Ever since I was a kid I've loved horses. I watched Fury on TV and I watched old timey westerns mainly because they rode horses. I read Flicka and Black Beauty, always imagining that one day I would own a horse of my own. I rode imaginary horses with friends to and from school. After years of living I had given up on the dream. But about 3-4 years ago an opportunity came to me to finally be able to own a horse.
Actually to be part owner in a horse, and his name is Log. A spunky, Tennessee Walking horse he is and a lover of people. Stephanie and Mike had a house and six acres about 40 minutes east of Nashville. Well, we realized in a short time that Log didn't do very well alone so we searched for a second horse. Another TN Walking horse and the price was pretty good so we brought him home to share the pasture with Log. Not a good idea!!! They eventually hated each other and Cash (as he came to be called) was a biter. I started looking for a different horse and thought perhaps a mare would be a better choice since Cash and Log were both boys.....gelded boys...but boys just the same. My pastor's wife, Laura, said she had an appendix mare she would be willing to trade for my walking horse and we'd try it out and if either one of us didn't like the arrangement we would switch them back. Well, I had no idea what an appendix was other than an often disposed of body part so I said we'd give her a try. An appendix horse, by the way, is 1/2 quarter horse and 1/2 thoroughbred. She was sassy from the git-go. She let Log know that she was in charge but he liked her a lot and was quite willing to put up with her disposition as long as she'd hang out with him.
As time went on Log and Wendy became the best of friends. Wendy is a curvaceous sorrel mare and I guess Log just couldn't help himself. They were always together. They ate together, walked together, grazed together....you get the picture and they were the perfect pair. But unfortunately things often change. It became apparent that Stephanie and Mike were not able to keep living there mainly because the gas prices were soaring, and their house payment had done the same. Decisions had to be made to find the animals all new homes. We were all blessed because the miniature horses, the potbellied pig and Sam, the goat, all found homes quickly. We thought a lady was going to purchase Log but that fell through and Log went to a home nearby Steph's home in Smith County. I tried boarding Wendy in a boarding stable but I wasn't satisfied so I looked for another and found Butterbean Hill Boarding stables and it was near our house. I was thrilled. Wendy could be nearby and I could see her often. She would live in a pasture with several other horses and live out her life with occasional visits from me. Debbie, the lady who owns Butterbean, is a true lover of horses and I knew Wendy would be watched over by her.
This is where making every day count comes in. About two months ago Stephanie and I were visiting Wendy and everyone was joking and laughing about how fat she was. Several horse experts who come to the barn there were saying...."She's pregnant." I said no way....she hasn't been exposed to a stallion at any point in time. "No," they insisted, "she's got to be pregnant." Well, my friends, she is not pregnant. I just wish she was. It is now two months later, and she has lost a lot of weight and has been tentatively diagnosed with a tumor in her head. We're just waiting for the final prognosis from the University of Tennessee. So you see how important it is to make each day count. I will be there almost every day spending time with the dream that came true; before she has to go away. It's always strange when you get bad news...part of you is sad to be losing a loved one and part of you is glad for having had the experience.
It's six days till my "officially old" 65th birthday. One of the things I've noticed is that I am losing more and more people I know through death. I've also lost lots of other things....(even more) hair, a bit of memory, keys, glasses, some savings, important papers and other things that have surely walked away from where I remember putting them. My visual and hearing acuity ain't what they used to be. I lose sleep and energy. And occasionally my wife, whats-her-name, tells me I'm losing my mind. I've even lost her a couple times, along with my car in parking lots. But interestingly, as I get older I've also found some things. Moments with my family have become more precious. Time with my dogs and cats snuggled around me bring me more contentment than they used to. Sunsets seem more spectacular and rain more soft and gentle. I have found that there is little - including past mistakes, current politics and evolving religious beliefs - worth arguing about. I figure as long as God knows what He and I are both doing and thinking, and He loves me as I am, the opinions of others just really don't matter much. I've found that people who believe that their way is always right, and who have all the answers, amuse me. That in itself can keep me smiling inside most of the day. The bottom line is that none of us know all the answers; none of us are always right; and God alone has control and knows how it will all turn out in the end. I've found that I get far more joy from the most simple things. I've found that my love for my wife grows more and more every day. (She probably won't like being in the same paragraph as "simple things.") A peanut butter sandwich or a can of soup is often far more satisfying to me than a gourmet restaurant meal. Gosh, I'm even beginning to like soccer! Our recent trip to Colorado, spending time with great friends and seeing the glory of the mountains, has become a gift that I will never forget. I'm not thrilled about getting older....but if I keep finding more wondrous things, maybe it's not so bad after all. Tomorrow night we're supposed to go see the Rockettes at the Grand Ole Opry House. I'm looking forward to enjoying it with my wife/best friend. Now if I can just find those tickets...
I am turning 62 on Thursday and I have lived a long while and have seen a lot of history. Lots of changes, lots of great moments, lots of injustice and lots of miracles. I wasn't sure if I would ever see an African-American get elected as President of the United States but tonight that dream has come true. Yes, a dream. I pray for President-elect Obama as he begins this new part of his journey. All this week I have thought a great deal about Martin Luther King, John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy and all the other idealistic leaders we've had in the past who had a vision of America not as it is, but as it should be. It should be a place where anyone who is qualified could seek the highest office in the land and attain it. Tonight that has really happened. We are a great country and this proves it. I have such a sense of pride right now in our country. I always have; but now it is intensified.
I believe that Senator Obama will represent us all. I think it's time that the lower and middle classes have a hero. I have seen wealth being the only thing that matters in this country for far too long. I am tired of money and possessions mattering more than kindness, integrity and charity. I have no way of knowing how he will govern but I pray it is with fairness, level-headedness and honesty. I see him as a man with a cool head and a kind heart. He has walked with the poor and found a need to help. It seems to me I know someone else who did that. His name is Jesus. No, I don't think Obama is the new messiah. I think he is simply someone who has walked in the footsteps of the disenfranchised and knew he had to make a difference.
I'll pray every day for this new leader. I know he won't be perfect but I will try to remember he is a man; and hope he makes decisions with all this country's citizens in mind.
President Joe with Mack the Bulldog, Union College Mascot Well, election time is just two days away. Will it be Obama or McCain? Just think, in only two more days candidates can start vying for the 2012 nomination!
There was an earlier election you probably never heard about. It was an election for a two year term as the President of the Union College Alumni Association. It was my great honor to win that election.
Since graduating in 1966, I have credited Union College with being a part of every success of my life. This United Methodist-related liberal arts college in SE Kentucky was founded in 1879, and today has 700+ undergraduate students and more than 1,000 graduate students from 24 states and 14 foreign nations. Union prides itself on its one-to-one relationships and its dedication to making every student a part of a very special personal learning experience. The faculty-student ratio is 1:12.
Majors are available in more than two dozen disciplines, along with a Masters program. Union College helps students make learning connections. Students are given opportunities for practical applications through a liberal arts curriculum that is academically rigorous. Upon admission to the College, students begin a process whereby career counselors and academic advisors help them articulate career goals, select academic courses of study appropriate to those goals, and achieve suitable placement upon completion of their studies.
A wide variety of intercollegiate sports are available, and academic and athletic scholarships are abundant.
I owe Union College more than I could repay in my lifetime.Union has thousands of very dedicated alumni with similar stories.Perhaps some small portion can be repaid while I am "Mr. President."
JOE is a retired United Methodist minister and professional fundraiser, now working as a tour guide on the Delta Riverboats inside the Gaylord Opryland Hotel in Nashville. He served on the board of Historic Rugby in Rugby, TN, and is the President of the Union College Alumni Association in KY. He previously served churches in Ohio; was a social worker with maximum security delinquent girls; was executive director or development director for Lutheran Social Services, the American Lung Association, the Dayton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Baton Rouge Symphony, Historic Rugby and others.
JANE has spent most of her adult life working as a health information management coding specialist, and is employed by Vanderbilt Medical Center in Nashville. She is a graduate of Sinclair Community College in OH. She has been majorly involved in animal rescue in three states.
WE are actively involved at Andrew Price Memorial United Methodist Church in Nashville. We have five children and five grandchildren. We also have eight cats, five dogs and three birds and share an unconditional love with them. Our favorite pastimes are traveling and movies.