Horsin’ Around

I’ve always loved horses.

If you were to visit me, you’d find a dozen framed photos and posters throughout my house. I have no idea where my equestrian streak stems from, but it’s there, ignited at a moment’s notice, bringing me to an assortment of Americans, and their mounts, as they’re reverently called.

Where shall I start? With Caroline Kennedy’s pony, Macaroni, a gift from Vice President Lyndon Johnson when she was 3, uploads%2F2016%2F12%2F8%2Fmacaroni_5.jpg%2Ffit-in__1440x1440.jpgor her mom’s first mare, named Danseuse, she often called Danny.

JFK didn’t like horses much since he was allergic to them, passing it on to his namesake, John Junior, who didn’t ride either.

So, let’s begin with Theodore Roosevelt’s Little Texas 18241_114028686813.jpg he majestically rode up San Juan Hill.

When you go to Sagamore Hill, his home in Oyster Bay, Long Island, Little Tex is buried in its pet cemetery.

Teddy killed everything that moved, but when it came to his horses, all bets were off, so to speak.

While in the White House, he had Bleistein, imported from Sagamore Hill along with the rest of TR’s beloved family.

Gen._Ulysses_S._Grant_and_horse_-_NARA_-_527523-e1456439733938-1024x976.jpgU.S. Grant during the American Civil War, favored Cincinnati, the son of Lexington, the fastest four-mile thoroughbred in the country at the time. He also had a secondary horse called Jack, and another, Jeff Davis.

Not to be undone, we mustn’t forget Traveller, Robert E. Lee’s gray colored stallion that never left his side during that same war.General_R._E._Lee_and_Traveler-1024x738.jpg His backup horse was called Lucy Long, a gift from General J.E.B. Stuart, a favorite of Lee’s who was killed at the Battle of Yellow Tavern in 1864.

When Lucy was captured during the Second Battle of Winchester in 1863, Lee, after the war, out of sentiment for Stuart, paid a vast amount to get her back. That tale always warms me, that he cared so much.

As for Traveller, dying not long after his master in 1871, his colt, as Lee called him, is buried alongside him at Lee Chapel on the grounds of Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia.

Abraham Lincoln’s horse was called Old Bob he trotted around Washington looking almost as if Bob were a pony, Abe being 6’4 and all, his feet almost touching the ground.

George Armstrong Custer’s, Comanche, was a mixed-breed who survived the Battle of the Little Bighorn (June 25, 1876) though his master did not. 

Whenever I see a riderless horse at a funeral, I think of Comanche coming home alone…

a riderless horse without a rider, boots reversed in the stirrups symbolizing the fallen.

Unknown Blackjack at JFK’s funeral, November 25, 1963.

Staying with Civil War Generals and their 4-footed friends…

William Tecumseh Sherman had Dolly, then Duke, he rode during his famous March to the Sea.

James Longstreet’s main horse was Fly-By-Night, a gift from Robert E. Lee, but was on Hero, during the Battle of Gettysburg.

George McClellan favorited Kentuck, with Black Burns and Daniel Webster as secondaries.

Thomas Stonewall Jackson only had Little Sorrel, whose bones are buried at the Virginia Military Institute Museum in Lexington, by a stature of Jackson.

Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, Union hero of Gettysburg’s Battle of Little Round Top, rode Charlemagne he himself bought for $150.

J.E.B. Stuart had Skylark, Highfly, and My Maryland, but rode a mare named Virginia during the Gettysburg campaign. Not too surprising being the ladies’ man that he was.

And last but not least, Union General, Philip Sheridan’s Rienzi, later renamed Winchester after his famous ride at the Battle of Winchester, who, if you’re interested, is stuffed and on display at The Smithsonian Museum of National History in Washington D.C..829_l.jpg

Well, it’s of tremendous interest to me. 🙂

  SB

 

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Best Story of the Week…October 17

My doorman and his wife adopted a new puppy.

Sunny, is her name, and she’s part Beagle, part Lab with a little Pitt tossed in.

Her mother, clearly, was a busy girl.

When I asked how Sunny was doing, Mike said, “Well, okay, but she’s in the doghouse.”

“What did she do?”

“She ate my wife’s slipper.”

“Uh-oh. I guess your wife wasn’t too happy.”

“No, they were brand new.”

“What did she do? Did she yell at her?”

“No, she just gave her the other one.”  Unknown.jpeg

🙂

 

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Flip Your Seat

I’m at the library on Sunday when they first open, looking forward to a nice, long read.

Their reading room, resembling a huge living room with sofas and easy chairs, is sure to be empty, so I’m sure to get my favorite armchair by the window.

To my surprise, I walk in with a teenage boy, a copy of The Three Musketeers tucked under his arm, aimed for the same seat.

We look at each other sheepishly, both too polite to just grab it, so I say.

“How bout we flip a coin?”

He scratches his mop of haphazard hair before mumbling, “Okay,” with a half smile.

I take out a quarter, flip it in the air and say, “Call it,” like a Vegas croupier.

“Heads,” he says, his eyes all lit up.

I look at the coin. “Wow, you win.”

He hesitates before sitting down.

“No, no,” I say, “you won fair and square.”

Well, not entirely.

What I haven’t mentioned is, it was really tails, but hey, anything for a kid.

🙂      images-2.jpeg

SB

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Club Med

images.jpeg No, I’m not in Waikiki, I’m referring to my spanking new meditation practice that’s a vacation all in itself, just without leaving the house.

For ten minutes twice a day, beginning and end, I shut down my mind leaving a mental note…gone fishin’.

It’s weird at first, sitting still, the go-go girl that I am, but after getting the hang of it, I now could easily be an art installation.

By the way, there are no right nor wrong ways to meditate. You don’t need to be sitting on a pillow in a lion cloth in the Lotus position, wooing leg cramps muttering OM till your lips go numb.

A meditational myth if there ever was one.

I sit up in bed with a pillow propped against the wall, my legs out, hands at my side in what I call, Rita Hayworth pose.

No candles or incense, no CD of waves waving in the background bought on Amazon with free shipping while trying to channel Gandhi who I’ll bet too, meditated in his pajamas. images.jpeg

Oh come on, that Speedo he wore was to make a point, but home at the ashram, you can bet Mahatma was comfy.

That said.

Does one feel better after a good 10 minute dose of silence? Yes, and sometimes, it even goes longer, like 15 or 20 because, once those chattering monkeys  Unknown.jpeg who keep you up at night get the hint, when those baby blues flutter back open, you find yourself, a new girl. images-1.jpeg

So to speak.

SB

 

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Best Story of the Week…October 11

Yom Kippur, the Jewish Day of Atonement…7:15 a.m.

From sundown to sundown, one fasts in quiet contemplation, repenting for any wrongdoing committed throughout the year.

I’m on the runner’s track headed for home, when I come upon two boys, perhaps 6 and 7, dressed in identical school uniforms: gray wool slacks, navy blazers, the tails of their white button-downs billowing in the breeze…ties undone, tiny, shiny loafers picking up the early light, strolling in what seems to be serious conversation.

You can just see them tucking in those shirts, like pros, a block away from school.

A woman, I assume is their nanny, is walking up ahead. As I get closer, I see she’s not their nanny at all, but their mom, holding a Torah gently in her hands.

We both, at the same time, look back at the two boys.

“Are they brothers,” I ask with a smile she warmly returns.

“Yes,” she says, “close as can be, and as much as they begged, I didn’t want to keep them out of school to go to Temple, even though they insist on fasting like me and my husband.”

“They look like little men,” I say, still smiling, because they did, the way they walked with such purpose, one listening intently to the other.

“Yes, they are little men,” says the mother, “and hope they will grow to be good men.”

Suddenly the littler one calls out, “Mama, I’m feeling, well, I don’t think I can go all day this hungry. Can we stop and get a muffin please?”

She smiles.

 “Of course we can Ari.”

“They are still only little men,” she then says to me, with what I can only describe as wistful joy.

“Little men, I love so, so much.”

How’s that for a tender tale.

SB

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The Ephemerals

The word ephemeral is an adjective I’ve shamelessly coined as a noun, meaning, lasting for a short time…fleeting, brief, almost as if you dreamt it.

I’m referring to people who come and go, check in and out of your life as if you were a midtown hotel.  Unknown-1.jpeg

It’s always mystifying to me, not to mention hurtful.

They say in AA, if you’re bothered by someone’s behavior, it’s merely mirroring yours.

Busted.

Yes, I’ve done it too, took leave unexpectedly, but to defend myself, always with a polite farewell. I don’t make it a practice of flying the coop when one isn’t looking.

One woman who was pretty constant just disappeared. When I reached out to make certain she was okay, and to ask, was I at fault, in an email she said, no, but have never heard from her again.

It’s a shame since I liked her so very much though, I’ll admit, not for very long.

Another lady I’ve known for 30 years also made skid marks after  suggesting we look at the good more often. In her 7th decade she has no desire to count her many blessings, so I’ve become the enemy. She even purposely ignored my birthday to make her point. Okay, got it.

Don’t need to be punched twice.

Then there’s that fella I was canoodling with who decided he didn’t have time to care, being a musician and all, traveling, needing his space, space, by the way, I’ve never asked for. I’m often accused of things I’m not guilty of.

He should really think about leaving his ego, the size of a tuba, to science.

Frankly I smell younger gal, blonde, tattooed since this guy, despite his 6th decade, is still a punk, so to speak. Toss in some casual abuse that comes with cleavage and lanky legs and he’s yours, which was something else that I apparently did wrong.

I was kind.

OOPS!

How dull is that, to be loving and thoughtful, generous and understanding to a fault.

I want a bitch who keeps me up at night, in more ways than one.

My friend Camille often reminds me that, make-up sex after a fiery feud, breathes new life into a dynamic duo whose tires may be going flat.

But ya see, I’m more invested in peace these days than warfare, so just to swing from that chandelier, Unknown-1.jpegone more time, really doesn’t interest me.

Call me crazy.   images.png

SB

 

Posted in friendship, humanity, humor, Love, men, Uncategorized, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , | 82 Comments

Good Training

images-1.jpeg So here I am on the Number 6 at 4: a.m. on a Saturday, headed downtown to an early job.

One can’t help but be impressed by the New York City subway system, even when it misbehaves, being the Concorde of public transportation.

Packed at all hours, day and night, gives it a Vegas feel as if all clocks stop once you’re underground.

My car is flush with an assortment of folk fresh from a festive Friday night, attire, a second ago so chic, now garish in the harsh, overhead light.

Cleavage yawns beneath tube tops and camisoles.

I watch a lovely Latina reinstall a false eyelash while her man naps across her lap.

A lad of 20 with what looks to be, Michael the Archangel, stenciled on his forearm, sings softly to himself.

I daydream despite the chatter remembering what it was like being that young, when a plus-sized gal plops next to me, pinning my arm against her plump, spandexed hip.

As I try breaking free, she gives me her best…you gotta problem…look, I at once counter with my own well honed, no, do you?

It’s kind of like a traveling circus. A sideshow tossed in with your fare.

One couple smooching, another arguing…a Pug, like a Jack-In-The-Box, pops his head out of a gym bag.

But I’ve saved the best for last, when a Latino family gets on, the dad holding a bouncy baby, the mom, the hand of a little senorita with daisies plaited through her hair.

By the looks of them, you’d never guess the hour, their smiles lighting up the car like Spanish sunbeams.

It was then I noticed Gramma propped in the corner with a gigantic Snoopy under her arm she’s hugging as if they’re lovers.

As I get off at Spring, smiling at my seat mate knowing, she nor anyone else will remember the likes of me, but I on the other hand, in great detail, shall remember, the likes of them.

images-1.jpeg

🙂

SB

 

 

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Dear Mr. Vonnegut

I found myself in Turtle Bay, a part of Manhattan from 43rd to 53rd Streets, stretching from Lexington to the East River.

It’s mostly known for the long time home of the late Katharine Hepburn, but for me it has a different significance.

The writer, Kurt Vonnegut, also lived there.

Worshiping at his honorable altar, wanting so much to write like him, never being afraid of what others think, proving, one’s truth is often poignant and always very personal.

I decided, being in the neighborhood, to make a pilgrimage to 228 East 48th Street.Unknown.jpeg

I was surprised at how rundown the townhouse was, not knowing if his wife and daughter still lived there, but it didn’t stop me from gazing up to the 4th floor where he wrote many of the books I so treasure.

He was walking down his front steps with Flour, his beloved dog, he was rarely without, when he became tangled in Flour’s leash, kurt600.jpg causing him to fall.

Never regaining consciousness, he died from a traumatic brain injury on April 11th, 2007 at the age of 84.

Staring at those steps I wanted to hug, involuntary tears ran down my cheeks.

It was then, I swear, a warmth swept over me feeling a familiar hand on my shoulder, specially expressed from the ether.

“And Lot’s wife, of course, was told not to look back where all those people and their homes had been. But she did look back, and I love her for that, because it was so human. So she was turned into a pillar of salt.
― And so it goes.”  K.V.   Slaughterhouse-Five.

 images.jpeg

Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1922-2007)

SB

 

Posted in animals, Books, creative writing, grace, Love, New York City, Women and men, words, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 48 Comments

Tom Foolery

A dog, a mutt if you will, the size of a pork roast, is eying a stick the length of Long Island.

Yours truly is watching while stretching against a tree.

His owner, off a ways, is busy picking up poop, bless his law abiding heart, searching for it amid the leaves as our canine hero examines the stick as if he’s about to take a measurement, going right to left, left to right.

Suddenly I hear, “Tom, come on Tom let’s go,” but Tom appears to be still contemplating.

Tom then backs up like a souped up Chevy before charging, headed straight for the middle, grabbing that stick evenly before trotting after his master, who doesn’t seem the least bit surprised.

images.jpeg

SB

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More Things You May Not Know

The quote, To Thine Own Self Be True, comes from Hamlet, Polonius giving his son, Laertes, some good fatherly advice.

It also graces the AA coins one gathers, Unknown.jpeg symbolizing another grateful year of sobriety.

That Shakespeare, they don’t call it Will Power, for nothing.

George Washington was petrified of being buried alive by accident, a common occurrence in his day, since laudanum, made with opium, was freely given for pain, lowering your vital signs making one appear dead when they were just out cold.

George instructed Martha to wait 2 days before burial, just to make sure.

As an added bonus, his last words were...tis well.

How’s that for a graceful parting.

Joe DiMaggio, when Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 at the age of 36, even though they were no longer married still running the show so to speak, wouldn’t allow Frank Sinatra to attend her funeral, holding him responsible for her introduction to the Kennedys he believed were behind her death.  images.jpeg

Every time George Burns canoodled on Gracie Allen, he bought her an unexpected piece of jewelry. It’s how she always knew.

Michael Jackson paid a witch doctor $150.000 to put a curse on Steven Spielberg because he wouldn’t cast him in his film, Hook. Seems it backfired since ET’s dad is still making millions, his latest, a remake of West Side Story.

Did Mr. S. know then, casting an alleged child molester in a film about lost boys hit a little too close to home? Gives art imitating life a whole new face, doesn’t it?

Tom Sawyer was the first book written on a typewriter.

Writer, Jack Kerouac, Unknown-1.jpeg though his most famous book is called, On The Road, never learned to drive.

Ernest Hemingway wrote most of the time, standing up.

An octopus lays 55,000 eggs at one time. It’s a pity she can’t sell them at a fertility clinic. Think of the money she’d make.

Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor, Larry King and Mickey Rooney were all married 8 times.

Stephen Stills of Crosby Stills and Nash, in 1969, wrote Suite: Judy Blue Eyes for folk singer Judy Collins, his girlfriend, soon to be ex, at the time.

“I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are…
You make it hard…”  images-2.jpeg30px-GClef.svg.pngSing it Steve!

Jim Carrey was the first choice to play Captain Jack Sparrow in Pirates of the Caribbean before losing out to Johnny Depp.

Speaking of Captain Jack, for his then lady love, Kate Moss’s 32nd birthday, Unknown-2.jpeg at London’s Portobello Hotel in Room 16, filled a Victorian clawfoot bathtub to the brim with the best champagne.

Oh Johnny, you’re such a romantic.

The Yankees have won the World Series 27 times, more than any other team.

Stephen Colbert was 10 years-old on September 11, 1974, when his father James, and two older brothers, Peter and Paul, were killed in a plane crash.

The scene in The Godfather when Sonny gets whacked at the tollbooth  Unknown.jpeg was done in one take, setting off 400 squibs of fake blood.

Before Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died at 64 on May 19th, 1994, she told her kids, after taking what they wanted, should sell everything of hers because they’d make a fortune.

Right she was.

The auction held at Sothebys in New York, took in 34 million dollars.

My favorite story:

Arnold Schwarzenegger married at the time to Maria Shriver, Jackie’s niece, paid $772.000 for one of John Kennedy’s rocking chairs. When John Jr. learned of this he said…

“You should’a told me Arnold. I’d have given it to ya.”

🙂  images-3.jpeg  Unknown-3.jpeg

SB

 

 

 

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