I realize this has been a long time in coming, but I have been through some tumultuous times.
First of all, my computer died, and I launched out and bought a Mac. Now you may know that I had owned the very first Mac made, way back in 1982 or thereabouts, and just loved it. Several Macs later I was persuaded by the then office staff that they couldn’t live with a Mac for which (they said) there were not enough applications (by applications, I think, read “computer games”) and I was persuaded to buy a Mr. Gates product. Many PCs later I saw the light again, and when the current computer died, I returned to my first love, the Mac. But in the meantime, what a difference!! What a smooth, wonderful, easy to use, and totally sympathetic computer is this – except that I have not yet totally come to an understanding with it, and have only this morning discovered the TextEdit application with which to write this.
But in the meantime, life went on. Baby horse Ayita is now an incredible two and a half months old, and full of opinions – and I think she may be changing color! You may remember my bemoaning the fact that she was a boring sorrel, when the stud is a flashy black but – amazingly – under the red hair there seems to be some dark hair coming in, like a dark grey – so see will see. She is getting her education daily, and now leads, turns around, backs up and comes to you like a civilized horse instead of a heathen, to be petted, and scratched, and made much of. But I still am not itching to get on her back when she turns three or so – she is showing decided signs of a temper and athletic agility. I think I will stick to my string of three reliable horses, Scotty, Chikala and now Waylon, who came from the Grapevine string, and who is enjoying becoming a one rider horse. It’s amazing to see the change that comes over a horse when he is no longer ridden by a variety of people, and probably given lots of conflicting signals. He is much more relaxed, is now easy to catch, and seems to be enjoying our rides, even though he was unwittingly part of a wreck I had only the other day.We were gathering the last of the cattle out of the Grapevine Canyon, mommas with little babies, and this makes the mommas always on the defensive – on the prod, as Gerry used to say. We were down to the last two pairs, with babies under a week old. I had taken dog Tuffy with me – Tuffy, the erstwhile terror of all four legged and four wheeled creatures, is learning to be civilized, in that I have finally grown hard hearted enough to install a shock collar on her, and have used it. Consequently, she was as good as gold throughout, staying close to my horse, lying down to watch alertly when the cattle were gathered – but she may have, unknown to me, come too close to a baby calf. The mother came on the run in defense, Tuff probably – as I didn’t see her, just surmised this on later reconstruction – jumped out of the way, and the cow rammed into Waylon as he and I were peacefully ambling our way down a little steep trail, both of us half asleep. Waylon blew up, spun hard left … and – I fell off! I landed flat on my back on some very hard ground, luckily missing all the rocks, wondering what the hell happened. Waylon of course, took off, pursued for some short distance by the cow, and disappeared into the sunset. I caught up with him at the Middle Gate and rode the rest of the way home – but the next day I thought I had been through a mangle. I didn’t know there was so much of me to hurt – but the payoff was wonderful. Apparently the fall has jarred all my back bones enough so that they aligned back to the way they should be, and I found that the fall did the work of ten chiropractors! When I floated this idea past my doctor step-daughter in Australia, Sally, whose husband Craig is a chiropractor, she said that probably the jar had broken loose some adhesions. Well, good on it!!
My other two horsy children – apart from the retired Comanche and Tequila – are Chikala, who is now huge, at over 16 hands and Scotty, not that much smaller. Of course, for many years, ever since all those hip replacements, I have had to mount my horses from a mounting block – but Chikala is so darn huge that I need another step on top of the mounting block – I swear the weather is different up there. I not only need a step on the mounting block to get up there, I have to use the mounting block to get off, as well – he’s so darn tall and wide that I feel I could put my hip out of joint – nasty thought. Scotty is a bit shorter and I can manage him – unfortunately, his lope is an experience from another, nastier world – but then who knows, perhaps after the jar to my back I will be able to enjoy even it. On reading the above, I find it difficult to remember that there was, actually, a time when I could jump for the stirrup, not matter how high – not to mention being able to throw the saddle up there. Oh, for the days of old!!When my step children from Australia came to visit, as they do twice yearly, we carried out a plan long in the making – a visit to Oklahoma City to the Cowboy Hall of Fame, to see the painting by Duane Bryers of Gerry and his dog standing in the doorway of the bunkhouse. Those of you who have been to Grapevine probably remember it from the office and the gift shop – a truly wonderful painting. I had been wanting to see it for a long time, and finally got to do it, mainly due to the efforts of my new friend, Jerry, who is one of the docents there. There is quite a story behind this – after the painting had been hung in the gallery, Jerry said, it became so popular that many visitors kept asking him who the man in the painting was. So he took it upon himself to find out, and, after some time, tracked down my Gerry at the ranch. Unfortunately, by then Gerry had died – this was about a year after his death – but Jerry contacted me and we kept in touch, and now, finally , we were able to go see it. I remember someone telling me, some time back, that it was wonderfully displayed in that the museum hung it in an actual doorway, and it looked so realistic. I was amused to find that the “doorway” was the one painted in the picture – that’s how real it is. It is an amazing painting, proving once again what a great artist Duane Bryers is. The museum is set in some amazing grounds, full of large sized statues, and the lawn is an actual burial ground of some famous horses, with statues representing them set on the graves. We spent one whole day and two half days at the Museum and could well have spent two weeks. It is an amazing collection of Western art, and anyone going anywhere near Oklahoma City should make a detour and see it.
Some of you may have wondered what I did with dog Tuffy, seeing as she and I are joined at the hip. We had briefly considered driving, and taking her with us, but as she doesn’t enjoy traveling, I decided to leave her with my good friend Pam, who runs a boarding kennel in Dragoon. We left early morning, and, as it was too early to disturb Pam, I asked Danny to take Tuff there later in the day. She did very well – Pam said that she lay inside her “apartment” on the mattress I had sent from home with one of my shirts on it, and that she only went out into her run in the evenings. The day of our return, Danny picked her up again, so that she was home when we returned, very late at night. She was, of course, overjoyed to see us, and most interested in the smell on my clothes of Jerry’s dog, Roscoe. But the funny thing was that on the day that Sally and Craig left for Australia and we left the house again very early in the morning, Danny said that Tuffy evaded him all day, probably thinking that he was going to take her to the kennel again!! I wish sometimes they could talk, so you could explain things to them…. but then, maybe not!!
I had two good friends visit me shortly after Sally and Craig left, one from Germany and one from France, and we spent some great times together, not only riding, but sitting around talking in the evenings – and I swear that by the time they left, a week apart, I had a pretty clear recollection of both German and French, both of which I spoke fluently as a child, but both of which I had forgotten. The German I had been hearing a lot during the Grapevine days, but French guests were not so frequent, and so I really enjoyed my partial immersion in it.
So – I am going to post this now, because if I leave it for any more ideas, it will sit here for another week, and it’s late already!!