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  • Published
    May 17, 2011

    Watermelon Jim and the smok’n Webly

    Watermelon Jim was as dark as midnight with gums that blazed bright red, red as the rinds on a ripe summer melon. Jim had worked with horses all his life and there was no one in the horse community of Monkton, Md., who could turn out a horse like he could. Jim had an energy in his hands that flowed through a rub-rag into the coat of a horse making each muscle shimmer like sunlight reflecting on water. His deep …

  • Published
    March 22, 2011

    Then and Now

    The snow was so thick I could barely see the road in front of me. Up ahead, a pair of headlights coming in my direction were cutting through the curtain of blowing snow. The lights were too high and spaced too close together for a normal vehicle. Had I not known what this strange configuration was, I probably would have pulled over until it passed by. But I did know. I had seen it before on other mornings similar …

  • Published
    January 29, 2011

    Billy Barton and the English Grand National

    Forty-one horses walked from the saddling paddock through a thick gray fog onto the racecourse at Aintree. It was the 27th of March 1928. In a few minutes 41 fit and nimble thoroughbreds would begin a grueling four-mile race, jumping 30 formidable hedge fences. It was the start of the English Grand National. Among the horses was number 25, Billy Barton. Owned by an American, Mr. Howard Bruce, of Monkton, Md., …

  • Published
    December 15, 2010

    A Memory of Reese

    Clouds and mist filled the valley and hung low over the plateau that rose up between the East Ridge and the mountains to the west. All flying had come to a halt at the Warren Sugarbush airport in Vermont. The gliders sat peacefully lined in a row, moisture collecting on their graceful wings. The L-19 tow planes, sturdy workhorses of the soaring school, were being given care and attention. Wendy, the hooker (she …

  • Published
    October 22, 2010

    October High

    It was cold in Vermont for the 12th of October. The temperatures were only in the high 20s. A crisp wind was blowing out of the west and the early morning skies held the last light of nighttime stars. The outline of a tree lined ridge on the eastern horizon was matched by the higher peaks of the Green Mountains to the west creating a beautiful valley stretching 15 miles across. On the floor of this valley flowed …

  • Published
    August 4, 2010

    Primrose and midnight blue

    I grew up in a sea of primrose and midnight blue. These were the colors of Atlanta Hall Farm. These were the colors that proudly sat atop every racehorse that ran in the name of Edward S. Voss. Atlanta Hall Farm, 900 acres of rolling pastures, sitting in the heart of the farmlands of Monkton, Md., was and remains a working estate. Streams large and small flow through spacious meadows and woods, grain and hay …

  • Published
    July 7, 2010

    East to Cape Breton

    Fog hangs heavy and still over the airport at Knox County. Sometimes when there’s a breeze it swirls and seeps into every crack and cranny it can find, but not this day. It remains solid and stationary, waiting to be awakened from within. N633JK (Juliet Kilo), a twin engine Cessna that I’ll be flying today, sits calm and peaceful waiting for my command to merge into oneness with the white blanket of vapory …

  • Published
    April 7, 2010

    Flying the mail

    PQ   This morning I have flown overseas to two island kingdoms where no passport is required, knowing, in this changing world of e-mail, Fed-Ex and UPS, the U.S. mail is still a vital part of people’s lives and I have the good fortune of starting my day delivering it behind the power of 300 aerial horses.         Seven a.m. on a winter morning, I’ve come into the room I reserve for my writing and …

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