Wednesday, April 4, 2012


When I was a teenager I used to sing "Que Serra-Serra" to a nervous horse I rode whenever I could save the few dollars for and hour at the stable just over the Connecticut line.  It had a rhythm that perfectly matched the pace at which I felt most comfortable.
I was in awe of horses and all things horse. My uncle Dan was a trainer at Saratoga Springs in his youth, and later in life a ticket taker at the Yonkers Raceway.  Once we met Eddie Arcaro  at his apartment.  He was tiny, and very cute. My Mother was a horse player, and even had a bookie to place her bets. She dreamed of being in the winners circle with the elite someday. According to Aunt Mary, everyone had, raised or raced ponies in Ireland.  When my family took road trips in our four-door ford, I rode my imaginary mount along the landscape running beside the highway, entertaining myself for the whole journey with how we would disappear into the woods at the curving places, and reappear when the road turned straight again.  
I read "Black Beauty" - The Autobiography of A Horse by Anna Sewell,  and the other two of the trilogy as well.  I also read "My Friend Flicka", and watched the television series.  I wanted to be a cowgirl and recall a wonderful outfit I once owned which went the way of other childhood artifacts into the storehouse of memory.  I was in love with Roy Rogers and Dale Evans-sometimes wishing I'd been adopted by them, so that, like all their many foster kids, I'd ride the "Happy Trails" of Sunshine Valley with the singing Sons of The Pioneers forever.

After dad's death, we moved to a three room apartment in a complex that had lots of rolling landscape around it.  One Summer a pony ride opened up on a hill above the miniature golf course down the way.  I volunteered to groom and clean for free.  In the absence of the owner, I brought a pony across the Boston Post Road to the complex to give my brother and some friends a ride (I recently sent his son a photo of his seven year old dad sitting bareback atop a painted mount).  It was a totally illegal caprice, but I was not caught.  I fantasized that we would keep a pony some day.  I never became much of a rider due to access and money, but remain a fan of all things equestrian.  Life led me in another direction where my fantasies became scripts, and playing them out on stages became theater...where "Don't be so dramatic" evolved into applause and approval. Whatever will be has been.
But, back to Doris Day ,whose passion for discarded animals led her from Hollywood Stardom to Carmel, California where she became the caretaker-savior to many canines and felines, and a lifelong animal advocate.  This Year she turned eighty eight.
 Imagine that!
Listen to this Recent Interview with her.


deanna7trees said...

nice to read about you and your memories. i've only been on a horse once in my life. they are so beautiful. when i was in college, my friend and i used to buy the racing page and go to Aqueduct raceway. we didn't bet much and shared all our bets but we had fun. we usually broke even. you've brought back some of my memories too.

jude said...

i like horses but don't enjoy riding much. But the man, he is like you. The rhythm suits him.

Suzanna said...

Horses, donkeys always seem a grounding point to me...never have been a rider, just an appreciator. Perhaps I will reread Black Beauty now..I so vividly recall the gift of that book when small. Thank you!

Nancy said...

Ah, Doris! Que Serra, Serra was my high school mantra! Ya know, when the boys don't notices you, when school is boring you to death, when families aren't perfect...That was My song!
I have it on my list to get on a horse again, even for a slow walk. My last experience in college was scary and I never rode again. But one day I will. My guy has a friend, used to be a jockey and he too is quite small and has many healed busted bones! I love reading your stories, especially those about you. SO fun to get to know you better! I had an old Roy Rogers lunchbox for a while!

Mo Crow said...

ah horses they were the first love... Black Beauty was the favourite book. I loved Ginger & can't stake plants when out gardening (I tend inner city gardens to pay the bills and keep my feet on the ground) as tying up plants always makes me think of those dreadful bearing reins... I bought my first horse when I was 15 after a year of babysitting and ironing for my mother's friends & gave away the last one at 30 when I left the bush to to go to art school & have been here ever since... we get many lifetimes in this one life ahe?