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1971 by the Light of the Hurricane Lamp

071720 J Elliott



Gettin older too. I have a young dog and she knows my trail is ending soon.

Hurts to know I’ve wasted so much, of the life I’ve passed through.

Young dog watches me with keen eyes, daily takes measure of my health by scenting my breath. She knows; she tells me; she nor I are thrilled about it – but we move through it.

So blessed to have her. Her not so blessed to have me. Too short.

This year more than others, been deep in remembering who I was decades ago. The best parts; with a husband who partnered in raising and showing Appaloosa horses.

We had a small operation in Yorba Linda, CA.

All after Vietnam.

We did very well with our yearling filly. In our first year we garnered enough regional show points to qualify for the Nationals in Las Vegas.

And went.

One class; Yearling fillies; 160 entrants and handlers for this class alone.


One by one eliminations we’re signaled out the gate – ten to be selected for the final judging draw.

One by one…

We still kept circling, showing, circling, showing.

160 fillies and handlers – down to 20, … 13, 12, 11.

7 pulled inside; then 8 and nine.

The 10th was pulled and I and our filly headed out the gate.

160 – we were last, out the gate.

In just over one year of competition & good wins we made it that far.

Against and with the best.

Once home, a few days later, we get a phone call – Bob answered – got a quizzical look on his face as he turns to me with a half smile to hand the phone…

Told me who it was, APHC headquarters and that I had won the Lady’s Showmanship award…

At the Nationals…

In Las Vegas!…


So many decades ago. Now I sit here in bed tapping out this awesome memory.

Several days ago by chance I came upon a belt buckle similar to the one Bob had made for me so long ago. It made me feel so much more alive than I had been feeling – I bought it…

It arrived just prior Bob’s 2012 death day.

Amazing what items may hold so much importance. The buckle Bob gifted me with – disappeared out of a ‘friends’ care – but this has filled a gap I was unaware existed this hugely; til now.

It looks good & feels good to wear it again. Thank you Bob. For everything.

Getting drowsy now as I glance over at the buckle, hanging off my belt, softly gleaming in the light cast by the Hurricane lamp.

It’s a present, healing, genuine comfort from a successful past, 1971.