Archive for August, 2015

August 25, 2015

…”Eating Horses Don’t Die.” The title of a book Scott was writing. Wish he’d lived to finish it. Would love to read the manuscript. My interest? I hope there are many horse and Scott lovers reading this because I’d like to write about an ‘eating horse’–my beloved Aristotle–who Scott operated on  several years ago. I could write about that time, that incredible surgery, that experience–Ari’s life and times– but I’ll try to stick to the subject.

Ari was bon on Kauai in September, 1987, which makes him 88 and a half horse years old in people years, three years older than I. As a colt he was sent to Honolulu where he was badly abused.  A very proud horse, but spooky, he hated everyone. He was rescued by a lady and her family who loved horses–Scott would’ve loved that story–and I first met him, bought him for a song,  at her barn in May, 1993. There was something about that big roan– the way we looked at each other–that touched my heart.  I brought him home.

The first ‘eating horse’ story: he came at me striking. A big horse coming at you, walking on his hind legs, forelegs boxing the air, is a formidable sight. Taught by a Canadian Mountie, ‘always ‘leave ’em laughing’,  I calmed him down, fixed him a bucket of food and walked over the hill. Sadly.  My horses always have  full run of the land and I could not live with a horse that might attack me.  Several minutes later–I’d left Ari with a full bucket–I heard hooves clopping behind me. I didn’t know what to expect. I turned.  We met eye ball to eye ball. Face to face,

The look in his eyes  said, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you.” We bonded.

Fast forward to his homecoming after the surgery. Scott had put him on  antibiotics, which Ari hated. He fought me.  Came at me striking. I took him off the drug and offered him Vitamin C. He loved it and healed quickly. I gave Scott  the drugs and told him the story. “He even ate oranges,” I said.

“Horses don’t eat oranges.”

“Don’t tell Ari,” I replied, “he hasn’t read that part of the book.”

Today my long- in- the- tooth beloved friend, eats like a horse. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I cook for him in the barn. He watches, making sure I do it right. No skimping. He counts: one large measuring bowl of oat alfalfa soaked in warm water, sprinkled with salt and tossed in his bucket. Another bowl of same dimpled with raw carrots. And one more bowl flavored with bran and laced with molasses on the top.  He licks the bucket. Scott would have loved the sight, but he would have said, as he always did, “Horses have no sense of taste.”

And, once again, I’d have replied, “Don’t tell Ari.”

I hope Scott’s right and Ari never dies.




August 23, 2015

On Saturday, September 5, 1992, I heard about Iniki that morning. It was a hustle and a half  ‘battening down the hatches’ and getting my zoo–three horses, one dog and four cats–to safe shelter.

Once again I stayed home with the animals. (I’d spent Ewa in the barn with two horses on property surrounding the house on the Alexander Dam Road.) “We’ll all go together when we go,” I said then. And now. We cuddled up in the barn as hurricane winds brought down branches and stripped every leaf off every tree as far as the eye could see.

A nude tree is a very strange sight to behold.

The next day was so beautiful–swept clean of dirt, dust and debris–it blossomed like an hibiscus  in the hearts of all survivors. Across the street cattle, that had gathered at the bottom of my green valley, rose to their feet and sauntered back up the hill to graze.

The rest of the island looked like a war had stormed through. Houses at the top of the hill appeared  perfectly normal, until you caught on their roofs were missing. A house without a roof is a strange sight, too.

We’d been hit, darkness dulled the light, and passed through the eye–sunny, cloudless and clear blue sky–and been hit again. I think everyone who went through that remembers the morning after. That glorious glorious day. The air smelled sweet. The sound of no traffic a welcome silence.

In front of my house hundred of birds had feathered down–an animal knows instinctively where to find haven–and they began singing at first light, their tweets and twitters and bird lyrics an ode to joy. A peahen in a bare tree screeched as only a peahen can screech and livened up the party.

I think most of us were unprepared for Iniki. We swallowed our fear, took a deep breath, and rode it through.

Times are different.

We watched Kilo form south of us. We know that El Nino has gone berserk and may continue its berserkness until April. I’ve heard that because of climate confusion–global warming, whatever you want to call it–to follow the path of our storms is unpredictable. They can go anywhere.

I’m happy we were forewarned. Those of us who had computers watched Kilo–a strange critter–strengthen and weaken and lolligag around like winds on LSD. It couldn’t make up its mind. Did it have a mind? A destination? Or was it just on a spree?

What I do think is: if this is the way it’ll go until April, we’ll all be nervous wrecks.

I hope we get honest reporting. Not headlines to sell papers or religion. Please Editors–newsmen, talking heads–don’t become little boys who cry wolf. We need to be prepared. You need to be prepared. But we don’t need Tom Foolery.

I think Kauai can show the world how well we can handle reason, truth and disaster.




Eighty Freakin’ Five
August 20, 2015

As a writer– and a Mick– I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from writer’s block. I’m filled with words to put on paper or shout or whisper to the wind. But I’m often at a loss as to what to write about.

I’m told I have a tendency to lecture. More truth than fiction. I’m sort of a half assed philosopher. Don’t get me started, we’ll be here ’til rapture. Speaking of which…

…Okay, I’ll steer clear of another religious harangue.Boy oh boy do I love to give the fundamentalists hell. A great guy said, “Fundamentalism is Christianity gone berserk,” and ain’t that the truth? I love to tweak its nose and pull its tail. I love to get ’em so hot under the collar it melts the baloney they spout, utter, and preach. I love to remind ‘them’ that to spend all eternity with them would be the hell they sell to the sinner they send there.  Us guys got that place air-conditioned and spend all eternity playing strip poker with Marilyn Monroe and May West,  if you’re a guy. With any good looking’ young hunk, if you’re a girl–which I will be again when I get there.

Anyhow, I got orders from my Editor, ‘Write something funny about yourself.’ That’s not hard to do. Essentially I’m  a kind of funny character. Funny looking. Eccentric as all get out, always was and always will be. There’s something funny about eccentricity and eccentricity in public is a hoot and holler. To wear tennis shoes with a tux will earn you a giggle or two. Howard Hughes did it and got away with it. If you’re rich you can be as eccentric as the dickens and get away with it. But most of us aren’t Howard Hughes.

It used to be eccentrically outrageous  to dye your hair green but that’s not so eccentric anymore. Few heads  turn when you wear it to the mall, or  charity ball, or down the red carpet, either. Red carpets? Hey, buddy, get a load of that. Funny is funny, and humor is humor, but that stuff’s just plain silly.

Okay, I’m a chicken– a scrawny old hen, if the truth were know–but I choose to be eccentric at home.  Out in public I pretend I’m normal. Normal’s not funny. Fact is, normal is dull.

To be dull at eighty freakin’ five–which I am, in years–is a crime against posterity or prosperity or persnickety wicket.

As a writer, I love to make up words like brillig and the slithy toves.  I jabberwacky. I’m jealous of Lewis Carrol.

I must admit my sense of humor has aged a bit, but I love to laugh. Make people laugh. I wanna die laughing with a glass of Charddonay in one hand, a magic wand in the other, wearing tennis shoes made in China dappled with red sequins. The  Lion, the Tin Woodman,  the  Scarecrow and my dumb Editor will escort me.

Now that’s funny.

August 12, 2015

Isn’t that a beautiful word? So simple. Three letters–JOY– They roll trippingly off the tongue.

Walt Whitman wrote: ‘O the horseman’s and the horsewoman’s joy.’ All of us who love horses and rides in the early morning cool, or late afternoon shadows, or under a full moon’s power know joy. One is never alone on horseback. The greatest joy comes from the warm comfort of a horse’s bareback. “The outside of a horses is good for the inside of a man.” Or woman.

“Sweets with sweets war, joy delights with joy.” That’s Will. Neat!

“Have you found joy in your life? Have you brought joy to others?”

Kind of a sticky wicket, isn’t it? I hope everyone in the world has found joy. I have. The best I can do on the second question is: did it balance? I hope so.

Then there’s music. Beethoven’s Ode to Joy. Listen to that and feel joy in every cell.  It captivates vitalizes the senses. The best piece of music ever written. Think of Beethovan’s joy in creating this masterpiece. It’ll never die. Imagine…

I think joy’s the emotion most sought after.

A secret. You can be joyful at any moment of the day or night, if you’re awake and breathing. You don’t have to beg, borrow, or steal it. You don’t need a mansion, a Rolls, a yacht, fame, or beauty. You don’t need money in the bank. You can’t buy it. It’s the most priceless thing in the world, nobody can put a price on it. Wherever you are, whatever your circumstance, joy can be yours. You can be shoveling horse manure or digging a ditch.

What was the most delightful moment in your lifetime? I hope it’s a difficult decision: you’ve had so many, you can pick and chose.

Think of that moment. Be there. Now. Go there. Now. Taste it, touch it, smell it, hear it, see it. Play it back in your mind like Beethoven played with sound.

One of my favorite moments was on horseback. A country horse show. The class in the ring, at the bottom of an amphitheater, was a clown act. One cowboy rode a horse. Two cowboys played the front end and the back-end of a calf. They cavorted. They rumbled. They danced. I was on a dapple gray Arab at the top of the amphitheater when suddenly my horse–Joy Ride, that was his name– had a horsey moment. His ears perked. His tail went up and his neck arched He snorted. He pranced his way down to the ring rattling spectators and folding chairs. No one seemed perturbed, except my mother. Who was hysterical.

Joy went nose to the ring. The cowboys loved it. Played along. When Joy caught on, he sneered and walked back  through the throng, who roared with laughter and applauded.The crowd loved us. Joy and I stole the show.

Thinking about it makes me happy. Joyful. You, too, I hope. Gotta share and make it balance.