Location: Seattle, Washington, United States

What you have here is an old guy. In education for 30 years, started teaching elementary, ended as library and media director of community college. I've enjoyed mountain climbing, sports car rallying, was pipe major of a bagpipe band, played guitar and sang during the folk revival, walking and hiking later in life. Now fairly sedentary. Enjoy reading, esp. mysteries and fantasy, but my reading is pretty eclectic. Enjoy movies, giving Netflix a workout.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Horses and Indians: Today was a strange combination. This morning I watched the Hambletonian, the classic race for trotting horses, or Standardbreds, to give them their rightful name. We don’t have many trotting racetracks here in the west. Trotting races are much more popular in the east, and especially in Canada. I remember attending a trotting races on an autumn evening in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. The farmers trailered their horses in for the evening, raced them, and trailered them home. We had a very entertaining evening at the track. They didn’t even charge admission, although they did have parimutuel betting. My dad used to talk about seeing the great trotter, Dan Patch. Maybe that’s what attracts me to this kind of racing.

The odds-on favorite for this year’s race, the 79th Running of the Hambletonian, was a horse named Tom Ridge. Why name a horse after our Secretary of Homeland Security, who puts us on orange alert, several years after the e-mails are intercepted? Well, I’m here to tell you he ran a poor fourth. The winner was Windsong’s Legacy, trained and driven by Trond Smedshammer, a Norwegian-born driver. First time in a long time that the winner has been both trained and driven by the same man. The race was run at the Meadowland in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Windsong’s Legacy won $1 million. Not a bad day’s work for less than two minutes effort.

Once the race was over we drove north to Arlington, stopped to see our daughter-in-law at her business. She is a massage therapist and has her own school of massage therapy licensed by the state. Our two granddaughters, Nora and Grace, were with her. Grace was asleep, out like a light. Nora was her usual self, telling us that she was going to take painting lessons and that she can play one tune on the fiddle. She and her dad can now play duets on guitar and fiddle.

We drove on to the Festival of the River, along the Stillaguamish River, where there was a music stage and many booths with information and food and other items for sale. The reason we had come was for the small powwow that is part of the festival. Several friends were there and we chatted with them, watched the exhibition dancers, talked with the m.c., an old friend of ours who now lives in Portland and generally had a good time. The clouds blew away, last night’s rain had freshened things, and the dance ground became fairly warm, especially for the dancer who wore regalia. No competition, some pretty decent drums, some good singing. Just a nice small traditional powwow. It made the drive north very much worthwhile.


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