Chincoteague and Pony Penning Revisited 2-13-2020

Related image

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

Image result for chincoteague island map

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.

Image result for chincoteague island horses

 

 

Image result for misty of chincoteague

All photos are in the public domain.

 

 

 

 

Question of the Day 3-20-2018

Please feel free to answer these questions on your blog or in the responses. If you leave me a link to your post, I will re-post it on my blog. You can also feel free to forward these questions to anybody who might be interested. Thank you to those who have already shared their thoughts.


If you could only watch one movie for the rest of your life, which one would you watch?

I am not much of a movie watcher anymore. I don’t know if it is because my attention span has shortened and I don’t want to put the hour and a half to two hours into one sitting or if, as a writer, I don’t want to get sucked into another world when I am trying to remained focused on my real world and my fictional world.  There are only so many worlds a girl can take, after all.

I’ve seen a lot of good movies in my time, but none of them jump out as the only movie I would watch for the rest of my life.  In the end, the choice would come down to three – Arsenic and Old Lace with Cary Grant, Skinwalkers, or one of the many classic silent films from Buster Keaton or Charlie Chaplin.

If you love old movies and you have never seen Arsenic and Old Lace, you should definitely give it a watch. It is a screwball comedy of the best sort with Cary Grant at his hilarious best! If you are into silent movies, Buster Keaton’s The General is a classic and well worth watching. The same for just about any Chaplin short or film from his early to middle career.  Modern Times and The Dictator are classic movies, but not typical of Chaplin’s earlier body of work.

Skinwalkers is based on the Navaho mysteries written by Tony Hillerman, done for the PBS Mystery series. There are three movies in the series, Skin Walkers, Coyote Waits and A Thief of Time. All are excellent movies, but only one, remember! Drat!

Knowing me, I would pick out my one, get to whatever place has no other movies ever, and remember the one I really would rather have picked. Luckily, this is a choice I don’t have to make.

What is the one, or two or three, movies you would choose?

Question of the Day 3-19-2018

Please feel free to answer these questions on your blog or in the responses. If you leave me a link to your post, I will re-post it on my blog. You can also feel free to forward these questions to anybody who might be interested. Thank you to those who have already shared their thoughts.


What are you proud of? What is your biggest accomplishment so far?

I was watching Bi-Polar documentaries last night on Youtube, trying to find one I could give to my Dad to help him understand the world in which I live. As I watched each, however, I kept discarding them. Okay, so reality check. My Bi-Polar isn’t your Bi-Polar. Your Bi-Polar isn’t mine.

Nothing fit. To be honest, it was the parts about suicide which didn’t fit. I know suicide is a serious issue for many with Bi-Polar, but it has never been an issue for me. Maybe because, as a writer, I have characters who can take on that pain for me. I have had characters attempt suicide. I have had characters kill themselves, but I have never wanted to or tried to kill myself.

A proud point? Yes.

A point I want to emphasis to my father? No. Not really.

It is hard enough dealing with myself, much less putting out information to my father which does not apply to me. Would he believe me if I said I never wanted to kill myself?

Does it matter if he believes me or not? Yes, it does. I feel so alienated from my family most of the time that I don’t want anything else to come between us. They walk on eggshells around me as it is. I don’t want to be handled. I don’t want Bi-Polar/suicide to be my place in my family.

Does that make sense?

So proud, but still confused.

Does anybody have any suggestions on what Bi-Polar programs might be a good introduction for the normal world?

 

 

 

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.
2257458b88e6f6cd60054b2f1554fe76

 

“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

ponyforxmas.jpg

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……

horseforxmas

(images from Pinterest)

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Sunday Photo Fiction 9-24-2017

Walking in fall was the best, he decided, scuffing his boots through the leaves. He liked the nip in the air, the cold night, the shortening days.

“All right, time to walk on your own,” he said, lifting Andrea off his shoulders and to the ground.

Off she went, tottering and laughing at the crunching leaves.

He hadn’t wanted to take her when her mother died, hadn’t wanted the responsibility. She wasn’t his child, but he was as close to a father as she had ever known.

She tumbled, silent for a moment as if not sure whether to laugh or cry.

His heart melted. A career was a career. This was….

This was….. well, he didn’t know what this was.

Scooping her up, he lifted her above his head, spinning wildly to her shrieks and laughter.

She’d changed something inside of him, something vital, something he’d never wanted but now would never let go.

Dropping her down, he hugged her tight.  “Don’t you worry, baby girl. Daddy’s here forever.”

 

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

makesbike

JulyMorgueFile file581316132183

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!”