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March 4, 2012: Sunday Brunch

We had the Schmidtkunz family over for breakfast this morning. Pete made French toast with the special bread that he made last night. Outside, the snow continued to fall. Big fat flakes, the shaker ball effect. I’m not yet tired of the snow, but then I have not done as much scooping as Pete. I’m pacing myself. Come April, I’ll be out there with the shovel and a still-good-attitude.

Pete and I gave Hattie an assist with the student paper, the Mat Su Monitor, and then Charlene, Pete, and I went for a horseback ride. By this time it had stopped snowing and the sun was out, sorta.

Pete rode Siggi, I rode Tinni, and Charlene rode Signy. We went around the loop, and then down to the Murphy Road trailhead. The horses were relatively cooperative. Spring is not on the ground, but it’s in the air, and they’re pretty excited about this.

Bill Schmidtkunz
Bill Schmidtkunz

Signy’s chi was a bit stickier than usual. Charlene didn’t seem to mind, and was very patient and calm with her. Charlene’s a good rider – she comes by it honestly. Her mother, Katie Long, taught the college’s horse training sequence eight-or-so- years ago. She now has Alzheimer’s Disease, and is in an assisted living home.

I took all four of Katie’s classes, and Pete took one of them. The first week of the first semester I hired on as a pen cleaner at her place, Moose Creek Ranch. This eventually led to the acquisition of Raudi, who I boarded there for a summer.

Charlene hadn’t ridden in at least five years. I was surprised that she agreed to come along when Pete extended her an invite. I figured her horseback riding days were over. I figured wrong. From my vantage point (which was behind her, and on top of Tinni) I saw the outline of her mother. Genetics—amazing, what’s passed on from one generation to the next. My next thought was that Charlene should keep riding because like her mother, she’s good at it.

On the return trip two snowmobilers raced past, and another popped over a berm. Signy, of course, stood as still as a statue. Nothing seems to phase her. I hope that Hrimfari is as steady on his feet as his dam.

I don’t know if Charlene will want to ride again. All that I lack in my life (aside from a job teaching creative nonfiction writing) is someone to ride with me. I don’t mind taking the horses out alone, or with Pete—the only drawback is that exercising four horses on a day-to-day basis is time-consuming.

Next: 88. 3/5/12: Calling a Spade a Spade