Please Marry Me

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 A few pencil scribbles and three Christmas stamps didn't identify the contents of the ragged white envelope pasted to a page of the old scrapbook - my scrapbook. What importance did this envelope have to me that I had saved it? I lifted the flap. I pulled out a small, folded piece of paper. Now I knew. I remembered... This was my first marriage proposal . . . from our neighbour's son, all of 6 years old.

In the last post, I wrote of a trunk, a trunk with enough material for several future posts. That's where I found the scrapbook and, in that scrapbook, the endearing note from little Keith (with the help of his mother, no doubt). Of course that small square of paper was important enough to keep! After all, how many girls get their first proposal of marriage hand written?

Unlike autograph books (the subject of the last post), scrapbooks have remained in vogue, even became an obsession to some… and given a verb form – ‘scrapbooking’. The scrapbook I pulled out of my trunk doesn’t much resemble those works of art we see now. It never did but now it’s tattered, yellowed and falling apart. Some pages are incomplete. Some the items have become 'unstuck'. But it’s mine... And it's priceless.

The Autograph Book

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Does anyone remember when autograph books were the craze? Do school girls still have them? Do they even know what they are of have they been replaced by Facebook and smart phones?

I think my mom and dad gave me an autograph book the Christmas I was in grade six. The only reason I know this is that I found it in that trunk I mentioned in my last blog and many of the entries are dated. The first page is all about me - my signature (same name!), pasted-in photos - one on my horse, Rocky, and one carefully cut-out of another photograph.

The Italian Connection

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Since my post last week about Florence, I can't get Italy off of my mind – the time I spent there, the experiences I had, the people I met. Since the subjects of Ridin', Reinin' and Writin' posts are whatever random things stick in my head or what’s near and dear to my heart, the topic of this post had already been chosen.
With that in mind, I started looking for the journal I kept while I was in Italy - the only time I’ve journaled in my life. It would be inspiration for my Monday blog post.

Although that quest didn't lead me to the journal , it did offer several hours of nostalgia . . . and inspiraton for many more posts. Everything that has sentimental value to me I keep in one trunk and that’s where I looked for the journal which, as I said, I didn’t find (I'm quite sure it will turn up). What I did find was a lot of memories – scrapbooks, photos, diary, baby books and blankets, dolls, toys, and much more . . . and a small leather binder holding a few letters I received when I was in Italy – one from each of my daughters and two more...

Where in the world is Florence?

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As most of you know by now, the subject of my weekly post on Ridin’, Reinin’ and Writin’ is either something that happened to me, something that has made an impression on me, a persistent thought I couldn’t shake or a topic that just dropped out of nowhere. This time that’s a town called Florence.

It all started with an email from a friend of mine who is holidaying with her husband in Arizona. She lets all of us who are wintering the frozen north live her adventures vicariously with beautifully designed pages in pdf format that she sends by email. I recently received several of their visits to Florence. Florence, Arizona? What? The Florence I know is in Italy! Another place, another time…

I pulled out an album from my shelf, thumbed through it quickly and soon found a few photos of the day I spent in Florence with Vern and Shawna Sapergia. I was working in Italy at the time training reining horses. My job didn’t leave a lot of time for sightseeing but my employer and his wife graciously hosted a one day visit to Florence. Vern (also working in Italy) and Shawna (visiting) joined us.

I remembered then that one of the first things that boggled my mind on my visit to Italy was how old the country really is! I viewed castles in Bari built in the 12th Century! In Florence, the age of churches, statues and bridges astounded me. Below is a photo I took of Santa Croce, a church built in 1294.

Horses We Love

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God gives us horses and compels some of us to love them. Yet why does the horse, an animal with such a big heart, live such a short life? Perhaps it's because if our horses lived any longer, we wouldn't be able to bear losing them.
~ From an essay posted on Chronicle of the Horse Re: Barbaro

Losing an equine friend is the hardest part of owning one. Who would not rather be cleaning stalls, hauling bales, treating wounds or any of the other various tasks associated with horse ownership than taking responsibility for ending his life and/or burying him? And yet, we must do that for the horses we love.

My world, both far-reaching and close by, has lost too many horses in the past few weeks.

Reasons to Quit

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“Reasons to Quit” is the title of a Merle Haggard/Willie Nelson song and that phrase (not the song) has been running through my mind for days now – long enough for me to pay attention. What possible connection could the words of that song have to me? Merle and Willie are talking about quitting smoking and drinking. That doesn’t make any sense. It has to be another line in the song:  “The reasons to quit don’t outnumber all the reasons why.”

Having just welcomed a new year and celebrated another birthday (they do keep happening, don’t they?), the reality of my decision to retire from the reining show pen is starting to sink in. Usually I would be planning for my show year – which horses to show, which shows to haul to, etc. – the absence of which leaves me a little lost. I didn’t make that decision to retire without thought – there were valid reasons – but now there’s a hole in my life plan that begs to be filled.