Chincoteague and Pony Penning Revisited 2-13-2020

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Tomorrow,  I will be visiting Chincoteague Island again. It amazes me how many people don’t know about Chincoteague and it’s ponies.  Then again, not everybody is horse-crazy. Still, it boggles my mind to think there are people who don’t know about the wild ponies, Pony Penning and have never dreamed about buying a pony at the auction.

Chincoteague Island is Barrier Island off the cost of Virginia. It snuggles up with

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Assateague Island, shown in green. These islands have long been the home of bands of Chincoteague Ponies, most likely descents of Spanish horses stranded by shipwreaks. These ponies first came to fame in the fictionalized version of a true story, Misty of Chincoteague, written by Marguerite Henry. Subsequent books include, Stormy, Misty’s Foal,  Seastar, Orphan of Chincoteague and Misty’s Twilight.

Two separate herds roam Assateague, separated by a fence on the Virginia/Maryland border, totaling roughly 150 horses. The ponies are owned by the Chincoteague Volunteer Fire Department. Every July, the fireman, called ‘Salt Water Cowboys,’ round up both herds and swim the ponies across to Chincoteague. During the annual Fireman’s Carnival, foals are auctioned off to raise money to fund the needs of the Fire Department. Pony Penning began in 1925 and has grown in popularity ever since. People from across the US flock to watch the Ponies swim the channel, then parade down Main street to the fairground on the last Wednesday and Thursday of July.

Foals used to sell for low prices, making owning a Chincoteague Pony the dream of thousands of little girls, and boys, across the country. Compare this with the 2015 sale, where the highest sale price was $25,000, a new record. The average price of a foal last year was $2779, also a new record, and 61 foals were sold. The lowest bid was $500.00. This isn’t some little Podunk auction anymore. The sale not only provides for the needs of the Fire Department, it also ensure the size of the herd remains around the 150 mark.

After the sale, the remaining adults and those foals too young to be separated from their mothers, swim back across the channel for another year of sea grass and sand dunes.

For those of you not besotted by horses, this may seem rather boring.  To those horse-lovers in the world, however, Pony Penning is something of a Holy Grail, at least it has been for me. Many a year, I begged my parents to take me to Pony Penning.  Wise souls they were, they always refused.  Now, I understand nothing good would have come from taking their daughter to the auction and not getting a pony.

During the year, the Ponies live on the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.  Along with swimming at the beach, hiking trails or going to the top of the Lighthouse constructed in 1833, visitors can learn about the myriad of wildlife that lives on, or migrates through, the islands. The most exciting adventure for horse lovers, however, is searching for that rare glimpse of wild ponies.

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All photos are in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

Response – JSW Prompt 2-5-2018

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response under 300 word (recommended, not law). I will re-blog your post to my site.
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“Sad story, that. She was never the same again, so I heard.  Didn’t know her my own self, but I knew some who knew her.

How do you fall into yourself and drown, you ask?

Might fine question, that.

It was this way. The boy was never right, not from the beginning. Shy thing. Wouldn’t make eye contact with no one, wouldn’t speak, hid before his Momma’s skirts like he was afraid of the world.

People said he was touched in the head, but I never thought so. From what I heard, mind you, not knowing the boy my own self, I was always thinking it weren’t his head which was touched, but his heart. Seemed like the boy was born without a heart where ones supposed to be.

As he grew, seemed he just paled away, fading to nothing. See, there weren’t nothing inside to support his body so he just collapsed into hisself and drowned.

Yeah, sad, but that’s life sumtimes. Don’t know what happened to the boy after he drowned in his own blood. Heard once they buried him. Another time, that he just grew so small, he disappeared.

Where do I think he migha gone? Good question that.”

He touched his chest, where his heart didn’t lay, and just smiled.

 

Response 12-25-2017 JSW Prompt 1-1-2018

Feel free to join in and respond to the prompt. Please try to keep your response under 300 words (But if not, that’s cool, too). If you reply, I will re-blog your post to my site (sometimes I am slow, but I get there).
xmaswrpr

She stopped on the edge of the tree, staring warily into the cleaning, eyes immediately drawn to the brightly wrapped package under the single tree in the center. The tree was a Horse Chestnut, a sacred tree, but what could be in the box below? Had the gods left some present, some magical item, for her to discover.

No, not likely. In fact, hardly possible at all. None of the Gods she knew liked her near enough for gift-leaving. So what?

She could just pass on by and not look back, but she was too curious for her own good. She was going to look. She knew she was and darn the consequences. What was that book she been force to read in Grammar school? A Good Day to Die?

No. This was not a good day to die. It was so not a good day to die that she considered just moving on, but again, that wasn’t going to happen in her lifetime.

Which, she realized, might be growing shorter all the time.

Stepping into the clearing, she moved forward warily, eyes scanning the clearing and then the woods around. If she didn’t make it home tonight, would they miss her?

Of course they would, silly, but she discarded that thought. Much better to think she was alone in the world, making her own way in a violent time. How else to become a hero? For it was a hero she wanted to be more than anything else in the world.

To survive and over-come some terribly dangerous quest and return to those who had cast her out. Bravely willing to sacrifice her life for theirs regardless of their action. By this time in her narrative, she had reached the tree and thus the box.

It was, as she had observed before, wrapped in brightly colored paper covered with red and blue balloons and cupcakes. The cupcakes were vanilla and chocolate, however, not red and blue like the balloons.

And on the top lay a tag which said, ‘To Nay-na.”

Eagerly, she tore off the papers to find anther wrapped box, then another and another.

A puzzle to help her on her way.

At last, she reached the smallest box, about the size of a football. Ripping off the paper and tearing out the tissue-paper inside, she pulled out a….

Tiara.

A cheap, Halloween-store, tiara, sparkling with paste gems.

The clearing around echoed with the sounds of voices shouting, people pouring out of the forest and rushing towards her.

“Happy Birthday!” yelled her family and friends, swarming around with hugs and kisses. Her brother set the tiara onto her head

“You’ll need a few bobbies to hold it on, but this should do for the time.”

“Cake, cake,” everybody shouted as she, her friends and cousins and siblings raced towards the warmly lit house, smells of pizza and birthday cake permeating the air.

Perfect, she thought as she ran. The perfect ending for a perfect story!

Hero for the day!

Christmas Time is Here! 12-25-2017

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Day Five of Christmas Horse Pictures!

Christmas Day! Ring in the Happiness! Good Cheer! Presents…..

At my house, sort of.

I didn’t wrap anything until this morning, Christmased out by decorating the living room and Tree on Christmas Eve. Normally, all the presents for my kids are wrapped and under the tree by the week before. Not so this year, but maybe that is okay. It is okay not to try so hard?

It wasn’t like they were up at the crack of dawn.

So, I wrapped for them, then the rest of the my family. After opening presents at home, under the newly decorated Christmas Tree, my oldest mixed up Mac and Cheese and some oatmeal cookies for the Family Gathering later that morning.

This was at my asking, mind you. No, not asking. Telling. This wasn’t some bright insight on her part.

They both did an excellent job with my gifts. My son got me a neat black and white drawing of a barn scene with a bright-orange/red fox in the foreground. My oldest got me an agenda and a GC to B&N. Her gifts surprised me. Usually, it’s a DVD.

I was just about to start my “Great Agenda Hunt” for 2018 and this saves me so much time. It isn’t one I would have picked, but she did and it will work fine.

The we drove down to my parent’s house for Christmas with my Dad, sister and her son.

Truthfully, everything felt odd and awkward. Maybe it was just me, but usually I am pretty good about reading such things.

We handed out presents. My sister asked if I had purchased Dad’s gifts to my kids. I said no, I hadn’t been asked to put that on my agenda. Strike one, thought my Dad did write them each a check before we left.

Strike two, we took the dog. I am not yet comfortable leaving her home alone (well with the cats) for long periods of time. She has abandonment issues due to being dumped on our street. We didn’t take her inside my Dad’s house, because she had not been invited. She wasn’t even mentioned until we were getting ready to leave.

We ate and rushed home so my youngest could go to work. Christmas was over.

It was a good Christmas, I guess. At least, an okay one. I don’t do well with holidays on a whole – they overwhelm me – and the same with family gatherings.

Could it have been better? Could I have made it better? Yes and yes, but I’m not sure faking the emotions was the needed ingredient. I don’t want to fake and pretend. I just want Christmas to mean something more again.

That said, Christmas really isn’t for adults, not the Christmas Tree/Santa Claus side anyway. Christmas is for children, those who haven’t forgotten the world of Christmas magic.

I can remember being that child, but can I ever be that child again?

Maybe if I had gotten that pony under the Christmas Tree……

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(images from Pinterest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Time is Here! 12-23-2017

Image result for gypsy vanner foal xmasBy the way, all the images for this series are off Pinterest and not mine

Day Three of Christmas Horse Pictures!

Today will be posting late. Actually today will be posting tomorrow AM and then tomorrow’s edition will post later. Merry Confusion!

So how goes the Christmas Spirit of the season for today, day three of horse pictures? For the pictures, pretty good. I am enjoying them each and every day. For the ongoing problem of the Christmas Tree, and Christmas itself, not so well. I hated, yes hated,  admitting to ‘testing’ my kids, or anybody, to protect myself. I hate that I do that. I didn’t realize for years and years and then I just pretended I didn’t.

Yesterday, I claimed it. Shamefully, hatefully, reluctantly, but I did.

So now what?

Where do I go from here?

I was hoping to work on that yesterday (actual yesterday, not writing yesterday), but I haven’t been eating regularly and correctly so, in Kohl’s, I got suddenly overheated, nauseous and thought I might pass out. Now, why am I linking this to the Christmas Trees?

Wait, the ego-side of me is saying.  I can make this sound better. But I can’t really. So I felt ready to pass out. Pup and I went to Dairy Queen and got ice cream. Have you, by the way, tried the Hot Chocolate and Oreo Blizzard? Delicious!

Notice how my flow of thoughts keeps avoiding the real issue? Maybe if I avoid the issue long enough, it will go away?

Truth?

In my head, I really wanted to clean up and put up the tree. In my heart, I wanted to clean up and put up the tree.  So, instead, I watched Youtube video’s and scanned Facebook.

I know avoidance is one of my highly polished skills, but at the end of the night I was mad and upset with myself. It’s it funny how many ways we have to totally screw ourselves over, pretending all the time that we are happy?

Oh, joy, ecstasy. I am so happy being miserable.

Merry Humbug!

Remember the Christmas Spirit I wasn’t finding? Well, we had Christmas with my Aunt today, at her nursing home.

I hate that my family is getting smaller (8 at last count), and we can’t make Christmas the same as it has been forever. No more my family over at the Aunt’s house on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day at my parent’s home. Heck, we don’t even really have Christmas in my house anymore. It’s almost like another day. Opening the present and keep going on with life. Ships in the night.

This is the little kid in me kicking and screaming because things have changed and I DON’T like it! I want things to be the way I want them because that’s how I want them!

I want the memories of when Christmas was special. Little faces glowing with the thrill of lighting a Christmas Tree and the joy of hanging stockings. Waking up early to peek and see if Santa rally came. Me staying up half the night to get everything wrapped and under said tree.

Pause. Breathe. Breathe.

Maybe I don’t want to invest in Christmas this year because I know it is going to be different. It can’t not be different. My Aunt is in a nursing home and can’t go to my parents’ house on the Day. And it isn’t even my parents house any longer, it is my parent house. Mom is not there anymore and I really needed her this week.

Truth?

I don’t want to wake up Christmas morning and have it any different from all the years of my life.

I don’t want to wake up any day of my life and have it any difference than it ever has been.

Impossible, I know. It is already different. It can’t help but be different. Every breath I take makes a difference.

The question is, how can I learn to live with the difference, not only on Christmas Day, not only with the ever-evolving relationship with my kids, my job, my family, but with the ever-evolving relationship with myself?

Does who I am today, on Christmas Eve Eve, have to be less-or-different than on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? This year? Next year? Ten years from now?

And I’m back to the Christmas Tree. I am angry with my kids for not putting the tree up because having the tree up means something to me from my past that I want them to understand and respect, even though they can’t. It’s not their past with the Christmas Tree which was, with my Ex, rather sporadic at best.

Do I think that if I stop my life it won’t pass me by? If I hold my breath, stubbornly, the world will relent and let me have my way? At Christmas Time or anytime?

At least holding onto my anger feels like I am doing something…..

 

Christmas Time is Here! 12-21-2017

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I went looking for horse Christmas images yesterday and, of course, found a-plenty. True horse lover, I was unable to decide which picture to use so I decided to use them all. This means, yes, prepare for five days of pictures of horses and the holiday. Selfishly, I am going to bombard you with horses just because I want to see them!

I must admit, I am having a hard time finding my Christmas Spirit. Maybe because the past year has been such a struggle, but, when has the year not been a struggle? There are always struggles in each and every life.

Reading your blogs has been eye-opening and a point-of-stability for me. It’s easy to feel like you are the only one struggling against this or that or whatever, but hard to feel alone when you, my fellow bloggers, are so open and honest both in your personal musing and in your writings. You inspired me to do better, be better, live better.

Now, back to the Christmas Spirit.

The tree isn’t up.  My excuse is that my kids put up the tree. It’s artificial (the tree), so how hard is it to walk the box from the basement to the living room, set up the base and snap in the branches?

So, I hear you say, why don’t you do it yourself?

See, this is my problem. I refuse to do it. Partly out of stubbornness, partly out of pique. I asked them to put up the tree and they agreed. Let me point out here, the kids I am speaking of are 22 and 25. Responsible young adults, you say? Well, with a mother’s love, I say not really.

No, that’s not altogether true. They are young adults and, mostly responsibly. As responsible as any young adult at their ages.

Let me say here, I love both my kids very much!

But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to miss them. Can you tell they both live at home?

I am proud of both my daughter and son. Daughter being a hard term since she was born my son.

Wow, never wrote that before. It has been a long struggle from that first day when he informed me he was a she. I think we, she and I, have finally come to an understanding. She is living her life as she wants. She is happier. She is moving towards responsible adult. What more can I ask? (Besides chores around the house and some $$ to help pay bills).

As for my youngest son, I am so proud of the progress he has made. Just when I think nothing will ever change with him, that he will let life pass him by, he up and proves me wrong.

So how did this monologue go from Christmas horse pictures to Christmas spirit to kids?

Just one of the mysteries of life, I suppose.

(Four more days of musing to conclude this anybody?)

 

 

 

 

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner 9-27-2017

The challenge for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner opens early Thursday morning, September 21st. Allow the prompt to take you anywhere you want to go! (Limit your stories to 200 words.) This challenge is open until 11:00 pm Friday night, September 29th, 2017.

Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner


 

He leaned back in the taxi, ignoring the glitterati of the city around him.  It had been a long day, dawn to dusk, full of horns and exhaust and the low, steady, rumble in the heart of the city.

Beethoven sounded loud in the cab – Dun Dun Dun Da – and he pulled out his cell.

“Yes?”

“The vote came in about fifteen minutes ago, Mr. Dunbar.”

“And?”

“Sandy Thompson won.”

“I see.”

There was a long pause. “What did you wish me to do, sir?”

“Nothing at all.”

“Are you sure?”

“Yes, Mrs. Jones, I am.”

He clicked off the phone.  “Nothing at all,” he repeated to himself. He had Ms. Thompson right where he wanted her.

The sounds of the city were music to his ears.

Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner 9-8-2017

Rusty Gate

Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner


 

Tom pulled himself up and over the wall, dropping into the overgrown courtyard beyond. “Come on, dude.”

Danny dropped beside him. “This is stupid.”

“Which room?”

“On the left.”

Tom ran across the courtyard, followed by Danny.  They peered into the darkness, seeing a broken table, a blanket of leaves and trash scattered into the corners.

“Who was killed?”

“A hooker.”

“How?”

“Like Jack the Ripper!”

Tom’s eyes widened. “Truth?”

“Yeah.”

A clatter sounded from across the courtyard.

They turned to stare; saw nothing.

“Let’s go.”

Ignoring him, Tom crept into the murder room, foot kicking something under the leaves. He pulled up a rusted knife.

“Is that blood?”

“No.”

“Yes!”

Another clatter.

“Someones coming!”

“Hide!”

“Run!”

The sound of footsteps approaching.

“Run! Run! Run!”

They tumbled out of the room, pounding across the courtyard.  Up and over the wall. Neither stopped running until they reached Tom’s house.

Behind them, in the shadows, something chuckled.

 

FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER 8-26-2017

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The challenge for Flash Fiction for the Purposeful Practitioner will open early Thursday morning, August 24th. Allow the prompt to take you anywhere you want to go! (Limit your stories to 200 words.)

This challenge is open until 11:00 pm Friday night, August 31st, 2017.


Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner


 

“It’s there again!” he said, peering out beyond the window shade.

“What?”

“The green bicycle.” Whispered.

“Oh for God’s sake, Sam, grow up.”

“But it’s a spy bike,” he assured his mother. “Really.”

“It’s a bike, nothing more.”  She swished back into the kitchen.

“It’s not,” he whispered, still watching.

A window above the bike opened and a boy dropped to the sidewalk. He jumped on the bike and pedaled quickly away.

Sam ran to the door. He was just about to step outside, when his mother called.

“Sam! Come back and finish your supper!”

“But MOMMMMM!”

“No!”

Sulking, he slunk back to the table. “Spies don’t eat peas.”

“Of course they do, Sam. That’s what makes them so sneaky!”

 

 

 

FLASH FICTION FOR THE PURPOSEFUL PRACTITIONER 8-26-2017

bird

JulyMorgueFile file3771234848491

Flash Fiction for the Practical Practitioner

 

“Do you think it would be good to eat?”

She cuffed him. “Birds aren’t for eating!”

“Of course they are! I know they are!”

“You are nothing but a silly boy. You just wanting to kill everything.”

The bird’s tail feathers twitched and both were instantly mesmerized, eyes taking in every detail. Bo-Bo flicked his tail, making silent meowing sounds.

Princess curled her tail, cuffing him again on the ear with one paw. “Stop that. You’ll scare it away. It’s pretty.”

“Pretty? Pretty? Who cares about pretty?”

She sniffed, just enough to show her disdain.  “Killer.”

“Fluff-head.”

“Take that back!” she hissed.

“You take it back!”

They tumbled together, teeth and claws. Neither realized the bird was gone until too late.

Both hissed, glaring at each other.

“What mother would name her kitten Bo Bo?”

“Better than Princess.”

“No it’s not! Princess is a great name.”

“Is not!”

“Is!”

“Isn’t!”

Another bird settled on the fence.

“Shuuush!”

“Pretty.”

“Good to eat.”

“Shuuuush……..”