Thursday, June 30, 2011

Good morning, Provo, Utah!

"Good morning, Provo, Utah!"
Darrel L. Hammon

"Good morning, Provo, Utah!" Joanne and I are here in the great cities of Provo/Orem, Utah. We are visiting our children and babysitting our granddaughter while our oldest daughter is spending time at Young Women's camp. She was excited to be with her young women, and we were excited to be with our granddaughter.

Our granddaughter is growing up too fast, just like any other little one. She is going to be two on July 10th. Two!  Where have the two years gone? She is very smart, just like her mother. She recognizes all of her letters and makes it a habit to call out the letters of anything we encounter. Amazing! Are children smarter these days or what?

Provo and Orem are wonderful places! Probably one of the best things is that you can grow almost anything. On our walks in the mornings, we are amazed at the roses--red ones, yellow ones, white ones. Some are tall and gangly, and others are low to the ground and spread out in shrub-like stances. The deep reds are impressionable in the yards. The day lilies are in full bloom and plentiful in almost every yard. People here like ornamental grasses in their yards and in the flower beds of corporate offices.

Everyone has an extraordinary view of the Wasatch Mountains. Whether your back door or your front door faces the Wasatch, the elegance and the majesty of these mountains almost takes your breath away. On our walk this a.m., clouds hovered over the Wasatch while the sun slowly rose in the east. At one point, shafts of light streamed through the clouds in Provo Canyon. It seemed to me that the shafts of iridescent light grew larger and larger. I could see in my mind's eye the light hovering and eventually penetrating Bridal Veil falls as it spews down the steep face and then clamoring into the Provo River. It was just gorgeous and spiritual simultaneously. I wanted to continue the walk east toward the canyon to see if the shafted light would engulf us. But, alas, tall weed patches, houses, malls, and subdivisions, and ultimately I-15 loomed in our path and beyond. Perhaps another morning will bring us into the light or the shafted light will encompass us as we stand and view the gorgeous Utah Lake.

I don't know if Utahans appreciate the Wasatch Front. I supposed they do. Their magnificence illuminates the good in all of us or the good that should be in all of us. The words "In these mountains, I will establish my house, the House of the Lord" permeates this valley and others along the Wasatch and beyond. The Lord definitely loves these people who reside along the great mountains of the west.

And, yes, temples dot the Wasatch Front and into the valley--the soon-to-be Brigham City Temple, the Bountiful Temple, the Salt Lake Temple, the Draper Temple, the Jordan River Temple, the Oquirrh Mountain, Temple, the Mt. Timpanogas Temple, the Provo Temple, and the soon-to-be Payson Temple. Of course, you have to include the Logan Temple and the Manti Temple have to be included in the mix. They are all glorious temples.

I will add a few of the ones here:

These are just a few of the magnificent "Houses of the Lord" along the Wasatch front.

Thanks, Provo and Orem, for your beauty, for your inspiration, and for your courage to live standards the world doesn't understand but should understand and accept willingly. We enjoy being here.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Cats Have a New Home

"Our Cats Have a New Home"
Darrel L. Hammon

This is Bobbie, one of our cats. Because we are moving to the Dominican Republic, our cats cannot go with us. Amazingly during our garage sales--yes, we had two of them--many people offered to take them once they found out that we were leaving. One particular woman spent the whole time holding one of them while she was walking around the garage looking all all of the great merchandise we had. She literally fell in love with the cats. Who wouldn't?

Our cats came to us as little kittens from Lisa, one of Joanne's friends she works with at Wyoming Health Fairs. Lisa's father owns a farm a bit more east on Highway 30 from where we live. One evening, Lisa showed up with three little kittens in a box. I didn't necessarily know that we were getting three of them. But here they were, and the sisters needed to stay together. Plus, they were so cute.

For those who know anything about barn cats, well, these three epitomized barn cats: feisty, wild, courageous, and great hunters. When we first reached in the box to pet them, one of them reared back, showed  her teeth, and hissed in such a sassy way. I knew they were true barn cats. Soon, though, they began their sojourn at the Hammon household. We named them Stripes, Bobbie, and Sassy for the one that was so sassy at the beginning.

Soon, they acclimated to our home and our yard. I loved watching them go from the patio onto the grass, their little feet, stepping so gingerly on the green grass. To me, it seemed like the grass tickled their feet as they darted to and fro. They loved roaming the yard, which is fairly big--three acres.

The next summer, they had grown big and bold. Their prey became the little ground squirrels that had taken over our three acres and the neighbors' acreage, too. Each morning, one of the cats had deposited pieces and parts of their early morning kill on the front steps. They were proud of their catch.

Before the girls came, these little pesky ground squirrels were so bold that they would come up onto the porch, place their little paws on the screen, and look in as we ate breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Had we opened the door, they would have scurried in and probably sat at the table until Joanne fixed them a plate of food.

The squirrels don't come into the yard anymore. In fact, I haven't seen or heard one very close for a long time. The girls roam our three acres and now have gone beyond to the neighbors' yards. They have become voracious hunters. Each morning, though, they continue their ritual of leaving pieces and parts of their kill for us.

Each morning, Joanne and I go on walks around our loop, which is a bit over 1.5 miles. When we are in sight of the house, the girls are there waiting for us. They love to walk us to the house and wait for us to reach down and pet them. Last fall, when we were returning from one of our walks, just two of the girls--Stripes and Bobbie--met us at the road. Sassy was not there. We thought, perhaps, that she was still out hunting. When she didn't return later that morning, I went looking for her but to no avail.

The next morning and subsequent mornings, we called out for her as we walked the loop. Sassy never returned to the edge of the road to wait for us. We have no idea what happened to her. Perhaps, a coyote, a fox, or even one of the hawks that flies around our neighborhood caught her. We rather doubt it. While she was the sassiest in the beginning, she became the most gentle and kind in the end. We feel that someone picked her up and took her home with them. We hope she is in a nice home.

We found a nice home for Bobbie and Stripes. The mother of a young family that goes to our LDS Ward talked to Joanne at a Relief Society meeting one evening. She said, "I understand you have cats that need a good home since you are moving. Do you have plans for them?" Joanne was quick to reply, "Yes, we do. Would you like them?" The deal was done.

So, this evening, Joanne and loaded up the girls, the food feeder, their little house and took them to the Gridley family. The kids were excited to see them. The girls weren't excited to see them, however. As soon as they hit the driveway, Bobbie and Stripes scattered. Soon, though, we gathered them up and put them with all their things inside of the Gridley's garage. 

It wasn't too long until Bobbie warmed up to the children. Stripes didn't know what to think about the whole affair. Once she realizes these children love her as much--probably more--than we do, she will be happy to be there. We are just happy to have found a wonderful family to take them.

May they live long, happy lives with the Gridley family and continue their morning tradition.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

“Organic Blitz: Hype or More Hype”

“Organic Blitz: Hype or More Hype”
Darrel L. Hammon

Okay, enough of the organic this and organic that! What’s up with all of the organic stuff? Is this something new or something to give you all the shaft?

When I sauntered by the vegetable and fruit aisles at King Soopers the other day, I saw organic carrots, organic peas, organic asparagus, organic lettuce, organic apples, organic pears, and a number of other organic fruits and vegetables. Plus, I couldn’t help but pass the dairy doors and—gasp!—there was organic milk although I didn't see any organic chocolate milk. Plus, I couldn’t help but pass the dairy doors and—gasp!—there was organic milk. And the deal was this: The organic milk was about $3.00 more per gallon! $3.00 more! It was hard to believe. Why is organic any more expensive than anything else?

What is organic? The folks along with the USDA National Organic Program (NOP) define “organic” as “Simply stated, organic produce and other ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation. Animals that produce meat, poultry, eggs, and dairy products do not take antibiotics or growth hormones” (see

Based on what I know about organic, everything my family grew growing up was organic. We didn’t use pesticides, synthetic fertilizers (I have no idea what this even is), sewage sludge, or any type of genetically modified organisms unless you call the Snake River flies and mosquitoes as genetically modified. They were bigger than any fly or mosquito that I have ever seen. Must have been that volcanic ash from the Menan Buttes that was about a billion-years old.

What we did use was good-old fashion cow, horse, and chicken manure, usually served up after sitting in a heap for a bit of time to kill off any of the weed seeds or such. We either spread it, using Uncle Milt’s manure spreader or the hard way: We shoveled into our wheelbarrow, wheeled it to the garden spot, spread it around with pitch forks, and then tilled it under with a tiller of some sort. Plus, we added sand from the Little Annis Buttes to heighten the water drainage system. I always used gloves while spreading the money, usually leather gloves.

When it came to our animals, we didn’t give them any antibiotics or growth hormones. They grew on their own—after we gave them natural alfalfa hay, hay pellet and let them graze out in the pasture on natural grasses and a few weeds mixed in. I don’t think anyone added any antibiotics or growth hormones to the pasture unless you count the night crawlers that almost took over the entire pasture every night after dark. Of course, we caught a zillion of them over each summer and sold them for 50 cents a dozen to avid fishermen. And, yes, we were known to have drowned a couple of million a year in Birch Creek, Pine Creek, Spring Creek, Rainy Creek, and few other creeks around. I promise, though, we didn’t feed the night crawlers anything; so, I am assuming their excrement that helped the pasture flourish was not considered “sewage sludge” but rather pure, pristine, and natural—thus, organic.

We sold milk from our cow to the neighbors for about 50 cents or $1.00 per gallon (they brought their own pails); gave away vegetables to our family and neighbors that which my mother didn’t put up into hundreds of pints and quarts, appropriately sterilized and sealed I might add; made freezer jam of most of the raspberries and strawberries we didn’t eat while watering the garden from our well, which I don’t think was bioengineered or ionized through any sort of radiation.

Shoot, if I had known about all of this organic business earlier in my life, we probably could have made a ton more money than we did. I bet if we had labeled the night crawlers “organic,” I suppose we could have gotten $3.00 per dozen for them.

Surely then if farmers don’t use “pesticides, synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation” or make their animals take “antibiotics or growth hormones,” shouldn’t fruits, vegetables, and animals be less expensive to produce or grow? I mean, really, have you priced synthetic fertilizers, genetically modified organisms, or ionizing radiation” lately? The prices are insane, if you can even purchase them at your local garden shop or farming store!

So, this organic blitz to me is just another concoction of the organic crowd to make more money. Why, if everyone would just grow a garden, then they would have their own organic vegetables and such. I suspect, though, it will be quite difficult growing organic chickens on your big-city balconies.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

"The Good Things in Life"

“The Good Things in Life”
Darrel L. Hammon

Lately, I have been thinking about the good things in life, at least the eating things. For some reason this evening, I just began making a small list of the food things I like very much. So, I would like to share some of my “good things in life” to eat:

Lemon cake—Joanne makes this delicious lemon cake. For the frosting, she mixes powered sugar and lemon juice. Once the cake is out of the oven, you take a fork and poke a zillion holes in it. Then, you drizzle the lemon frosting all over the cake, which, in turn, oozes into all of the holes you have made. You let it set for a while and then eat it. Yummy beyond belief! And moist—nothing better.

Pork chops—I love pork chops. I could eat pork chops every day. Joanne cooks them in a lot of ways, including just grilling them on the BBQ grill. I think my favorite, though, is browning them in a skillet, smothering them with cream of mushroom soup, and then letting slow cook for a bit. I have to admit I still like to gnaw on the bones. There is something about the gnawing that gives pork chops that ultimate taste.

Cabbage salad—I don’t know why Joanne’s cabbage salad tastes so much better than any other cabbage salad I have eaten. Perhaps, it is just the love she inserts into everything. She mixes chopped cabbage, pineapple, apples, and onions topped with a dressing comprised of mayonnaise, sugar, and red wine vinegar. I think the longer it sits, the better it becomes.

Poppy seed dressing—We picked up this recipe from Ricks College (a.k.a. “BYU-Idaho”). After you mix in the sugar, mustard, onions, and vinegar, you slowly drip in the oil as you use a blender. Before too long, the mixture becomes a delicious goo, when spread on a salad, makes any lettuce taste good.

Meatloaf—Joanne mixes 90% ground beef and oatmeal with several condiments and then bakes it. Her meatloaf really doesn’t need catsup or any other topping. It is just delicious straight from the pan.

Rolls—Again, Joanne makes the most delicious Lion House rolls. If you have eaten at the Lion House in Salt Lake City, you know what I mean. They are just plain yummy. Then, when you spread luscious homemade raspberry, strawberry, or any kind of homemade jam, you have a meal.

Arroz con pollo (chicken with rice)—The Hacienda or the Guadalajara restaurants—owned by the same family-in Cheyenne, Wyoming, makes the best arroz con pollo I have ever eaten. With mounds of chicken, rice, and special sauce, trimmed with avocados, their arroz con pollo is just divine. I scoop mounds of it inside flour tortillas and then just chomp away. I have to get their recipe.

Chicken enchiladas—Joanne makes the best chicken enchiladas. She combines shredded chicken, cream cheese, onions, cheese, and chilies and stuffs the combination into flour tortillas and bakes them. Then, we top them with green chili sauce or homemade salsa. You cannot go wrong with this dish.

And these are just a few of the things that I crave and love to eat. Joanne makes most of the dishes and has become quite adept at it. I think it is the practice that makes it better.

Perhaps, I am just thinking about all of this, not quite knowing what our diet will entail when we are in the Dominican Republic. I suspect, though, we can take the recipes and make all of this. But then again, we might find different dishes there that will become part of our favorite list.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Pioneers and Winter Quarters

"Pioneers and Winter Quarters"
Darrel L. Hammon

Joanne and I had the wonderful opportunity this week to motor to Omaha and visit several places: Winter Quarters Temple and cemetery, Winter Quarters Visitors’ Center, Kanesville Tabernacle Visitors’ Center (Council Bluffs, Iowa), Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha, and Old Market also in downtown Omaha. While it was a quick trip over and back, we had a delightful time, filled with an incredible spirit of adventure.

Winter Quarters Temple—What a glorious place this is! While it is one of the smaller temples, it is a gorgeous temple. Very few patrons were there at the 7:30 p.m. session. President and Sister Maury W. Schooff, Temple President and Matron, greeted us when we went into the session and then again after the session. It was nice to meet and greet the Temple President and his lovely bride. Once outside, I took a picture of the temple. There is something awe-inspiring about the glow of lights, flooding from the inside and outside of the temple. Perhaps, it is the light on the hill, shining for all to see and beckoning all to come unto it.

Winter Quarters Visitors’ Center—The Center was delightful. Sister Jenkins, a young sister missionary from Virginia, was our guide. She had a strong spirit about the Center and about Winter Quarters. We had begun the tour on Tuesday evening just before we went to the Temple, but we didn’t get to finish; so, we returned early Wednesday morning, and Sister Jenkins led us through the rest of the Center. One of the highlights was the pair of life-sized oxen, pulling a wagon. According to Sister Jenkins, each of the oxen can pull 1,000 pounds each, but together they can pull 3,000 pounds. I guess that is what is meant by when “equally-yoked” a marriage can pull through anything.

Winter Quarters Cemetery—What a spiritual place this was! The moment I walked into the cemetery, which is on the same site as the Temple, the spirit hit me. Sister Jenkins from the Visitors’ Center said that Elder Christofferson had visited the cemetery and said that angels watched over it. Even as I write this, I can feel the spirit of those angels. The report is over 400 people, mostly young children, perished during that fateful winter. Many of the headstones are small and are now unreadable. But Heavenly Father knows who they are—thus, the watchful angels.

Kanesville Tabernacle Visitors’ Center (Council Bluffs, Iowa)—The missionaries from the Winter Quarters Visitors’ Center encouraged us to drive across the Missouri River to visit the Kanesville Tabernacle Visitors’ Center, which is located in Council Bluffs, Iowa. Elder and Sister Davis, converts, from Twin Falls, Idaho, were our guides. We watched a video about the tabernacle and its construction. Reports say that 1,000 people attended the conference when Brigham Young was sustained as the President, Prophet, Seer, and Revelator. It must have been stuffed, and no fire marshals were around to levy charges. I think this is a must see.

Pioneer Courage Park in downtown Omaha—Several sculptures adorn this beautiful park. I was impressed by the size and beauty of the sculptures. They told a story that needs telling: The Pioneers were driven by God to do what needed to be done, and their faith in their eternal Maker was, indeed, deepened by their sacrifices and challenges. Thank you, Pioneers, for being courageous against odds that, to me, seem almost insurmountable. Your place in heaven should be secured.
Old Market also in downtown Omaha—Old buildings, old windows, old doors, old décor dotted this several-block section of Omaha. So many unique buildings had been turned into quaint and chic new bistros, dining facilities, and shops. Very few were open because we were there long before their 11:00 a.m. open times. I am sure, though, that during this time, many people dine out on the little patios, made special for watchers of people.
Overall, we had a wonderful time. Even the seven-hour drive over didn’t seem that long. We enjoyed the changing terrain from the plains of Wyoming to the plentiful green trees, some rolling hills, rivers, and ponds scattered along the way. On Tuesday when we arrived in the p.m., our car’s temperature gauge hovered around 100 degrees. Plus, there was a bit of humidity. But it still was enjoyable trip although very short.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

"Who Am I Really?"

I wrote this some time ago as part of talk I gave to the Wolf Point Branch in the Glendive Montana Stake. I thought it would be appropriate to share it with you as we begin the Sabbath Day.

"Who Am I Really?"
Darrel L. Hammon

I know the names of plants
and animals, of their origins.
I know about George Washington,
Abe Lincoln, and the Desert Fox.
I know about the Green Mountain Boys,
and Nephi, and the stripling warriors
whose mothers taught them well.
I know about dissecting sentences,
plopping verbs where they belong.
I know when not to dangle modifiers
or place commas and apostrophes
where they don’t belong.
I know why I should drive the speed limit,
buy items only when they are on sale,
and bathe once a day.
So why is it that I sometimes wonder

Who I really am?
Shouldn’t knowing be as simple
as making cookies, frosting cake,
painting lilacs on the wall?
Shouldn’t knowing be as clear
as canyon springs,
Shakespeare’s sonnets,
and picking out animals in the clouds?
Why then do I stumble so
just before dances and the big date
or when she tells me
she doesn’t want to see me again
or when I get a D on a test
or when I don’t get my way
or when my day goes blue at noon?
Why do I lounge deep
in the leather chair,
mope around the house,
and misunderstand what is written
and hovers in my heart?
How can I miss the words,
the plain and simple ones,

that reach from centuries beyond
to my bedroom,
shouting from the roof tops
that it was He who was risen
that it was He who died for me
that it was He in whose image I am
that it was He who said
I would inherit all that my Father hath
and be made one with Him
in the many mansions
prepared for me?
Shouldn’t I know clearly that I am
a son of a Heavenly Father
who loves me?

It seems so simple
when I pray.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

“T.V. Dinners: That’s It?”

“T.V. Dinners: That’s It?”
Darrel L. Hammon

Growing up, I didn’t eat many TV dinners. I thought they were awful—awfully small for a growing boy,  awful little peas that seemed way overcooked, and an awfully small piece of chicken. Thus, we didn’t buy TV dinners when Joanne and I were married. Joanne was a pretty good cook—and since has become an outstanding one—so we had plenty to eat.

One day when the girls were in elementary school, they came home from school one afternoon and asked why we didn’t ever have TV dinners. Apparently, their friends talked about the TV dinners they had at their home. I told them I didn’t like them, and I didn’t think they would either. Well, they kept pestering me about TV dinners and how their friends ate them and how deprived we were for not eating TV dinners. How bad could they be? Well, my explanations fell on deaf ears. Somehow friends are smarter than fathers—at least at that age—at least about TV dinners.

They wore me down. Finally, I looked at Joanne. All she did was shrugged, rolled her eyes, and nodded her head. The girls and I piled in the van and headed to Albertson’s, leaving Joanne home to get the oven ready for these delightful TV dinners from Albertson’s.

After finding a parking place, we climbed out the van. The girls skipped to the front doors and entered. We sauntered to the frozen foods section, and I pointed out the many versions of TV dinners. The girls took their time, eyeing the chicken, then the Salisbury steak, and some other configurations, which I have totally forgotten about. Surprise! Surprise! They chose the chicken with corn, instead of those awful little peas.

They were ecstatic on the way home, talking non-stop about their TV dinners. I attempted to close my mind and ears to this chatter. My only hope was that they wouldn’t be impressed. But they way they were going on, you would have thought TV dinners were better than their mother’s homemade cooking. Of course, I wasn’t going to bring this up at home. And I was sure they would come to their senses—at least I hope they would.

Once home, we took them out of their beautiful red boxes, prepared them according to whatever the directions said, and popped them into the oven. The girls couldn’t wait until they were done. Finally, the timer dinged. They sat around the table, and Joanne and I brought over their dinners and plopped them—excuse me—carefully placed them in front of them. With great anticipation, they cautiously lifted the feeble plastic covers, and stared. Maybe the better word is gawked at the dinners.

One of the girls said after staring gawkingly at their three little trays of stuff: “This is it. This is it!” She looked up at me with disbelief. “This is it?”

“Yes,” I said, “This is it.” And I didn’t say another word, which was very, very difficult for me.

After picking at their TV dinners, tasting this and that, they shoved the remainder into the garbage and went off to watch TV. That was the last time I heard anything about TV dinners at our house.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Death and Dying Can Be Learned Down By the Slough

"Death and Dying Can Be Learned Down By the Slough"
Darrel L. Hammon

Some learn the meaning of death the hard way. But I was introduced to death at an early age. Growing up in the country and having animals somehow present death earlier in one’s life and in a more crude and sometimes harsh way. Nonetheless, death of anything can be a master teacher. Although I saw many animals die, perhaps the death of one of my horses taught me more than I wanted to know about death.

While some Boy Scout troops went to Boy Scout Camp, our scout troop went horseback riding in the Kilgore area. I remember my first experience going with the older scouts to Kilgore. I had purchased a green-broke, three-year old filly. Because of her Welsh background, she was smaller than most other horses, but she was strong and vigorous and just my right size.

I bought her earlier that spring, thinking I could have a good mountain horse ready before our summer jaunt to Kilgore. We usually tried to go sometime after the first cutting of alfalfa.

Prior to our going, we had to shoe our horses. On the appointed morning, I saddled up my horse and headed to my Uncle Wilford’s house, which was about a mile away. I stayed in the barrow pit that ran along the highway between Menan and Roberts. She tried to crow foot a couple of times and tried to give me the boot, but somehow I managed to stay on.

After some minutes, I reined her in at Uncle Wilford’s. I carefully dismounted, tied her up at the fence, and walked to his house. After sitting there for a bit, someone came by and told me we were going to go to Uncle Milt’s house which was about 1/4 of a mile away.

As I tried to get back on, she wouldn’t let me. After awhile, though, I finally convinced her it was all right for her to let me on. Some struggles later, we both ended up in Uncle Milt’s huge circular driveway. My other friends were already there and waiting. But I had arrived before the horse shoer did.

Before too long, an old pickup turned off the highway and rattled its way into the yard. We watched as the door opened, and a woman exited the pickup on the driver’s side and older gentleman on the other.

We just looked at each other. Here was the shoer (a.k.a. “ferrier”) woman. She was definitely much bigger than the rest of us. She wore jeans and boots and looked tough as nails. The man with her who happened to be her husband seemed a bit timid and feeble. She, on the other hand, was just the opposite. Had we known her temperament, we probably would have told her to get back in the truck and make dust out of there. But we didn’t. What do 14-year-olds know?

She started with the first horse. Instantly, we could tell this woman meant business, and no horse in its right mind would do anything to cause her to lose her temper. She was big and tough, her voice was loud, and she made sure the horses knew it. I was extremely glad I wasn’t the one being shod that day.

Soon it was my horse’s turn. She had been watching the entire ordeal and the pain the ferrier had inflicted on the other horses, and she was terrified. She had never been shod before, and I could tell it would be a cold day before she was ready for shoes.

The woman ferrier didn’t see it that way. She grabbed her halter rope and told her to be good. Unfortunately, my horse wasn’t good. She danced. She jumped. She swayed this way and that. After several harsh words and a few whacks, the ferrier did something that astounded us. She picked up picked my pony off her feet—literally picked her up—and threw her to the hard, cobblestone ground. That knocked the wind right out of my horse.

I was too scared to say anything.  The young men who were standing by my side and I froze in our tracks. Our shyness and fear of this woman kept us from saying anything. After my horse struggled back to her feet, the ferrier pounded on the shoes while my horse stood there shaking, her head bent low to the ground.

After the ordeal, I rode her home. She wasn’t the skittish horse I had ridden down. Upon arriving home, I lead her out to the pasture, unsaddled her, curry combed her, patted her down, and gave her a generous amount of hay and some grain. Then, I just stood back and watched her. She definitely had been through an ordeal today.

The next day, I went out to see how she was doing. She was standing in the middle of the ditch and looked terrible. I tried to shoo her out of the ditch but to no avail. I rushed in the house and called my dad at work and told him what the problem was. He told me to call the vet.

Unfortunately, nothing worked. My three-year horse died a couple of days later of internal injuries. Back then, we weren’t in the suing mood, and animal cruelty wasn't what it is today; so, we did the inevitable. My brother, our friends, and I and went out into the pasture down by the slough and dug a very deep hole. We hooked a chain on the tractor and dragged my filly down to her final resting place. After saying a few words, we covered her up with dirt.

I probably should have buried her with her shoes on. But the way I figured it, she didn’t want them on in the first place. That’s what got her killed. Before we dragged her away, I carefully and respectfully pried off her new shoes and hung them in the barn.

As far as I know, those shoes still hang in the barn as a reminder of that fateful experience. Sometimes, death and dying can be learned best from animals or just being down by the slough on a warm afternoon, surrounding a fresh grave.