Archive for the ‘stories’ Category

SUGAR THE SUPER HORSE

April 24, 2018

Bareback on Sugar

I want to pay a final tribute to my first horse, Sugar. She put up with me when I was just beginning to ride and to understand horses. She taught me about friendship and loyalty, and I credit her with my lifelong love of horses. Sugar is the Pinto I write about in the first chapter of Horse Dreams, the first book in the Backyard Horses series, the shaggy mare that becomes a best friend. She probably made an appearance or two in the Winnie the Horse Gentler and Horsefeathers! series, but I’d have to look that one up. (Or, if any of my wonderful readers would like to inform me, that would be great. Many of my horse-loving readers know the details of those books better than I do!)

I remember sitting by Sugar’s side on that last day. Her chest barely moved, and I watched it to make sure it did. Her breath was raspy, but she didn’t seem to be in pain. I stayed out in the pen with her well after dark, missing supper, until I couldn’t take it anymore. I returned to the house and curled up on the couch. I pretended to be asleep, but minutes later I heard my sister ask Mom, “Should we wake her up?” And Mom answered, “No. It will keep.” And I knew Sugar was gone.

But not completely. That night I broke out a fresh Big Chief tablet and started writing down everything Sugar and I had ever done together–the morning rides before school, the “explores” after school, the races with Maureen and Rocket, the Cowboys and Indians games with neighbors and cousins. When I ran out of stories, I made up more. I created “Sugar the Wonder Horse,” followed by the sequel, “Sugar the Super Horse.” So maybe that first horse taught me even more than I thought.

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HORSE PALS?

April 13, 2018

Sug Rocket Dan Mo

This foursome–Dandi, Sugar, Rocket, and Maureen–made some fearsome rides in Hamilton, Missouri. Note the sleepy horses and the flashy dressers in their striped shirts, cardigans, and barrettes? We usually rode bareback, though our parents insisted we use bridles (at least when we rode outside the pasture). Hamilton offered us country dirt roads and rarely a car to get in our way.

Maureen and I got along very well for sisters, and you might assume the same could be said of Rocket and Sugar. You would be wrong. Sugar owned us before Rocket came along, and she never let any of us forget that. Poor Rocket took a couple of kicks from Sugar before realizing who was boss. When Sugar died (more on that sad day in the next blog), she lay on the ground while the vet came and we did all we could as Rocket looked on. Then miraculously, Sugar got to her feet. Ears flat back, she walked up to Rocket and kicked her. One last time.

WITH LOVE, IN MARSEILLES

February 10, 2018

Marseille love (2)

During their service in WW2, Lt. Helen Daley and Lt./Capt. Frank R. Daley miraculously arranged a few short rendezvouses. This one is in the book–Marseilles, France, in Southern France, on the Mediterranean. On the back of the photo, Mom (Helen) has written: “Marseilles. We climbed all of the church’s steps this day!” It would be great to have a clearer photo of the view of the city, the seascape, and landscape. But it’s pretty clear to me that Helen and Frank only had eyes for each other.

WITH LOVE, for Grandfather “Pete”

February 8, 2018

Pete 1942 (2)

Although I was barely 3 when my Grandfather Daley died, I remember him. I’m sure stories have blended with memory so that I can’t separate them, but I don’t want to. I called him “Pete,” not “Grandfather” or any variation thereof. I sensed his kindness and good humor. One story of where my “Dandi” name came from says that when I was born, Pete declared, “She’s a dandy!” I can still see him leaving our house and heading for his car, with me running after him, begging to come along. This photo from 1942 is labeled Camp Robinson. The Arkansas camp trained soldiers and housed German prisoners during WW2. And from 1942-1944, a Medical Training Replacement Center was located there to train soldiers as medical personnel. 13,500 trainees passed through in 8-week training cycles. The time was shortened if medics were needed more quickly. Pete is briefly mentioned in a couple of anecdotes in WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE. Like many of the characters in the novel, Pete deserves his own book.

SALE: WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE– $2.99 for 2 weeks, the e-book everywhere

February 1, 2018

with-love

This is the day I’ve been building up to in these posts. Thanks for sticking with me this far. For the 2 weeks of the sale, I’ll be posting more war photos and hoping you’re not tired of me. . . or of my parents’ story.

ARMY BUDDIES IN WW2

January 30, 2018

3 soldiers (2)

If you’ve read WITH LOVE, WHEREVER YOU ARE, you already know that Dr. Frank Daley, here a captain in the Army during WW2, had a number of war buddies. These soldiers were also medical doctors, treating patients suffering from trench foot, burns, bullet wounds, shell shock, rare diseases, and every kind of injury. Frank is the one on the left. The soldier in the middle is Lartz, Frank’s best buddy. Although I have a couple of guesses as to the identity of the third man, no one labeled this picture, so I’m in the dark. My guess as to location would be Alsace-Lorraine or Germany. My hope is that the tanks are Allied.

WITH LOVE…LETTERS & PHOTOS

January 23, 2018

Helen cot (2)

Young Helen and Frank met in basic Army training during WW2. They only knew each other for a few weeks before getting married and then being shipped overseas to the front lines–to different fronts, different countries. For months at a time, all they had to keep their marriage together were 3 things: Love letters (They wrote 2-3 times a day, every day.); prayers; and photos, like the ones you see in the background beside Helen’s bunk. Helen’s bracelet was a gift from Frank. In one of his letters, he mentions that one of the German prisoners was making bracelets out of foreign coins for men to send home to their wives. Frank collected coins from every city where he and his wife pulled off a rendezvous. And now, I have that bracelet.

WITH LOVE…WHEREVER YOU’RE GOING

January 18, 2018
train

Lt. Frank on a German Freight Train

My last post was of Mom (Helen) in her helmet, so I needed to post this one of Dad (Frank) in his. He hated to cover his curly black hair, but he definitely needed to wear his helmet. Here, he’s on a “captured” German train that had carried prisoners to concentration camps. He and a few other doctors are heading to Alsace-Lorraine, and then he’ll move into German battlefields. In case you’re wondering what’s with that odd expression, the only words on back of the photo are: “I’m sucking on a piece of hard candy.”

WITH LOVE…WHATEVER YOUR BAGGAGE

January 16, 2018

baggage (2)

I love the smile on Lt. Helen Eberhart’s face here. This photo doesn’t give her location, but I’m guessing someone snapped the picture early in her WW2 service as an Army nurse in England and France. Look at those un-Army shoes, which soldiers weren’t to wear, and this must have been one of the few times she wore her helmet (She hated all Army “hats.”). And yet . . . look at that smile.

HAPPY (HORSEY) NEW YEAR!

January 1, 2018

dandis-christmas-card_edited.jpg

The pretty one in this photo is Angel, obviously. He was the first colt born to one of our mares, Rocket (not pictured). Angel did not like the big red bow we stuck on his forehead. Shortly after this photo was taken, our sweet “Angel” turned and bit me. Ah, memories…. But I learned a lot about horses as we grew together.

The first day of a New Year makes me think of God’s amazing forgiveness, a grace offered to us through Jesus Christ. We get a fresh start, a clean slate, something no one else can give us. I pray that 2018 will draw us closer to God, to family and friends. Resolutions–they can help or depress me. My amazing husband gives me a gift every year, something I’ve never heard any other person willing to do. He lets me give him 5 things I’d like him to change about himself. Can you believe that? He’s such a good guy that over the years, he’s stopped chewing gum (like a 12 year old) in my presence; refrained from shutting down my backseat driving; started cheering for Mizzou, the Cards, and the Chiefs. I hate to admit it, but I’m running out of resolutions for him.

Anyone feel like sharing New Year’s Resolutions, past or present??