Monday, December 06, 2010

Green Creek Hounds December Hunt

Nice hunt in the nippy weather yesterday. Stayed in the woods most of the time out of the wind. Of course, near the end Tot couldn't resist and took the hounds in on foot in an area we can't take the horses. The rest of us sat out in the open where the wind was fierce. The pack hit on a red, screamed around for quite awhile, we were warmed by the awesome music and called it a day. I had a great time hunting the hounds, but we're all looking forward to when Tot is 100% again and is back on his horse. :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Honor Veterans -The Symbol

This is a piece I wrote some years ago to honor a veteran who never spoke about his service.

The Symbol

Every Veteran’s Day I hang the flag that draped my stepfather’s coffin, every year except for one. That year I did not look forward to the holiday as I had in the past. I did not hang the flag, for I had hung it on the front porch on September 11th of the preceding year and had yet to take it down.
That September 11th was a nightmare of a day, and my heart ached as I watched the flag unfurl in the breeze. The reason I hung the flag was sad. The reason I owned it was sad. They both dealt with death. The flag hung through a complete cycle of the seasons and throughout that year I would look out the window and see the flag twisted into a tight spiral. It seemed appropriate that Old Glory wound around upon itself since my feelings were also twisted tight within me.
There are no words for how I felt. It was as if my ability to express emotion was shattered in the explosions that shook our nation that September. I stared at the tangled flag and could not summon the energy needed to set it free. There was a void inside me. The internal essence of the United States of America, that treasured part of my identity, had been damaged and I was afraid. I grieved.
Then one day as I stared at the flag the wind changed and this special piece of cloth unfurled and snapped in the breeze as if irritated at having its independence stifled. In a wild, daring dance of red, white and blue it cavorted, made me grin in spite of my fear. I watched it and my heart relaxed, the pain eased. I smiled deep inside for the first time in months. You can’t kill a good idea, I realized.
The spirit of America is meant to be free, not twisted and confined. We are a people who dance upon the winds of our dreams. So today I will take a long moment to thank my stepfather for the flag that lay across his coffin. Then I will go outside, hang his flag, place my hand over my heart and saluted the vision that symbolizes our country. I will twirl around, synchronize my movements with those of Old Glory and I will celebrate the ones who released me from fear. They gave so much for me. The least I can do is honor Veteran’s Day for them.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

AT THE BIJOU: TOP FLITE ~ By Absolutely*Kate of Harbinger*33

AT THE BIJOU: TOP FLITE ~ By Absolutely*Kate of Harbinger*33

This tribute to her father is beautiful.

A Touch of Fall - Facebook (43) | Deborah Bundy

Facebook (43) | Deborah Bundy: "There's something about stepping outside as the sun is peeking over the hillside and feeling a nip in the air that makes a cup of hot tea, an old sweater, and a bit of writing seem like the perfect plan for the day."

Thursday, August 05, 2010

I have a friend

Who I haven't seen in quite awhile. He is one of those people who lights up a room, keeps a party going and hasn't missed a moment of living life to the fullest. While, I will never be able to experience things with the abandon he does, I have learned a valuable lesson from him. Live those childhood dreams, follow those adult wishes. Be happy. Thank you, Chip Anderson for fitting me in your life. I wish you were here so I could give you a hug.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A really good book.

"The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" by Steig Larrson. Read it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Reading and Riding Lesson

I read a blog this morning called Simply Wait and continued the good feeling started yesterday when I went riding with friends.

It was a sunny day in Gowensville, South Carolina, where Mother Nature is in full dress. The three of us were on a hunter pace and I was the leader, being on the longest legged horse.

In the beginning my horse, Rustic, kept pulling me up out of the saddle as if to say, "Let's go, look, the world is waiting for us." I told him over and over, "No, slow down. We're being cautious, learning patience, watching for slick spots. I don't want to wipe out."

The trails twisted through woods filled with the soft green of spring, crossed wooden bridges over fresh rain filled water. We cantered across green pastures, and, yes it felt like I was living in a bible verse.
Still, I kept saying, "Slow down, behave, mark the time, do it right." Every ride can teach us something and I was determined this thoroughbred would learn to listen, that he couldn't always have his way.

After an hour and twenty minutes we were near the end. My horse gave another half-hearted tug on the reins. This time I let him go. We galloped the last fifty yards. My ex-racer stretched out his stride and I widened my smile. It was the best part of the ride and over way too fast.

As I unsaddled and offered Rustic some water, it hit me, I was the one who learned something new. Rustic was relaxed now and I was energized. That had happened in the last fifty yards. Life is too short to hold back, follow your heart, end on a gallop.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Life is

Going up a mountain, to see what the world looks like from the top, then coming back down and living.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Good times have no boundaries

Went foxhunting in the "Low Country" of South Carolina yesterday. Saw alligators, cranes, an armadillo, but no foxes! The hunt was on a rice plantation and we rode along the edge of a marsh, under towering oaks draped with Spanish moss. Airey Hall Plantation is beautiful and the hospitality was outstanding.

With riders in scarlet and black coats, horses shined to their brightest, and hounds weaving in and out of tall grass, it felt like stepping back in time. What kept hitting me were thoughts of the people who'd come before, the ones who lived in the big houses and the ones who worked in the fields, the different perspectives they would have of the sight.

Today was for equals. The hunt was led by two gentlemen, professional huntsmen, one a Master of the Green Creek Hounds. They are black men and I never really think of that, but here on this very Southern land, I did. It made me happy to know that everyone there enjoyed following the lead of these two men, in this most Southern area. I consider one of them a dear friend and he was where he deserved to be. Good fellowship and good times had no boundaries. Maybe, just maybe, Americans are realizing we are all created equal.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Mind at Sea

Went on a cruise last week with my daughter. As soon as the boat left the dock my mind set sail on a fantasy trip. What if, I thought, this boat were to be highjacked by pirates? Johnny Depp, perhaps, or his look alike leaping on board and taking me away to ... You can fill in the rest. :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gone Cruising

Be back in a week! Have a great one.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Brevity 32: Elane Johnson

Absolutely, stunning piece. One sentence can say so much. Go read.
Brevity 32: Elane Johnson

Friday, February 12, 2010

Painting Murder

This was how it always started. The familiar scent of paint, wet paper, compliments and then a jarring plea for help. Micha Mason lay a wash of blue and gray paint across the top of a sheet of cold-pressed paper, moving the sable bristles in soft curves creating a storm filled sky. Cindy Lowen stood permanent as a fire hydrant, waiting for her answer. Mica frowned, apprehension rounded her shoulders, tightened her grip on the paintbrush. “Hire a real investigator,” she said as she rinsed her brush.

The woman shook her head. “Daddy has an investigator, some creature who comes and goes, or so I hear. I want you to find out why. It’s like Daddy doesn’t want me involved.” She wobbled back and forth, her plump little feet spilling from the sides of her expensive red Italian heels.

“What about your brother?”

“Not talking to him either.”

Mica shrugged and looked down at her work. “I think I’ll stay right here and you need to leave. I can’t concentrate.”

The shapes of leafless trees appeared under her rapidly moving brush in the drying blue color. They faded into the glaze of cerulean giving the illusion of being in the far distance. Then she added a touch of alizarin, and ultramarine generating a hint of mountains. She felt the coolness of the painted sky on her skin, caught a slight whiff of fallen leaves, then realized the coolness was coming from the drafty window, and the smell from rotten garbage wafting up from the alley bins five stories below. She jammed the window closed with a palette knife, and stirred a bowl of potpourri that rested on the sill.

Mica concentrated on her work, steeling herself against the burn of her friend’s worried eyes, and then her heart cracked with compassion. Resolve fell into the crevice created and she carelessly dribbled water, like falling rain, onto the painting in front of her.

“If your Dad really needs help.” Her mind reacted like a cut to turpentine as words emerged from her mouth. She slapped a hand across her lips, too late to stop the unleashed words.

“Please go. I trust you. I wouldn’t ask if Daddy wasn’t acting like a man with a mess of bad moonshine.”

Mica knew when Cindy lapsed into her mountain dialect she was worried. She looked at her artwork searching for an answer. Rivulets of water ran like tears down from the beautiful mist-shrouded mountains she’d created. She frowned, turned the ruined painting over on the table, then looked up and smiled gently at her friend. Someone was going to die.

“Maybe I better go,” she said as her mind switched from the creative right side to the analytical left

Friday, February 05, 2010

Hunters in the Mist

Hunters in the Mist

Melissa Myer didn’t give much thought to the new foxhunting fixture, nor listen to the Master’s words of caution, the need to stay with the group. Today, her mind focused instead on her new mount, a young, bright chestnut horse. He floated above the ground when he moved. His gaits felt magical and she relished the promise of being transported into another realm when on his back. The group of fellow riders barely registered on her radar.

This was her first mistake.

They, about thirty horses and riders and twenty couple of hounds, started early from the trailers, and before Melissa had time to get her bearings, what with the new horse and all, she found herself in an old, “trees with roots big enough to hide Hobbits” unfamiliar forest. There was something slightly off center about the area. A spurt of fear ran up her spine like an adrenalin injection. She attributed it to the antics of her inexperienced thoroughbred and the fact that she’d stayed up way to late reading The Lord of The Rings for the umpteenth time. Her horse, Runaway Joe, three months off the track, danced.

As the hounds and the riders trotted deeper into the woods, Runaway Joe developed a sudden talent for spinning in circles.

Out of the corner of her eye Melissa watched the horse in front of her disappear around a bend and then her attention whipped back to the thousand pounds of whirling dervish beneath her.

The horse showed no signs of tiring of his new game and though Melissa was an excellent rider, his antics made her dizzy. The sound of the huntsman’s horn faded in the distance, hardly audible over the blowing and stomping of her mount. She began to worry.

Damn, it would be nice if someone had hung around. A new horse, all alone, in unfamiliar surroundings was asking for trouble. Buck up, she told herself and reached down deep in her muscles for some hidden strength. She needed to stop Joe’s pirouettes, before she threw up.

The horse snorted, slid sideways and then at the persistent urging of her quiet hands and calm voice, came to a trembling halt.

Once she had Joe standing still, though ready to bolt at any moment, Melissa let out and sucked in a deep breath. They moved around the bend. The road forked ahead of her and the hard packed earth gave no clue as to which path the hunt had taken. Last, in the long line of horses when they left the trailers this morning, so that Joe would not be tempted to kick a hound or another horse, she’d been doing the right thing. It was absolutely taboo for a hunt horse to kick, especially kick a hound, and she knew better than to put Joe up front. That thought did little to assuage her feelings of stupidity for not listening to the Master’s warning.

She had no idea where she was or where the rest of the field of hunters had gone. Used to riding up front with those who liked to race and chase, Melissa always had the hounds, huntsman, or at least the sound of the horn in her reach to show her the way, but not today. In front, the sound of pounding hooves and snorting of over-excited horses closing in tried the patience of even the most seasoned hunt horse. Joe had a hard enough time handling the slower paced group of non-jumpers, know as hilltoppers, and would probably have dumped her if she had pressed him to handle the first flight, those that jumped and moved at a sometimes eye-tearing pace.

Running a finger under the chin strap of her velvet-covered helmet, Melissa shook her head. Nothing to do now but pick a trail and hope it was the right one. She’d catch up soon enough. Joe moved forward with a gentle nudge of her calves against his heaving sides.

No runaway now, he took a hesitant step, flicked one pricked ear in her direction as if asking if this was what she wanted. She clucked softly and urged him to move on.

Soon, he picked up his normal long-strided walk, stretched out his neck and lowered his head. A deep rib-widening sigh lifted Melissa in the saddle and she grinned, felt the black woven straps of her helmet bridge the dimples in her cheeks. She echoed the sigh. It signaled to her Joe had decided that this wasn’t so bad after all and she wanted to assure him she agreed. At this pace it would be doubtful they would catch up to the hunt field, but the forest, quiet and enclosing like a deep green comforter, made for a pleasant trail ride.

The belief that most horses, if given their head, will find their way back to the barn or trailer, is well known among riders. Melissa decided to give it a try. Her Timex sports-watch told her she had at least twelve hours before darkness. That should be plenty of time for Runaway Joe to find their way out of here. She looped the reins, or as she told her students, let a horse have a little room between your hands and his mouth.

“Okay, Joe, you pick which way to go.” The horse took the left fork.

They crested a hill and a mountain, vague as a long ago dream, appeared in the far distance. Melissa spied movement in the distance. Hounds in shades of black, tan and white weaving a tapestry through a green canvas of old forest, and a stream of horses, steam rising from their backs, shrouding their riders in capes of gray. She squinted and then rode toward them.

This was her second mistake.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Things Happen when my Husband Isn't Here.

Okay, so it's raining. No big deal, right? Wrong.

Went to feed horses, got them in and all cozy and hopped on the Gator to take hay to the run-in shed. Had my rain hat on, gonna make a quick dash. Shouldn't get too wet. Then, what do I see? A snow drift blocking my way! I live in the South, we aren't supposed to have snow drifts. My husband is out of town, everything happens when he's gone, so I'm getting a sneaky suspicion he's conspiring with the Gods. He wants me to miss him.

This drift is from all the snow sliding off the barn roof. Hmm, I say. I won't let this stop me. Revving the engine, I slam the Gator into 4-wheel, lock the differential, and gun it. Up we go on top of the snow and there we sit. It's stuck, it's pouring, and I'm screwed. If my dear Hubby were here, he's big and strong, he could push me out of the drift. But, like I said, he's gone, to sunny Florida no less.

I put the Gator in reverse. Wheels spin. Try forward, again. Nada. I step off into the drift. Ice water enters my shoes, pours down my neck from the roof. I use the manure shovel to dig out the tires. My husband could do this in two scoops. Me, it takes twenty. Try again. Nope. The belly of my mechanical beast is suspended on the mountain of white.

Frustration kicks in. I stomp the gas. Snow, ice and mud covers me from head to toe. I twist the steering wheel, try again. Now, manure joins the mess. I drag out mats, wedge them under tires, rock and roll the Gator. We move an inch. Okay, I'm missing my husband.

Soaking wet now, I lug the hay by hand out to the run-in shed. My dear husband always carries it there by hand. But, like I said, he's big and strong, and in FLORIDA.

Horses look over their stall doors, nice and cozy, but curious as to what the idiot is doing. I lose a shoe in the mud, find it and watch muck ooze out as I re-insert my foot. The Gator, I think, is watching me. It's motor idles, as I've left it running and in gear, hoping it would do something like leap off the drift. It sits, still as its Southern namesake, on the bank. Have you ever seen one of those things move? The ones with scales live in Florida, where my husband is.

Thirty minutes and ten pounds heavier from water soaked clothing I win! The Gator is free and back where it belongs. I feel like a champion.

When my husband calls tonight and asks about my day I will tell him this. I climbed a mountain, slogged through a swamp, wrestled a Gator. Things happen when you're away. I won't ask him how's Florida. He'll just say the sun's shining. I will tell him I miss him. After all the Gods are on his side.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Why I Write - Page 7 - Editor Unleashed Forums

My work is three up from the bottom on page seven of the "Why I write contest. I guess I was wrong on the voting. It doesn't start until after noon today.
Why I Write - Page 7 - Editor Unleashed Forums

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Feeding the Addiction-EditorUnleashed contest entry

Start voting February 1st. My piece is on page seven. You have to register to vote. My piece is on page seven. You have to register to vote. Sorry I can't seem to do an automatic link. Someday, I'll take a computer class. Ha.

Editor Unleashed contest-time to vote
Okay see it this works for the EditorUnleashed contest. My piece is "Feeding the Addiction"

Time to Vote on EditorsUnleashed

My piece is "Feeding the Addiction" on page seven of the "Why I Write" contest.

GO read and I hope you like it enough to give me some stars. :)

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Foal Watcher

The Foal Watcher

Like a person up from a sick bed for the first time in days, the mare stood on shaking legs. Sweat coated her body even though it was only twelve degrees outside. All that could be seen was two feet coated with a wet, slimy matter.

Sharon stood at her rear. “Come on Spectra, push,” she whispered.

The mare’s stomach muscles tensed. The straining muscles looked like tight steel bands around her sides. The foal did not emerge any further. It was premature and would not live. Sharon knew the manager’s main concern now was saving the mare.

“Get the chains,” Matty Wilson, the birthing expert, turned toward her.

Sharon could see the worry etched between Matty's eyebrows in two deep furrows. She could smell the fear coming from the mare.

Pulling on a shoulder length rubber glove Matty inserted her arm inside the mare and felt.

“The foal’s backwards," she said. "We’ve got to get it out. Spectra can’t take much more. Go get the chains.”

Sharon bit her lip. She knew this was part of being a foal watcher, but it didn’t make it easy. The two years she’d worked at the breeding farm had been like a lesson in growing up. She ran off and returned with two long lengths.

“Thanks.” Matty took the chain and reached once more inside the mare. “No change.”

They looked at each other exchanging sad, worried glances.

Matty wrapped the chain tightly around the foal’s protruding feet.

“Okay, let’s pull on three," she said. "One, two three.”

They strained backwards as if they were playing tug of war. The mare pulled against them. Loud, cracking sounds filled the air as the foal’s bones were stretched in ways nature never intended.

For three minutes they pulled and then slowly the body of the foal emerged. He was dead. The mare’s body visibly relaxed and then she began to move around nickering softly for her foal.
“Get it out of here.”

Sharon knew the sooner they got the dead foal out of the stall, the sooner the mare would forget. Tears stung her eyes. She hated it when something went wrong.

This is the beginning of a book.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Horse Lover

Horse Lover

“Get out of my way.” I shoved Silver Bullet aside and dumped her grain into the bucket. I held the halter and caressed her neck. Time was at a premium, but one had to be careful around horses.

The next thing I knew I was pinned to the side of the stall.

Dawn would arrive in a quarter hour. People would come. This was not my horse and I couldn’t be here when they arrived. But, I was too weak from not eating in three nights to escape.

The mare munched on sweet feed as I struggled. The thousand pound nightmare was not the least bit concerned that I couldn’t breathe and couldn’t move.

How ironic, my wild craving for horses would be the end of me. The other vampires would laugh, I thought, as the sun rose. My tombstone would read, Killed by a Silver Bullet.

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Hunt-An excerpt from Reflections From the Hot Zone

Dressed for success in a trim beige skirt, white starched shirt and sensible pumps, Sylvia entered the office of McCray, Snyder, Fieldstone, Chang and Mendez. She figured a firm with names like that on the door wouldn’t discriminate against anyone. This would be her sixth interview. At the first five, people were kind, but in the end turned her away. Over the phone they’d all sounded enthused, but when they met in person the job never seemed to fit. At least to them she didn’t fit. She thought any and all of them would be right up her alley.

This firm was for movers and shakers. Her spirits rose. She could move and shake with the best of them. Then her spirits fell. Her interview wasn’t with one of the politically inclusive names on the door, but, with a plain Mr. Jones, sitting behind a plain wood desk, looking plain bored.

“It’s a filing clerk position for God’s sake. Surely, I’m qualified for that?” Sylvia felt sweat break out under her arms.

“I’m sure you are. It’s just…” The man paused, looked around. “It’s a lot of bending up and down, lifting heavy law books. We’re looking for someone not quite so…” He seemed to catch himself. “I know at my age, and we look to be in the same generation,” he smiled, “the knees don’t work as well as they used to.” He abruptly shut her folder. “Anyway, we feel you’re over qualified. Sorry, it was nice meeting you.” He rose to his feet and held out his hand.

Sylvia stood up, shook his hand, walked numbly out of the room. Then she stopped. Her chest burned. The heat climbed. What was she doing? Pivoting on one sensible shoe, she marched back into his office. Shut the door.

“Mr. Jones?”

The man looked up. “Yes?”

“Before you turn me down, I think there’s a few things you should know. First, I really need a job.” Sylvia’s voice rustled like silk sheets. She ran a hand over her hip and then up her side.

Mr. Jones rose, in more ways than one, Sylvia was pleased to see. She quirked a finger. “Come here.” He moved around the desk. She sidled past him and sat in his chair. When he started toward her she shook her head. “Don’t move. I promise you’ll never forget what’s coming next.” Her tongue darted out, moistened her lips.

The man was practically panting. He began to tug at his tie.

Sylvia smiled. “I’ve had a chance to think about what you said, and I want you to know I’m disappointed.”

The man began to stutter. “But, but, I may have an opening…”

Sylvia raised a hand. “Oh, not about the job. The bending up and down, knees not working quite as well as they used to. I just wanted you to know I’m disappointed that you’re having those kind of problems. I’m afraid you’re under-qualified for what I have in mind. We may be from the same generation, but you’re way too far over the hill for me.” She sighed an, stood up. As she brushed past him, she felt him wilt.

Sylvia walked down the long marble hall and through the door into the late afternoon light. That interview went well she thought.

Friday, January 08, 2010

A Puppy in Need--A true story

One cold day, a foxhunt turned into a rescue mission for one very needy puppy. The history of this puppy’s life before this day is unknown. Abandoned and left to fend for himself, no one knows his owner’s reasoning for not taking him to a shelter or trying to find him a home. This is his story.
On the day in question, a Whipper-in (a person who helps with the hounds on a hunt) alerted the huntsman that a young, ribs showing, black and white puppy was hiding in a pile of trash near a busy road. The puppy appeared to be lost and in need of care. The huntsman, being a true foxhunter and dog lover, immediately asked the road whips to check on the situation.
Two drove to the site. One watched over the puppy, coaxing him out of the bushes with a breakfast bar, while the other raced home to get a crate, some water and dog kibble. Through skilled handling by these two people the puppy regained a bit of trust in humans and even managed to wag his tail. He allowed himself to be gently nestled in the crate. Once there, the road whip rushed him to the local vet for treatment.
Found to be severely dehydrated, starving and in need of extensive medical care, the doctors did what they could to stabilize him and then asked what should be done. The road whip and the huntsman’s natural instinct was to give him the chance he deserved and they accepted responsibility for the puppy’s hospital care.
This is not unusual behavior for foxhunters. Foxhunters are known to be caretakers of the land and its’ animals. They treat the wild as wild, respect the natural survival skills of wild creatures and work hard to preserve the open country and habitats of all animals. They also accept the responsibility of caring for domesticated creatures. Most foxhunters have an ark’s worth of adopted, rescued, and retired pets. The huntsman, being the epitome of a foxhunter, even volunteered to adopt this puppy when and if he became well enough to go to a forever home.
This puppy could have been ignored and left to suffer the lonely fate his previous owner had chosen for him. He needed so little, a gentle hand, food to fill a tummy, water, and he responded with trust and love when offered a helping hand by the hunt members. He showed he appreciated everything with a grateful wag and a gentle lick of his tongue.
Unfortunately, we will never know what a fine dog he might have become. Because of a road whip, a huntsman, a vet and others, this puppy, who suffered so much in his short life, knew the love of caring humans as he left this world. This is the end of his story but if this one small puppy could talk, I think he would say thank you to people like those who help one in need. He would tell us we are lucky to have people like them in our community. The puppy died two days after his rescue.

Best Blogs of 2009 – Mad Utopia

Another great writer's site
Best Blogs of 2009 – Mad Utopia |

This is a great writer's site. |