Horse Sense

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“Be true to your work, your word and your friends.” ~ Henry David Thoreau

The phone rang last Tuesday night. It was Mary Grace calling – my childhood friend who is featured in one of the chapters of my memoir “Gift of a Lifetime: Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.” I hadn’t spoken with her since my book was published and sometimes decades pass by between our telephone conversations. Yet every time we talk it’s like a only a day has gone by since I’ve seen her.

“Sue, I want to buy some copies of your book.  Oh – and I need one for myself.”

I was delighted and of course, we had to take a trip down memory lane while we were speaking.

“Do you remember the time we cleaned your fathers garage out?” She asked.

“No, I don’t.” I replied.

“You don’t remember that?” Mary Grace asked in astonishment.

“No, why did we do that?” I inquired.  After all, kids typically have better ways to expend their energy.

“Because a radio station was giving away a pony, and I was going to win it!” Mary Grace said.


“That’s right,” said Mary Grace. “My parents said they wouldn’t have it.”(the pony Mary knew she was going to win).

It didn’t surprise me that her parents said that. They had enough stuff going on at their house . They were a big Catholic family with even more kids than the Battons.

“So you, Jan (my twin sister) and I,” Mary Grace continued, “had determined we were going to clean out your garage of all your fathers construction and building equipment so I could put my pony in it. We wanted to be prepared for the horse’s arrival. We were certain it would be arriving momentarily, as soon as I made my call to the radio station to claim it.

I cracked up laughing on the telephone because I didn’t recall the incident.

As Mary Grace recounted the disappointment she felt that she didn’t win the pony, I couldn’t help think how she has had a very fulfilling life even though that pony didn’t come through for her then, not until decades later.

Mary has always had horse sense and knew to follow her interest in animals and built a very successful veterinary practice. Now she is semi-retired and has turned her focus to wildlife. She is studying and documenting black-footed ferrets in their natural environment. They are currently on the endangered species list. I hope some day she will write about and publish her research.

As we ended our conversation, I was buoyed by the fact that our friendship in still in tact after all these years. Mary, I hope to scout you out toward the end of the summer with some good news that my sister is going to take a trip West so we can have our own reunion. Today I’d like to say your friendship has always been a gift to me, and I’d like to express my heartfelt gratefulness.

mary kellogg  on horse young age

 Mary taking riding lessons as a young teenager as

her mom looks on.

Photo compliment of

mary kellogg with horse as adult

 Mary as a veterinarian with her beloved horses.

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Do return tomorrow. I’ll be blogging about sisters of the heart. I will be posting a photo of me and my twin sister that I had never seen before last Friday. It will have historic value to my family. I can’t wait to surprise them.

This blog brought to you brought to you by Sue Batton Leonard, author of Gift of a Lifetime:Finding Fulfilling Things in the Unexpected.Sue’s memoir