Friday, December 12, 2008

Rest in Peace

A piece from the Facebook group started by the owners of the horses who died in the fire on Dec. 10, 2008.

In memory of the 8 horses that were tragically lost to a barn fire on December 10, 2008 at Spruce Hill Farm in Windham, Maine.

The horses were not only show horses; they were family and will be greatly missed. They won't be remembered for their show records but for the smiles they brought to everyone's faces. No one ever thinks that anything like this will happen to them. It is an utter tragedy. As all of you know these horses were very well loved and taken care of. Sometimes there are no answers as to "why this happens to good people".

Rest In Peace our beloved horses & may you enjoy the greener pastures in which you are now running.

Lil' of Buckskin (Monty) owned by Elizabeth Cole
The Whole Nine Yards (Ripley) owned by Taylor Duncanson
The Moxie Man (Lucky) owned by Brittany and Jenna Costa
A Romantic Cowboy (Cowboy) owned by Julia Jordan and Abigail Smith
The Scottish Verse (Scotty) owned by Haley Jordan
MWS Flash Mea Double (Sandy) owned by Marti Beaulieu
Zipped Outa Town (Doc) owned by Caitlin Sarah Putnam
Ayesgarth Zeus (Zeus) owned by Amy & Dana Sterling

We will be having a "Celebration of Their Lives" on Sunday Dec 14th at 1pm for anyone that would like to join us. Bring pictures to add to our memory boards and any of your fond memories to share. The celebration will be at Crystal Stover's, 508 Gray Road, Windham ME 04062.

Donations for the Spruce Hill Farm Fund can be sent in care of Crystal Stover at the address above. Amy and the horse owners have lost all their tack and equipment from everyday manure forks and lead ropes to blankets and show saddles so any amount would be gratefully appreciated.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Another Few Pages...

I step out into the rain and let the door swing shut behind me. As I walked home I let my mind wander back to the past. It was hard to believe that Charlie and I had once been best friends. We’d met in basic training and had gone to Vietnam together. We were two of the four surviving members of our platoon who made it home. After our tour was done I’d bounced around the country for a while before following Charlie back to his hometown of Kalispell, Montana and built a house for myself. We’d bought the bar together and through a few other good investments I’d made a name for myself. Around Christmas time his sister returned home from college back east and Charlie introduced us.
From the moment I first saw her I knew she was perfect. Charlie and Carolyn’s mother’s parents had been full blooded Blackfeet. Carolyn had inherited their dark hair, eyes, and golden skin. She was her parents pride and joy. She was smart, top of her class at Rutgers, and her brother and I would sometimes stand in awe at little things she’d say that we’d have never thought of. Carolyn was also the strongest woman I’d ever met. She’d raised a daughter on her own, while she went to school. Like I said she was perfect in every way. We were married in the summer after her graduation, and started to build our life together with Dana who had just turned five. I raised her as my own and in the years to come Carolyn and I had two more daughters together, Jackie and Suzanne.

When Monday night rolled around I was back at the watering hole. On Sundays the place was closed so come Monday the place was usually packed with locals thirsty for a taste of liquor. I’d sold my share of the bar to Charlie years before but I never could help but to come in and see how business was doing a few times a week. I strolled in at around nine o’clock, sat down at my spot at the bar, and waited for Charlie to come over. The bar was indeed busy and it was a few minutes before he could get to me.
“What can get for you?”
“Draft or bottle?”
He handed me the bottle and tried to walk away but I stopped him.
“Hey Charlie, how are the girls doing?”
“They’re fine.”
“Fine doesn’t tell me how they’re handling life without a man in their lives.”
He frowned a little and I could tell there was something he wanted to tell me.
“Alright, what’s going on?”
“There isn’t anything going on.”
“Yes, there is, you always get that pinched look between your eyes when you’re hiding something from.”
“No, I don’t.”
“Yeah you do, you remember that time in Da Nang don’t you?”
“Alright fine, look, Junior was right, Carolyn is seeing someone.”
“Who?” Even to my ears my voice sounded a little odd, like someone had me by the throat and I was still trying to talk.
“You don’t know him. He’s from Browning.”
“Who?” I repeated, though I could already tell what was coming next.
“Dana’s father, but look he’s great for the girls. They love him.”
“They’re my kids.”
Damn right they were my kids, I thought. Nobody was taking them from me and Caroline was my wife. Mine. I raised Dana as my own and never treated her differently then the other two. No, I would never allow them to be taken for me.
“Well, you really fucked that relationship up when they watched you smack their mom around for years. Now you’re just going to have to accept Carolyn’s choices if you want any hope in building that relationship.”
“Where the hell did the bastard come from anyway?”
“I guess he’s been serving in the Marines overseas for years and thought Carolyn wasn’t interested in anything more then quick affair. He didn’t know about Dana.”
“So why come to Montana of all places.”
He got that squinty look between his eyes again.
“We grew up together.”

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


Sitting on a beach somewhere
With Merle Haggard and Willy Nelson
Sand between our toes and
Hair in our eyes from hurricane breezes
Sipping on coconut rum
We pretend we’re pirates under the sun

Living on dreams, reminiscing other times
Pretending that legends never die
Newman and Redford ride into the picture
Six guns blazing, horses at full gallop
We trade in our rum for whisky and
Our surf boards for saddles
We ride the western wind
Like we rode the southern squalls

We trade in the guns and glory
All for a peacefuller scene
Up in a tree with a girl
A garden party below us
And a handsome man with pockets full
Of champagne, we can't remember his name
Because there is Bogart, the dark and quiet type
Setting our feminine hearts to pounding
We'd follow him Casablanca, we'd follow him
To the ends of the earth

Until we find ourselves back on our beach
When the radio switches from Nelson to McGraw
And we realize that legends never do die
They live on in the generations that come after
The pelvic thrusts and the cool badboy smiles
Prestley and Dean survive in the hips of our modern man
But they started it and it will forever be remembered
That some things are ageless and will live on eternally.


Today has been a quite horrible day. Mornings are never a good part of the day anyway, but when you are awoken as I was things go from bad to worse. First off I'm sick...I knew I was coming down with something yesterday and today I woke up with a sore throat. Second, how I was phone rang it was my mum...a good thing 8:30am a bad thing...I knew it was bad news. The barn where I had once boarded my horse had burnt down. Eight horses were lost, most of whom I'd grown up around. The imagination I've been blessed with is a curse today because I can hear them screaming and yes, horses scream or rather it's a high pitched whinny. I also have an image of a certain draft horse and another quarter horse and now another and another trying to get out of their stalls and slowly burning to death. I'm going with the hopes that the smoke got to them first, but it was a barn with hay and wood so it went up fast. God!!!!! I just need to get the images out of my head and hopefully writing of them will get them partially out...I don't think they will simply go away. I know four of the horses that were probably in there.

First there was Zeus a Belgian Draft who once was a carriage horse up at the Mount Washington Hotel. Over 18 Hands tall, creamy tan and white with adorably long lashes. One of his feet were the size of my head, he was a big boy, but incredibly gentle. He didn't care for my little Arab...I don't know if it was his black coloring or his size, but I can remember falling off once on a trail ride because Zeus chased after my horse.

Then there is Cowboy, a big baby to the end. He was a chestnut color with a big old white stripe down his forehead. He was a goof ball, always injuring himself and getting stitches on his nose or bombing through a fence because he was jealous the other horses were being ridden and not him. Or I remember a time he locked me in a barn...that was a trip, lol. My friend and I were in there for a half-hour. He was a beautiful animal...and all decked out for shows he was a prime piece.

Then there was Miss Lucy...I'm not sure if she was in the fire or not to be honest, but I'm thinking she probably was. She was a baby when we first met, but grew up as all babies do. She was a buckskin quarter horse just like her mum. Before she learned her manners she was quite the handful. I was taking care of the barn or maybe just helping Amy out one day and I was leading Lucy into the barn for her dinner. She had this trick where she'd put her head down like she was going to grab some grass and then snap up and try to take the lead from your hands. The smart person would either be ready for this or let go...but not me, she must have dragged me for 15 ft. before I let go. She grew into a tall gorgeous girl though.

Then there was the handsome bay Scotty...another one I'm not positive was in the barn fire, but again most likely. He was another gentle giant. A Quarter horse so not as big as Zeus of course, but still a big boy like Cowboy. And it really was his gentle nature I remember the most. You could see it in his eyes. He was gentle with humans, but agressive in the pasture, I think he took more than a few nips out of my Blackstar's rump to show who's boss, but that's the way of all animals I think even humans we just use words.

These horses will all be remembered...they touched many lives...were part of many families...were very much loved. It's funny how these creatures who normally live only 25-30 years normally and in this case much shorter than that touch our hearts. It seems to rip it out when they pass away. I'm sure Amy and Dana and the girls are heartbroken, I think they'd sooner have had an arm cut off then lose those animals. I'd be willing to give up one of mine to bring them back and they aren't even my horses. Fire is such a violent creature in itself and animals so helpless at times like babies. I don't really know how to end this blog....I have a feeling that I'm going to have another cry over this when this is through. I'm not a crier normally, but I sobbed. Loss of ones love ones in such a manner is horrible. I'm quite simply...Devastated.