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April 6, 2021: A Gift Comes in the Mail

I got a package in the mail today. I now fully understand the meaning of the phrase “never look a gift horse in the mouth.” The package was from Peggy Brown, who is taking care of my deceased mentor Susan Harris’s estate. She sent me a half-dozen books along with a small metal horse statue. Her note on Susan’s stationary read “Dear Alys, Here are some things from Susan I thought you would enjoy. Sad, sad, times.”

Indeed, the books are all books that if given the chance, I would have taken/asked for. Peggy also sent along a copy of Riding Instructor magazine with a photo of Susan, much younger, on the cover.

Susan with painted horse at clinic at Saddle Up Arena

I was very moved by this gift – I was hoping for something for which to remember Susan by. It makes me feel better – I have had no one to talk to about her death, or about what I learned from her.

One of the things I have been thinking about is how difficult this must be for Peggy because she and Susan were very close friends. When they co-taught (and I was fortunate to be in their clinics), they meshed. One would easily pick up where the other left off. And their anatomy in motion clinics were pretty amazing. Susan painted the horse and Peggy then rode painted horse while wearing a “bone suit,” with Susan adding commentary.

Susan had animals, a horse and two cats, all of whom she loved. She had a house filled with horse memorabilia and a den filled with books. She also had horse tack, and carriages, and a garage/carriage house with life-sized horses in a stable, painted on the wall. She also had a lot of her own artwork, and as well considerable correspondence and writings.

I have been thinking about just the library alone since I am dealing with so many books now, on a daily basis. Dismantling Susan’s library, this has to be very difficult for Peggy. I am glad to have a piece of it. It’s sort of like last year when my friend Becky learned the Alaska State Fair was cancelled – she had to part out the year’s perennials. Many of us were fortunate enough to have the Alaska State Fair in our yards.

And maybe this is it – libraries are in their own way organic entities. They are dismantled and then become a part of someone else’s library. For instance, these books that belonged to Susan are now a part of my horse library. When it comes time to dismantle my horse library, Susan’s books, which are now my books, will be passed on and then enjoyed by someone else.

The important thing is to pass the books to appreciative people rather than throw them away. I suppose this is why I am taking my job as Bright Lights Book Project Coordinator so seriously.

Tomorrow, I am going to send Peggy Brown a thank you note. I found the card I am going to write my message on, in a book at the recycling center last Saturday. Re-use items have more sentiment attached to them than do recyclables. However, this is a subject that needs more time and space than I now have available. It is important though, so I’ll take it up in an upcoming dispatch.

Next: 96. 4/7/21: Moving at a Slow Pace, but Moving

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