xml:space="preserve">
xml:space="preserve">
Advertisement
Advertisement

Right now it is not yet Christmas and I am writing my New Year's column. It seems that writers are usually slightly behind what happened or they need to be somewhat before what is going to happen in order to be on time. This is not merely a holiday type of thing; it is what I have to remember in order to let readers know when something is coming up that they might like to see or do. Not that my opinion is worth all that much but who knows when I will come up with something that someone else might enjoy?

Speaking of which, I am fully aware that anyone who regularly reads this column knows that I have what is most kindly referred to as a "peculiar" mind. Possibly that comes from my lack of a formal higher education which tends to shape abilities into socially familiar channels. I sort of flunked my way through high school in order to get into the barn and on with the life that I was certain awaited me more quickly. What I liked I passed with flying grades that gave hope to my parents that they had given birth to someone that would move more in the world than horse manure by the wheelbarrow. What I did with what I didn't like brought them back down to earth pretty quickly.

Advertisement

I have been watching PBS and the History channels over the past few years and I enjoy them greatly, but (here again is that little quirk) what happens in my mind when I see the great wonders of the world explained is that I speculate upon what the average person back then thought when they walked by the wonders while they were under construction.

Did those ancient people say, "Oh, what a wonderful thing that is! It will make all of us so much more important!" or was it merely something like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah, there goes old Cheops trying to show off again!" I am aided in this speculation by a little bit of doggerel that I read somewhere that went sort of like this: "Who can doubt the secret hid under Cheops pyramid is that his contractor did Cheops out of several millions?" See? I'm not the only one with that sort of mind.

Advertisement

In fact I got most of my education by buying really good books and college level history and literature books at yard sales and reading them around the work that I did. It would be fair to say that I got whatever education that I have about fifty cents at a time. And it could well be that the sum total of my education is worth every penny of that fifty cents, too. It was not unusual for me to take a book down to the barn in the evening and sit with my good old Hawk horse and read it out loud to him. He seemed to like Dickens and the lighter works of Shakespeare. We both liked The Tempest, for instance.

This odd sort of an education does have its disadvantages though. For instance, I could spell denouement and understand its meaning long before I could pronounce it properly. I learned the pronunciation from a "MASH" episode.

I got what liberation I choose to acknowledge not from Gloria Steinem but from the poetry of Dorothy Parker. If you are a liberated sort of female and you have not read Dorothy Parker you are missing a very amusing bet, by the way. It was also from Ms. Parker that I learned that it is better to laugh at life wryly than to be stridently frustrated and angry with it.

That education came in very handy when I worked with horses. If you get frustrated with a horse nothing gets done that is worth the time that you spend at it. You can't take it personally either. The horse doesn't take things personally — it is just being a horse — so why should you feel that the equine universe is out to get you? Laugh at what doesn't work and do better next time. Accept that you didn't have your brain in the right gear, beat a strategic retreat and come back more prepared for the second round. That way everyone has a chance to win.

Reading back, it seems that what I am taking into the next year is that success is relative to what you deem a success. I am always amazed at where I find myself at the end of each year. I never really have a plan as such, but I do absolutely go after what I want and I often surprise myself by getting darn close to it.

This year I hope that you get close to what you want, too.

Hope Holland is the Times' equestrian columnist. Reach her at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

Recommended on Baltimore Sun

Advertisement
Advertisement