Finally a sunny warm beautiful day.

The summer of 2011 has really turned out to be counting the nice days on the fingers of my hand. It certainly increases the gratitude quotient when an outdoor dinner party coincides with sun and t-shirt weather. It is even more of an event when friends get together and after a wonderful exchange of food and spirits the day then leads to the magic of a beautiful evening and campfire. The real charm of these memories is when everyone somehow gets to share a story that brings out something that everyone can relate to in feeling.

Such is my experience on this special gathering of friends and memories. It usually starts with the casual question; what high school did you go to? Where did you go to College?

Then someone gets up and throws another log onto the fire and everyone takes in that moment. Have you ever noticed the pause after someone puts some wood on the fire? It just seems like that pause is forever and the forever feels good. It’s the unspoken feeling that it is all right to just “be”.

I unconsciously slump into my lawn chair a little more and know that this is all to be expected of myself. These are such precious moments to be aware of and take note of and then my man does the campfire protocol thing and slips his hand into mine. Holding hands and campfires – love it…

” I grew up with horses,” one of the quietest of women at the gathering pipes up out of the darkness.

On the other side of the fire another woman dinner guest chimes in- “I rescued a miniature pony once but it bit me so many times I had to find a foster home for it.”

I sit up in my seat with genuine interest and ask.

“Where did you find a rescue home for a miniature pony? Was that hard to do?” The gal sharing her story said it was actually very hard to do because the pony was a biter and nobody wanted him. “Nobody wants a mean miniature pony.” Finally she found a Llama rescue farm that just shelters Llamas in Montana and they took him in. The story has a happy ending though as the Llama farm owners discovered that the pony had a bite problem and his teeth were digging into his gum when he closed his mouth and he was in pain. A pony vet dentist filed and reshaped his teeth and now the miniature pony is the King of the Llama farm sanctuary.

He is the unquestioned King because every other animal on the farm is a rescue Llama.

With that story the gates open and everyone shares their stories, but I am going to highlight the original horse story that was offered by the quiet woman at the dinner party who spoke up first.

This story is of a fourteen year old girl who loved and owned a horse named Sir Francis Drake. He was a big Morgan breed and the girl loved him with all her heart and this story was how her Dad sold her horse.

The family lived on a farm and the acreage had an elbow turn at the end of the property that sat beside a local county road. It was on a slight hill and on one wet rainy night a car backfired at the edge of the curve on the roadside where Sir Francis Drake was standing inside the fenced property.

Sir Drake was deeply startled to the point that he must of thought it was a rifle shot because he ran straight for the fence and broke through it and ran down the road.

The unfortunate part was that all the cows on the property ran down the road after the horse Sir Francis Drake. The father rousted all of his children out of bed to come help collect the cows including the young girl who was narrating the story. It was pouring rain out and with just a sweatshirt on over her pyjamas and rubber boots – off she ran to find her horse.

The good news was that the horse stopped just down the way by the roadside and was chomping on some grass he had probably been eyeing for sometime and was led back to his stall. Not was the case with the cows though as they ran and never stopped until the family caught up to them. The first cow the father put a halter over and asked his daughter (now a grown woman telling her story) to take back to the farm was Bossie.

Bossie was not that easy to handle or that willing and she had to pull Bossie by the rope towards the farm in the dark and the pouring rain. The cow halfway back though realized that they were going home and went from being pulled onto a full on trot and now the fourteen year old was running behind the cow all the way down the road back to the farm hanging on to dear life – yelling- “Bossie slow down”!

The horse Sir Francis Drake was sold for breaking the fence and leading the cows astray. The girl cried and cried. Her father realizing that maybe he had acted too hastily took her to the horse auction to buy her another horse. He ended up buying two horses that day. They were a black stallion they called Prince and a pinto filly that she named Daisy.

Prince did not last long at the farm though because they did not realize that he was a wild stallion. Apparently wild horses when sold for auction can be drugged to calm them down so that they can be trotted around the ring to show and sell. When the drugs wear off the owner then has a wild horse on their hands. This is what happened with Prince the stallion and he only lasted a few months with the family.

When they got Daisy the pinto filly home to the stall it was realized that her whole body was infested with ticks that had burrowed in under the young horses hide. Every day, for two months or longer, when the teenager came home from school her Dad would soak a cloth in kerosene and rub Daisy’s coat. Finally one by one the ticks backed their way out of the horse’s body.

It is such a beautiful story of compassion and love and that this young horse did not die and they were able to save her.

When Daisy got to be a yearling her young owner had a talk with her and told her it was time to have a saddle and she actually handled that horse into a bridle and saddle all by herself.

Daisy the pinto became her best friend and lived on to twenty years of age. The girl, now a full-grown woman shared how it made her whole life to have had that relationship and companionship with her horse.

I took it as one of the more beautiful father daughter relationship stories I had heard in a long time.

Sometimes I wonder what it must be like for people in northern California who have a temperate climate and the ability to sit outside by the campfire and share stories all year round.

Have a beautiful day,


Photo: PKM


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