies any day.
*Not plumbers real name.
Yesterday, as we readied to go outside to start enjoying the freedom of summer vacation, Mom admonished: don’t talk to strangers; stay together; watch out for your little brother; be home by supper time. That was yesterday, wasn’t it?
As we pulled on our sweaters off we went to explore the streets of San Francisco. That should tell you why we wore the sweaters as summertime in San Francisco wasn’t always very warm. There were some warm days that snuck in under the fog and yesterday was one of them. We soon shed out sweaters. We couldn’t decide whether to go to Fleisschaker Pool; Golden Gate Park; or the Civic Center. Usually the oldest kids chose and this day was no exception; they decided on Civic Center because it was going to be a very warm day and we wanted to wade and splash in the ponds.
It was only about three miles to the Civic Center from our house. We walked down Hayes Street. The Hayes Street Hill is well known today as a result of the Bay to Breakers Marathon held each year. As we walked down Hayes Street we had to pass Alamo Square which is a park that looks down on the “Painted Ladies” (old Victorians elegantly painted). Yesterday they were just old Victorians. Little did we know how famous they would become someday.
As we approached the Civic Center, by the way it was called that as it was the area where many Civic Buildings stood. For example: City Hall, the Superior and Municipal Courts and the San Francisco War Memorial Opera House was a stone’s throw away.
The main reason we wanted to go to the Civic Center is that it was a warm sunny day and there were fountains and ponds in the center of the area. Now, yesterday was Saturday, so it wasn’t busy. Our goal was to wade in and out of a couple of ponds and cool off. The trick to do that when the “cops” who were supposed to keep things orderly weren’t looking. It was nearly impossible to do that, but we managed some of the time.
After we got good and wet we sat in the sun and dried off before the walk back home in an effort to avoid a tongue lashing from Mom. The bad news was that our little brother Bert always blabbed even though we threatened to shove him under a street car the next time. I’ve often wondered when he realized we would never have shoved him under a street car. What we did do was try to leave him home and we succeeded much of the time.
Something I realized looking back to yesterday is the fact that the “Cops” knew we were in the ponds, running through the fountains, and they turned their heads. I’ve always thought they ultimately went to heaven. It is a huge memory I have carried with me always. How these City Cops turned their backs so some little City kids could play in the water on a warm summer day.