I am inspired today to write about horses I have known because of a new friend, SCOTT GOOLD, whose beautiful site I just discovered. It’s a light-hearted day.

My first horse, Finlandia, I think I mentioned her before, was a sixteen-two flea-bitten gray mare perfect for a little girl, sort of. Sixteen-two refers to size, that is she stood 56 inches at the withers, where the neck and head come up, and I was about 36 inches top to toe. Mounting her was an athletic feat.

A flea-bitten gray is a horse of a different color, white with about a zillion little black flea- bite size spots. Landi was soft and fluffy and had a thick long tail and mane, a very high bear to groom. Big, raw-boned cold-blooded,  everybody who knew her loved her. She was my baby sitter, teacher, best friend and partner in crime. I’d climb aboard early in the morning after my parents left for work and disappear into the woods.

My father bought me this very tall horse because he was afraid I would fall off a bicycle.

He also sent me to Mills College Riding Academy, the best school of equitation on the West Coast. My first teacher was General Cress, the tiger of Luzon, a total pussy cat. He said I was a ‘natural’, but the truth was none of the school horses at Mills were big as Finlandia, therefore being closer to the ground gave me great confidence. The General’s daughter, Cornelia Van Ness Cress, was a holy terror but she liked me and was one of the best teachers I ever had.  We often rode together through the campus, just the two of us, on chilly mysterious misty foggy Bay Area days. Miss Cress would usually let me ride Indian, a delightful little bay, her dressage horse, who loved me as much as I loved him. On his back, in any horse show, I always  took the blue.

Landi and I rode for pleasure through the East Bay hills. I was going through a stage when I hated school-an awful ugly city school full of awful ugly city kids-and  often skipped. On Landi, no truant officer of any rank or dimension ever ran us down.

My best horsey friends lived in the neighborhood too  and we often rode together. The hills behind Oakland were lush woodsy hangouts for hoot owls, rattlesnakes and a bunch of  little girls playing hooky.

As long as I’ve had horses I’ve lived with them. We always kept them at home, not in a public or private stable, so, to me growing up, they were just big dogs. The American Indians, who had never seen a horse until the Spanish came, actually called them sacred dogs and got the hang of living with, training, riding, fighting and hunting with them very quickly. The Great Plains Indian horse culture  was the best light horse cavalry in the world, so our cavalry officers said- and they should know-they never won a fight against these tribes on field of battle.

Finlandia and I fought no wars and hunted no buffalo but together we were the best damn hooky players in the East Bay.


11 Responses

  1. Hey Bettejo –

    Always love to see your latest additions.
    Not much of a horse person (more of a tree-hugger and tree climber and beachcomber), but always enjoy your thoughtful, articulate insights.

    On the TGI blog, the swine continue to cast their feces at the pearls that exceed their comprehension.


    • You hit them whEre it hurts, EMERALD. You are pure class.

      Will go to the post office tomorrow. Hope Dave’s books has arrived.

      I’ve lost his blog address, can you send it to me. Hooe you love SCOTT and visit his site. He belongs. More and more sane, thoughtful, reasoning voices are popping up.

      Love’ya ME


  2. Hello again, Bettejo —

    I have noticed several times you have mentioned in the TGI web comments section about the book I sent not arriving yet. Maybe I’m just self conscious, but I hope people wouldn’t get the idea that I promised something and somehow I am holding out, or not following through on a promise. That would make me feel bad if they thought that. I will assure you, that I personally put a personalized copy of the book in the mail a week ago Tuesday (April 26). It is in a bubble-wrap book mailer, and I used a mailing label from the publisher, Word Wizards (DDWiz), which I initialed. I assume it was picked up the next morning. I sent it first class to the P.O. Box address you provided. I do not know how long it takes for mail to travel from Southern California to Kauai.

    If for any reason it has gotten lost or misdirected, I will be glad to try again, but for now I would prefer to give it some more time.

    Also I have passed along your blog page to DDWiz. He also follows the web comments dialogue, but for the most part has little interest in the bickering and squabbling that is stirred up by those who get frustrated at their inability to discuss issues. Love your term the “Reptilian Mid-brain.” I do think their mental faculties operate at a more primitive level, and they are not able to grasp or appreciate that which exceeds their capacity for understanding.


    Wordpress blog:


    • DAve, I’m used to mail being late. I don’t doubt you at all. Try to find and read Helen Caldicott on youtube. she’s talking about Fukushima. this is one brilliant and very angry lady. Today they found some new slurs for me. I am a wino and a rambler. they should take a moment and read some of ‘their’ kind. it’s typical. I think yoga-standing on one’s head-opens the pineal gland.
      Wouldn’t it be interesting if that were a a factor?

      Love EMERALD, she goes after them hammer and tong. Many other voices chiming in. I think sanity and reason is sneaking in the door. Every time ‘the others’ open their mouths they prove to the world what they are.
      I guess you read about that poor nanny goat that was killed in Kileaua. I was just out there. that’s whee my kids come from. They are so darling.

      Thank you for being there. Love’ya ME


      • They think you are a “wino” and a “rambler”?

        You mean, they think you are JESUS CHRIST, who noted that others called him a “drunkard” (in all translations other than King James, which says “winebibber”) and who was known to ramble on in sermons.

        I’d say that, as comparisons go, you could do a lot worse 🙂


      • Well I think they are afraid of me. What I’m doing now is like shooting fish in a barrell. I must tell you I am worried about my animals. the god freak who said he wanted me to live long enough to see everything I love die is just too sick. I’m not being paranoid. I kind of have a reverse paranoia, I think good things are happening behind my back, I’m not concerned about them, but I am protecting my animals.

        Maybe we’re related. Wouldn’t that be a trip?

        When you guys come in I get a rest. Love’ya ME


      • Received you book. Very stormy weather here. I’m going to hole up, like a bear hibernating, and read it through. So far I’ve turned down pages, written in the margins, done all bad things to this wonderful book. When I finish I will order another. Love you ME


      • Dave, had to stop for a moment.

        As devout non-believer I must say that I cannot love something that I don’t even know is. I do not worship Jesus. I think the bible is beautiful literature and very bad history. Would it matter if there were no god. Or God?

        For me it’s quite simple: I do not need a patriarchal god. Or any other kind of a god. I think the snake in Genesis spoke the first truthful words, “Thou shalt be as gods.” Chapter 3, verse 5.

        Or Spinoza who observed-and this is not a direct quote, he never met you, “See that tree? That’s god playing tree on planet earth, just as thou, Dave, are god playing Dave on planet earth.” Maybe I should state, that’s a ‘Bettejo’.

        As for King James, when one quotes the New Testament as writ by this guy, of whom I am quite unfond…was he not an English homosexual? Very religious Married off to a Danish (?) queen, sailed throuhg a storm in the channel, blamed it on witches and inserted the dreadful “Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.” Exodus 22:28.

        He also, so I read, passed a law making it a crime to teach Irish kids how to read. I’ll have to look that one up butI think that went on for years. Irish aristocrats who bailed, when Patrick and the Catholic church came along, often sent teachers back to Ireland to teach the kids in hedge row ‘schools’.

        Always loved the Irish heretics.

        Was it James with his mother at the foot of the cross? I better get back to Happy Ending and correct that. What I do know-or at least so the book tells us-his mother, his brother and Mary Magdelane were there.

        I like my story the best….

        … itinerant jewish rabbi, our hero, “…a man of the cloth without the cloth…” love you Carl Sagan…an Essene, who left the cult because he could not do the celibacy thing, survived the death on the cross, took Mary by the hand and got outta Dodge. Had a lotta kids and many descendants and that’s why some of us today have very small amygdalas.

        That’s what happens when one is a writer of fiction. a story teller. Creative. Imaginative. Okay, joyful and fun loving…

        I’ll confirm some of my statement later. I’m quite sure you are not a PETER ANSTON. Notice STUDIER is thinking of converting EMERALD. I think she will hold her own. This guy is a trip. If you don’t buy his interpretation he’ll send one to hell post haste. You are speaking to one who knows.

        I know nothing about Paul or Saul. Find him easy to understand. An early Jerry Foulwell. I blame Constantine. The church of Rome. Guess who has a direct wire? A red phone? The Roman Emperor, of course. Talk about giving yourself a promotion.

        Talk to you later.

        Yesterday it was so blustery when I went to the Post Office to pick up your book, I could hardly sand up straight the wind was so strong. The clouds in the mountains were the biggest and blackest I’ve ever seen. Wore foul weather gear and still got home wringing wet.

        Back to your book. Are you mad at me?

        Peace and love Bettejo

        I am not a Biblical Scholar, as you are.


      • We are in complete accord. We are saying exactly the same thing. Coming to the same conclusion. You say it in ‘bigger’ words-that’s a tee hee-and in a much more profound and complicated way. I would have said, before i met you, that alongside you I was a simpleton. You aught me not to present myself that way. I just get to the same place you got to in a different way.

        Oddly, and I think this is very odd-you’d have to know the ‘whole’ story-the someone who taught me to find my own way was a nun who was my teacher as a little girl, can’t even remember her name, who said, “Put in in your own words, Bettejo, and then decide for your self.” An odd lesson for a nun to be teaching.

        And then Father O’Connell-you’d just love this story, I must tell it to you one day-who told me I was a ‘free soul.” Then I had to go find out what that was and I went everywhere.

        With your book, it’s almost as if I ‘gleaned’ it before I read it. On page 21, in the top most margin I wrote, “I gleaned this book before I read it.”

        This notion came from Thomas Jefferson who said about some deep mysterious philosophical lengthy tome, “What I gleaned from that…” I do not have total recall. I often skim. My mind seems to pick out that which sends me in a direction and then, again oddly, the book or the writer or the idea I need falls in my lap. Off a book shelf in a book store or a library. In an article. A video.

        I am so ‘joyful’ that we found each other. I must admit, since I’ve self taught, it was often quite lonely out here. I thought no one in the world was where I was. So happy I’m meeting others. Especially you.

        Too many ”real’ minds-people- I’ve met have been minds-people- like I’ve met on this line. For almost all my life most of my friends have been on shelves.

        Love you ME


      • I am glad you received the book. You have shared much with me, including your lovely island, so it is certainly a small token in response.

        I am with you, Bettejo, also (obviously a “devout”) non-believer (lovely term!).

        I find great merit in many of the teachings attributed to Jesus but, as I point out in the introduction, we are not even sure that the man actually lived as a real person (though I consider it to be a much exaggerated probability).

        While the existence of god in the abstract is unknowable (see last chapter of book), we can dismiss specific mythologies, such as the cure patriarchal sky god that Abraham bequeathed to the Jews, Christians and Muslims.

        The reference in John 19:27 to the apostle with Jesus’ mother at the cross does not name the apostle, but only refers to him as “the one Jesus loved,” which most consider to be John the beloved. It does not say that it was Jesus’ brother, only that Jesus charged him with assuming the care of his elderly mother.

        I share your tremendous admiration for Carl Sagan, have many of his books and videos.

        I hope Peter Antonson or Studier or any of them are not serious about trying to “convert” Emerald. Clearly Emerald is toying with them and having fun. Even without citing “chapter and verse,” Emerald’s responses demonstrate an understanding of the silliness that underscores Christian mythology.

        I am not sure what prompted you to ask if I was “mad” at you? Heavens no, and I can’t imagine a reason why I would be or what would cause that thought to enter into your mind????

        I am not a Bible scholar either, but I rely on the expertise of those who are and their scholarly sources.

        Dave 🙂


      • I think you’ll love Ann Druyan and me. Thank you so much for being there. Still engrossed in your book. Learning so much. Peace and love Bettejo


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