Even Still

Even still I can not keep myself from being mesmerized by the rain.

The blessing is in the ‘even still.’ That is the AHA moment.

We have had so much rain as of late, but without a doubt every time it rains I find myself gazing out the window (if I can not get outside), swearing I can feel the moisture and smell the world outside. When the thunder rolls, I get a familiar warm feeling inside and I can literally feel myself smile, from the inside out. I can feel the power in it all, no matter how small the sprinkle of rain. How small I am and how grand the world is.

No matter what else is going on. All worries seem to wash away with the falling rain. It is taking that little moment to stop and clear your mind of everything but the sound and imagined feel of the rain. The moment will end itself and you can turn back around like new. Right as the rain. I had one of those moments today while at work in my office.

It is no secret to longer time readers that I have a thing for storms, despite all the apparent complaining I have been doing as of late about the rain.


Petrichor. Defined in the Oxford English Dictionary as “a pleasant, distinctive smell frequently accompanying the first rain after a long period of warm, dry weather in certain regions” or as “the earthy scent produced when rain falls on dry soil.

That smell. That rain smell really is something. Even rain on wet ground still has a distinct smell, just different than that of rain on dry ground. So strong and familiar. Paining memories and feelings in your soul that last.

Interestingly enough, I was talking with my Mamma on the phone earlier about the appreciation you have for things you do not get to see or experience all the time. How you might not get those same feelings you did if you had access to them all the time.

I think I do not agree with that. Maybe it is just my personality, but I think I would still feel the same. I have many ‘even still’ moments.

Even still, I am stopped dead in my tracks, utterly captivated, by every sunset and sunrise I am blessed to see. The uniqueness. The colors. The shapes. The dichotomy of the movement coupled with the blatant stillness. That they are there every single day for every living being on this earth whether or not you can see them.

Even still, all it takes is a minute with my animals for the world to feel right and peaceful. For me to feel and see light. Remember what IT is all about. It is amazing to me. Amazing grace. To see my Darcy dog smile at me and be her weird, unabashed self. To sit atop either of my dun horses and feel their breathing. Their strength of gentleness. Their trust and willingness. Their innocence and teachings. To know and feel that they are a blessing I am supposed to have.

 

Hippie dippie? Maybe. I will go get my Birkenstocks to wear with my wool socks. All kidding aside, these things I could never tire of, no matter how much I get of them. This I do not think is a surprise to most people that know me.

Tell me your ‘even still’ moments?

Walk in love, dear readers!

In other news, Lito and I ran into the trailer together on Sunday. All brave and confident. He turned his head to look at me and his expression all but said in plain English, “See, I can do this again, can we go somewhere and do something new?”

 

 

Show & Tell

Remember when you were a kid in elementary school and you had show and tell? I used to think (and still do actually) that was a pretty dang cool deal. Now I look back and wonder if I liked it so much because it shed another fresh light on the hearts of the people I saw every day. My kid brain would not have thought of it that way, but I think of it that way now and wonder.

I remember one certain show and tell when Pops agreed to bring Rosie, our Brittany (used to be known as a Brittany Spaniel) that we grew up with, to class for show and tell. I thought that was just the coolest thing in the world at the time. I do not think anyone had brought a dog to show and tell before and certainly not one that their father had hunted with.

Pops must have liked show and tell too because he tries to get my nephew to take dragon flies we find at the farm to school for show and tell.

Today feels a little bit like a show and tell day. Just one of a slightly different nature. Remember when I made those molasses cookies and that margarita over the weekend? These ones?

Well, I have been asked for both of the recipes and naturally I am going to share them with you! Not just because I was already going to share the cookie recipe. I think I have also been asked for my marg recipe too.

Anyhow.

It feels straight up like show and tell because everyone must experience these cookies. I will remember them and the memories till the day I die.

Here is the thing about these recipes I like to share with y’all. They are more than just tried and true, sure to please recipes. They are basically part of the family and who we are. They tell a story within themselves and the traditions they hold. They share the love and memories.

Do you remember when I shared the pumpkin bread my mother has baked for us our whole lives? She would even send us back to college with a couple loaves. Or the best cheesecake recipe she wrote on the inside flap of a well worn cookbook? The best for many reasons, but chief among them just being her favorite cheesecake? Yes, those. And that little life secret about them and where to find others like them?

This cookie recipe is one of those. Hand written, well loved, and stained. Telling the story of generations and while bringing them all home. No small feat, I tell you.

Not only were us kids raised on these, but Pops and his siblings were raised on these. My Grandmother used to keep a jar full of these in the kitchen. The back door was always reportedly always unlocked and all the neighborhood kids would run and and out taking cookies throughout their play time.

My Mom and I once made these in an old, shallow wooden bowl with two forks for stirring implements at a Texas century ranch of friends while on vacation. Ironically or not, that weekend produced a lot of rain and we thought we might not make it out with the road conditions. Good thing for four wheel drive and Pops’ driving skills!

What I find most interesting is how each person puts their own spin on this recipe to make them theirs. Make them right. Make them like our Grandmother’s. But the funny thing is, we all talk about how they are not as good as our Grandmother’s. Everyone also has a theory on why hers were better. Maybe it is just because she actually followed the original recipe. Or maybe it was the love and wisdom she baked into them. Who is to know?

Anyway, this particular handwritten version is my mother’s. Karl is my uncle and my mother was collecting and writing recipes that he grew up on to give as a wedding gift.

My Grandmother used Oleo (margarine for you youngsters that do not know. Yes, I know I am a youngster, but I know these things) and baked them on the top rack of her oven. My mother believes that is THE secret.

My Aunt says to chill the dough before rolling and bake 8 – 10 minutes at 375 deg F.

My sister and I use real butter and roll the whole dough ball in sugar. Or, at least I think A rolls the whole ball. I do it anyway. I also add vanilla and I would put money on A doing that too because she is my sister and I know her that way. And it is vanilla. Vanilla goes in everything and makes everything magical and better, duh.

I myself have not actually seen the ‘original’ recipe before.

Last weekend only took 7 minutes to bake these scrumptious morsels at 375 in my parents’ new oven. I tried, valiantly, to chill the dough, but I think I only lasted about a minute before I gave in to get them in and out of the oven quicker. And my nephew had walked into the house and I recruited him as a dough ball roller. He happily obliged.

You can not really mess them up so long as you do not over cook them.

Go bake them. Right now. I will wait.

Finished? OK good. Now for your libation.

This one, the simple and classic margarita, Pops taught me along with the love of tequila. Follow the simple ratios and stick to only a few flavors and you can not go wrong with most variations of this cocktail.

2 parts tequila.
1 part triple sec (or your favorite orange liqueur).
1 part fresh lime juice (absolutely not the pre bottled stuff. Use real limes and squeeze them. It is a crime otherwise. Trust me).
Shake vigorously in a shaker with ice.
Pour in a chilled martini class or over ice.

For the ginger orange marg all you have to do is sub part of the triple sec with a ginger liqueur to your taste, keeping the total liqueur quantity to 1 part (keep to the ratios!). Then use fresh squeezed orange juice for the lime if you are Pops and if you are me, do about 1/3 lime and 2/3 orange (still only 1 part in total!). Add a dash of a cinnamon syrup and shake away. Garnish with some orange peel and enjoy!

Now. Go have a cookie and cocktail party and tell me all about it! It is show and tell after all.

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

September 13

I have already told you about September and how it, and the start of fall, get me in a reflective mood. Today is one of those reasons.

The 13th of September will always be a special day and a day I will always remember. A sad day at times, yes of course, but also a special one. A day for red wine and chocolate pie. To remember the happy memories and be grateful. Why do you ask? Because I say so, that is why. It is Mansebo’s day.

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Mansebo was the horse that started it all. Is it still hard? Absolutely. But he is in the best place of all now and free from any pain and suffering. I am forever grateful for him.

This is Mansebo’s song. Every time I hear it, I think of him, and every time I think of him, I hear it.

I can not help but think that it is because of him that we have horses today. It makes me even more grateful for my dun duo.

Speaking of the dun duo…

 

 

Lito and I had a great weekend of riding and he continues to get better and better, heading in the right direction to his regular self.

Both Cheetah and Lito pretended to be race horses on Saturday when I tried to bring them in for the evening, galloping all around the pond pasture multiple times. This video was only the beginning. I did not catch the best and fastest parts. They took turns with who was in the lead, Cheetah talking to Lito the whole time. Quite funny really. After several minutes they decided they were finished and would come in, but only if I came and got them. Naturally, that is what I did and they met me half way, the looks on their faces seeming to say, “gee, that sure was fun!” At least for Lito, the cheeky guy! Cheetah looked a bit happily worn out with her out of shape, grass fat body.

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Have some wine and pie with me today, won’t you? And go love on your horses! Remember the happy times!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Mom

Here is to my Mamma.

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Is this not the dreamiest wedding portrait? Seriously. I will never understand why this style for dress and portrait went out of style.

Where would we be without her or both of my parents? I know I certainly do not know where or what I would be.

I know it is not quite yet Mother’s Day, but I celebrate my mom every day.

I celebrate her for who and what she is. I celebrate her for putting up with me. I celebrate her for her selflessness and doing everything for me. I celebrate her for allowing me to be who I am and doing her best to embrace it. I celebrate her for being a part of me.

She is the best mom in the world. That is what I tell people when they ask about her.

She made my school lunch every day and would draw horses on the brown paper bag. She would have my dad drive her in the golf cart, wrapped in a sleeping bag, on cold winter mornings to look for me if I rode longer than normal, just to make sure I was OK. She figured out how we could spend the most amount of time at the farm during the summers so I could ride and be where I loved. On those summer days, we would eat dinner early so we could go for drives on the back roads together. With the windows down, we soaked in the country air and scenery. We were waiting for the heat to lift so I could go for a sunset ride on my palomino mare, Fresca. She allowed me to have riding lessons every day when we were in Mexico so I could learn and get better. Just for the love of it.

I could go on and on.

When I was younger, for Mother’s Day I would braid my mare’s mane with ribbons and flowers to spell out mom on Mother’s Day. I sat on my mare in the barn and colored cards for her before she would wake up, misspellings and all. I would pick wildflowers from the horse pasture and try make them last. They never did.

Nowadays I play her music instead of cards because it speaks to us both, more than any card could. I will bake a dessert I think she will like for dinner because I love to do that for people and she has discerning taste. And every time I swing my leg over my pony, I thank the good Lord above for not only the gift that is them, but the gift that is my mother. For giving me that part of her and for her allowing that to grow within me. Well, not that she really had much choice. It is in our blood.

I would say my dad, sisters, and I would have the family over and plan dinner, but we did that once. It was Dad’s idea. It did not work out so well. Mom is the best at that. This year we will go to Aunt M’s house for Mother’s Day dinner with everyone. That is what makes her happy.

We will be celebrating many mothers this coming Sunday. Grandmothers. Mothers. Aunts. Cousins. Sisters.

I hope I am half the mother she is and they are one day.

What is your favorite memory of the mother in your life?

Walk in love, dear readers!

 

Annabelle

Certain evenings at the farm, without any other people there, often bring back memories and make me miss a certain someone. Particularly when I am out walking in the pastures. I always have and always had, back then, a special buddy with me.

Two independent beings and kindred spirits, comfortable just being in the joined, shared silence that can only be had in that secure, comfortable way. They way of a life long relationship, but not needing all those years to get there. With that knowingness.

Glad and relieved for the lack of pressure and expectation, strolling through the pastures, not side by side, but not one in front either. Content just being present. In each other’s company. Accompanied only by the ambiance created by that country air and those country sounds. The breeze in the pecan trees, through the grass, and over the pond. The sun setting, ablaze with fire, and reflecting off the migrating ripples after the crash of a Bass on the surface. Likely preying on the recent hatch. The distant snort and swish of horse tails as the herd grazes. A cow mooing for her calf and the bull making his claim known to the neighboring herd. Backed up by the common clink of ice in a glass and the distant speaker playing real country music. The good kind. Old and new.

Something like this.

(Side note. Go treat yourself to this album. It is brand new, but as far as I can tell is as close to classic, old school country as it gets these days with a distinct modern arrangements. I am a sucker for all things steel, fiddle, and piano along with the guitar. I pre-ordered it a while back and so far it is great. I have been listening to Joshua Hedley for a while.) Now back to the story at hand. My buddy. The instigator of all these memories.

She had the luxury of being born out here. Well, right down the road technically, but close enough. As much a part of the landscape as the centuries old Live Oak up by the house.

My mother’s old Labrador Retriever, Annabelle.

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There is just something about a Lab, isn’t there?

A gal pal after my own heart she was. Middle Sister, K feels the same way, if not more.

Even though she was not mine, we grew to have a very deep connection in her later years. Especially during what I call my “Lost Year.” The year between my undergrad and graduate school. Not knowing what to do with my life and having trouble finding a job using my degree. In the end I bucked up and applied for grad school and began that journey within the year. Sometimes it feels like I miss that year, but really I just fondly remember those nights at the farm with Annabelle.

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We got her right before Oldest Sister, A went off to college.

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We would go to the farm together about three times a week during that year. It was glorious. She was my gal pal. My farm buddy. She knew the plan before I did and would rally her old bones. I had to help her get into the car so we could go, but I also had to stop her from jumping out of the car and hurting herself when we would arrive. She would run as best as she could until she had to take a nap.

We would walk out in the pastures together at sundown. At length, we would eventually come to a stop. Annabelle would walk out a few paces in front, stop, take a big breath of that country air looking back at me, and then sit and gaze off into the distance, like only a wise dog can. Eventually, when it got close to dark, we would make our way back up to the house.

She was a great dog even though she rarely listened to anyone. We had to put her down while I was in graduate school and we were left with a big hole in our lives. I would never recommend being dogless if you can help it. It is awful. It was a good thing Darcy was on her way.

Dogs are such amazing creatures. They sure do leave their mark in their short time here on earth. It is a wonder to me how we handle having them in our lives and move on after they are gone. Yet at the same time, I could never imagine my life without a dog in it. What gifts they are. They seem to make us aware of how human we are. The remind us that we do not have all the time in the world. If only we could do as much good as a dog does in its lifetime in our own.

They are never ‘just a dog.’ Do you know what I mean?

Anyway, I just wanted to share Annabelle with you as I was thinking of her.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Perspective

You know how when you were younger and smaller, innocent and wide eyed, how things appeared big and they stick in your memory that way? Then time goes by and you grow up and see those things again, but somehow they are smaller than you remembered? And you wonder just how in the world you ever thought they were that big?

That happened to me yesterday.

Breakfast in a bed of clover.

So there I was in the cloudy, windy, misty river bottom where the sun apparently does not like to play anymore. I spent the whole morning mucking out the barn and paddock around the barn. With the weather these days, the horses have been spending an exorbitant amount of time in there instead of out in the pasture. I really do not think I have ever scooped so much poop as I have in the last month and I have been riding and caring for horses my whole life. Anyway, that is not the point.

Muddy kisses from Darcy Doolittle. Later she decided to get into and eat a bunch of fish food…as how that went.

So there I was trying to decide what to do next. “I should be riding,” I thought to myself, but I do not like to ride when the ‘shoulds’ show up.

“Shoulds be darned” and I grabbed Cheetah’s bridle. We are going to go play and have fun. I bridled her up and headed to the fence to hop on.

Just then, H called. She was on her way to put in some work at the office. She likes to talk while she drives, as do I. We call it the dialies in our family. Anyway, I decided then and there that I would ride Cheetah for me and I would ride Lito next for her because she could not ride that day. She has not been able to ride in a while because of work. AHA moment. Always ride when you can. Life is too short and you never know when you won’t be able to and there are plenty of people who can not.

I stuck my phone in my pocket and talked to her on speaker phone for my whole lovely ride. Cheetah was lazy and behind my leg. Dare I say sluggish, which is somewhat of a nice change of pace. Then the sun showed up and I almost didn’t know what to do with myself.

For Lito, I decided to saddle up and ride my neighbor’s big pasture behind the barn.

I had not ridden that pasture in years. I used to ride it all the time on Fresca, my little palomino mare. She was quick, fast, and fun and I loved her. She had the best little jog and I could do anything on her. She was the best horse to grow up on. We rode all over the place bareback, nothing between me and her, feeling every thought. We had some amazing times, that mare and me. Whenever we would ride the pasture behind the barn, we would ride down to the river first and loop around to the clear frontage to have a look down the river and see if anyone was on the beach. Then we would continue up river and follow the tree line towards the big hill.


The hill was our favorite. The two track dirt road lazily meanders around to the low spot with rusty culvert before it goes straight up the hill to the little white church across the fence. The culvert was the starting gate in our games. We had different games in different places all around the river bottom, but here at the hill in the big pasture behind the barn, it was a race and she was the best race horse of the day.

Calm as could be, Fresca would walk up to the culvert as if neither of us had a plan to gallop to the top wearing red and white silks. As if we didn’t do it practically every time we came to the hill. An onlooker would not know what was about to happen, but the ones in the grandstand knew. Then, the bell would ring and in an instant, we would take off and fly to the top faster than all the greats.

Once at the top, we would come to a stop right by the church and listen to the church goers sing. I thought it was so cool that you could hear them sing when they were inside. By about that time I would start to feel hungry for breakfast so we would turn and head down the hill, cross the bog, and make our way back home where my mother was making pancakes.


Lito and I pushed our way through the overgrowth at the gate and then made our way down to the river. I will conveniently leave out the part where a crazy, lone cow chased followed us for a bit, so we got in some extra trotting before we got to the look out. After marveling at how the river bottom has changed since the two floods before Hurricane Harvey and then after Harvey, we tracked up river along the tree line towards the hill.

I was looking forward to a good lope up the hill for old time’s sake. I remember it being a bigger hill as hills go down here. At least big enough to lope for a bit. You know, feel the wind in your pony tail, or something like that. I had to laugh when the culvert at the base of the hill came into view. The big hill, in all its glory, looking back at me. I realized how small the hill actually is. Maybe ten strides long. Laughing, we went for a big trot up the hill instead. Being a Saturday, there were no church goers to listen to, so we turned and walked back. Half way there, the sun went behind the clouds, the wind picked up, and a few drops fell from the sky, but that didn’t dampen our spirits.

Funny how you remember things as a kid. I guess it is all just a matter of perspective. Back then I was little and more imaginative. Fresca was little. Today I am grown and Lito is quite a bit taller than ol’ Fresca. I think I will remember that hill as a big hill.

When the fog finally burned off this morning, it turned into a beautiful day. Cheetah and I had another ride in the pond pasture.

Now I am back at home. I did a very adult thing and sacrificed my day off tomorrow to do adult things instead of staying at the farm. I mean, look at those faces. So hard to leave them!

Naturally I did another very adult thing and procrastinated some of those things to clean and do laundry all afternoon and evening. Nothing like cleaning and laundry to procrastinate. Makes you feel like you got so much accomplished (which you did, so that is something) and takes enough time to keep you from doing what you need to do.

Looks like it will be a late night! Oh well!

Walk in love, dear readers, tomorrow is a new day!

This Time Of Year

You know, I generally think of Christmas and Thanksgiving as the best time of year. A close second has to be starting about right now.

It is glorious, wonderful, exciting and yet, at the exact same time, tortuous and agonizing.

What is it, you ask, that could possibly be all of those things?

Foaling season, my friends, foaling season.

Every year people all around me are sharing pictures of their cute and furry wobbly bundles of legs. A culmination of a year of waiting and even more planing.

It all brings me such joy! However, it absolutely turns me green. I mean, you might as well call me Irish.

I either want to go back to Lito being born or breed my Cheetah again!

It makes me crazy and jittery to see all these foals popping out. To see the images of them meeting their dams for the first time and getting to their feet for their first nurse. Exploring the world and figuring out miles of legs.

I all but have to sit on my wallet so I do not go out and book a breeding. Yes, it could be that easy! I already have a couple studs lined out if I am blessed enough to be able to breed again.

Does this all make me certifiable? Probably, but hey, I am more than OK with that.

Alas, until I can do what I call ‘the greatest experiment ever’ again, I will just relive the last one. And you have do that with me too. It is the perfect thing to do while waiting for my work conference to start.

You’re welcome!

Tired of waiting already at 9 months…

11 months…any day now!

The grand arrival!

The rest is history!

Take me back!

Sigh. Time to get back to reality.

Have a great day, dear readers, and walk in love!

Tribute

Get your sunglasses out. I have started and stopped about ten times and still do not quite know how to start it.

A great man went to his Heavenly home on Monday. My Grandmother’s Husband since she was 19. My Mother’s Father. My Grandfather. Although, he would get mad at us if we called him any such thing. Made him appear old he would say. Gee Gee for George. Everyone, family and friends, called him that. I learned this week that there are people that did not even know his name was George. Gee Gee is his name.

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Mere words do not do him justice. How does one pay tribute to such a being. You had to know him or know someone who knew him. Larger than life he was, and he knew how to live every second of it and fill it with music and dancing, tequila (it makes you smart he would always say, but he had plenty of smarts all on his own), family, the outdoors, and of course horses. Lots and lots of horses and horse stories.

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That dapper man there, sitting in the middle next to my Grandmother, wearing a tux. We have a big family, and this is not even all of them!

I still can not write this without tears in my eyes. Which is less than convenient with a face of makeup. Go me for being an adult and putting my face on.

The tears are represented by many emotions. Sadness, of course, is very present. The realness and suddenness of it (sudden as in one day there and the next not), sure. It really was not that sudden. The thoughts of looking to the future and visualizing what it looks like and feels like. Him not being there (how about a punch in the gut to say that?). At the same time, the blessing and relief. How strange it feels to feel and write that.

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A moment I captured close to the time he passed. I had a funny feeling at the time and did not know why. A few minutes later my sister called me.

When my sister first called I had a feeling it was coming. I did not know quite how to act when she told me. I did not cry or have much to say, it just was. It seems most of us feel that way. I suppose that is the blessing and relief of it. That he is now whole and complete, making music again.

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He was 92 years old. We went a few years thinking any day was going to be his homecoming, but, he continued to defy the odds. It was still a shock when it actually happened. On Monday, January 22, 2018 he went peacefully with a smile on his face and a full belly. What a blessing that is! To live his whole life happy and to go peacefully. Even with the years of dementia (that he was even able to hide for many years in the beginning), he was happy through it all and always knew the love of his life.

I have lived my whole life, of 29 years, with two full sets of grandparents. How many people do you know that can say that??? I have discovered not many people can. When people would hear that I have 2 full sets of grandparents still alive, they would look at me in wonder and astonishment. I have stopped being surprised at people’s looks. There are nine of us Grandchildren (non including the spouses) that could claim that.

I could go on and on about him. How smart and passionate he was. How he loved music and could sing and play multiple instruments. How he made records and sang with the mariachi bands at the Mexican restaurants. How they would marvel how well he knew their music. How he helped my mom with her math homework after coming home late from work. How I see him in his younger brother, 16 years his junior. How he loved his dogs and the outdoors and to fish and hunt. How he stamped all of us in a unique way.

My stamp was the horses and music, but mainly the horses. Entirely different than that of my Grandmother, the ultimate horsewoman.

I would sit with him for hours and listen to his stories about horses past. He was generally a quiet man, letting everyone else do the talking. An easy thing to do with our family. There was never enough air in the room and being in our presence was commonly compared to watching a tennis match. But what I loved most was when he would get to talking about his horses, even my Grandmother would sit silently staring at him, completely captivated.

I remember the last time they came to the farm. My Grandmother, naturally, was drawn by Ike and my Lito, wanting to talk about them and how they rode. Gee Gee on the other hand, with not much of his memory left, took one look at Chance and said, “now that is a Quarter Horse. I like this horse. You need to flush his eye.” I guess he liked the look of him! His eye lid was irritated and swollen at the time. I had already flushed it.

“Now that horse comes out half cocked, so you better ride him down and work him out of it first,” he would say about Chato, the last horse he had. He was a little feed lot horse and would politely slow down to a halt every time my phone would ring.

My Mom would always tell me how Gee Gee would ride every horse first before any of the kids hopped on, just to make sure their heads were on straight. Something I have always done because of that.

He once hauled a horse in a trailer with a faulty floor. The thought gives me nightmares. He crawled in the loaded trailer and fixed the floor mid route because the man said the horse would be fine to do it.

Consequently, I still can not find pictures of the two more prominent horses in his life. Jenny and Rowdy Dexter. Or of him taking my Mom and Aunt and Uncle riding. Jenny was the young filly he kept at the local stables where he met my Grandmother. She kept her horse at the same barn. My kind of love story. I will never be able to tell a story like him. I am not going to give up on finding them.

To tell some of the stories, I have these to share.

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I believe this was Jenny’s sire.

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Time to hit play on the music and stir our tequila drinks as we remember and celebrate this great man. I do believe anything less than a party he would not stand for.

This has been a slow blogging month for me, but I am still here chugging along. There is still much to see to yet, but I am not going anywhere.

Life is an interesting thing, as you have heard me say multiple times. How everything comes full circle. With death there too also comes life. Gee Gee will live on in another member of our family, due to arrive in August. I get to be an Aunt again!

Till next time, dear readers, walk in love!

Drive By

A drive by? A drive by fruiting?

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No, no, no. Not that kind. But that is a good kind. Name that movie!

This kind.

I dropped in my Pops’ office yesterday for some important business. You know, like sign a form real quick. Very important. Anyway, walking in there is somewhat like entering a time capsule or going back in time.

He said it best, “there is nothing in here past the digital age!”

Which, as I will soon show you, is true. There are no photos older than the film era. Vintage at its best.

Enjoy.

Can you guess who?

Alright, too easy, that is me.

This one is better. Why didn’t they let me have a bouquet? K, great smile.

Oh yes, we had many matching outfits over the years. Who didn’t? We were clearly happy about it.

Oh now this one! It is a winner.

Why am I the only one looking at the camera and not looking like a model?! A especially looks like a model. Where is my fan?

And of course, good ol’ Smokey, the best lesson horse ever.

Ha!

You know, back then I had a couple countdowns going every Christmas. A countdown till we were out of school and then a countdown to Christmas morning when we could open presents.

These days, Christmas has a different meaning for me and I wish there were more days. To slow it down and keep it around a little longer. To keep people in the spirit even a minute longer. But alas, here we are on December 20th. Christmas is right around the corner! I have desserts to bake!

Now, if only the weather forecast would make up its mind and not get so cold.

Here is hoping.

Walk in love, dear readers!

Elvis

Many things come to mind during the Christmas season. Family and tradition. Decorations and music. Cooking and baking. And Elvis.

For me, the Christmas season all begins with Thanksgiving. Giving thanks for all of our many blessings. Instilling an attitude of gratitude. Getting into the spirit and making a habit of it. A habit to live every day of the year with. Being generous with that spirit.

Oh! A quick side story! Don’t worry, I will get around to Elvis. I went out to lunch yesterday and saw a lovely thing. I love that about eating out alone. Some people don’t like to do it, but it doesn’t bother me. You see and hear a lot of interesting things. The restaurant was kind of busy and had many tables too close together. There were these two older ladies across the way, finishing up their meal. When they were getting up to leave, one of them was having trouble getting out of the booth and getting her footing. Before I even had another thought, my waiter was there lending an arm, helping her stand and get away from the tables. They were so grateful. It put a big smile on my face for the rest of the day.

Anyway, I just wanted to share that happy story with you. Back to Christmas and Elvis. Right.

Christmas music and trees begin in earnest after Thanksgiving (I only listen to Christmas music um…a little before. Ok fine. More than a little).

As kids, all of us cousins used to go over to my Grandparents’ house for a tree decorating party. This is one of my favorite childhood memories.

My Mother would drop us three girls off in the driveway in her suburban for a few hours free of kids. In my head she was taking care of important Mom Christmas stuff. She was probably just enjoying having a little time to herself!

We would walk through the side door into the kitchen where my Grandmother was likely making a big batch of hot chocolate (to be served out of a big bowl with holly on it, ladled into matching mugs) or preparing snacks for us.

You could hear the music coming out of my Grandfather’s study from there, pulling you out of the kitchen and closer to the source of the sound. The feeling. After a ‘hi’ and hug, we would continue on through the TV room and into the dining/living great room.

A house made for entertaining, the front door opened right into the dining room on the left and the living room on the right. A grand space to be sure, great for kids’ running feet. Opposite the front door, was a wall of windows to the back patio and yard. Almost as if there was not even a wall there. That the room itself was part of the yard. Like you could just take your shoes off and just walk onto the St. Augustine carpet and wiggle your toes in the cool green grass.

That is where the tree stood. By the windows, between the two spaces. Looking out to the yard in all its glory. Always a big fat tree with big fat, colorful lights, waiting for the weight of ornaments. The house was already decorated. The stockings were hung. All that was left was to finish the tree.

The crackle of the fire in the fireplace at the far end of the living room could barely be heard over the ambient noise of nine cousins and music, but it was all additive. A symphony of Christmas not dissimilar to the way music is made while riding with the sound of hoof beats, rhythmic breathing, creak of the saddle, the wind in the trees, the chirping of birds.

The music was my Grandfather’s department. He always had music pouring out of the study that stood off the far end of the living room. Different kinds of music. Sometimes his own music. His drums stood in one corner, understood by us not to mess with them.

My Grandparents have a deep love and passion for music. My Grandfather in the making of and listening. My Grandmother for the feeling of and dancing. My love of music is indeed, not surprising. Genetics and all that cool stuff. I get a lot of my love of horses and music from them.

Elvis is a staple at their house, not only at Christmas, but every other time. I hear Elvis and I think of my Grandparents and decorating Christmas trees at their house. I visualize my Grandfather in the study, thinking about what to play next and my Grandmother dancing to the music all throughout the house.

The house may be long gone these days, but the memories and the love remain.

What do you think of at Christmas time? What is your favorite memory? Do not forget to check out the AHA Moments Facebook Page for all of my favorite Christmas songs all month long!

Walk in love, dear readers!

Happy Hanukkah to all of my Jewish readers!