On Memorial Day we gathered to honor the five residents of Old Friends in Georgetown who passed during the last year. They were Mixed Pleasure, Francis (Do One Dance), Flick, Gulch, and Wallenda.
Supporters, staff and volunteers listened to Old Friends’ official eulogist Bill Mooney’s tribute to each horse. Bill said so much that was so meaningful, in so few and so eloquent words that each horse seemed to stand there for a moment, clear, himself, unforgetable.
Those who were especially close to a particular horse or who wanted to share some powerful experience inspired by Mixed Pleasure, Francis, Flick, Gulch or Wallenda, generously shared how that horse came into their lives and made a difference in them.
We very much missed Bucky Sallee’s Call to the Post, but the tradition of the Last Call to the Post continued with Steve Siegel doing the honors. Those who remember, or have heard about, some of the residents’ interested responses to previous memorial Calls looked around and caught some heads flung up, some ears pricked. War Emblem was too far away for us to see if he responded, but Touch Gold seemed to love hearing “his song.”
Silver Charm just looked over and continued munching the lovely early summer grass. And with every right. Who’s been there and done that more convincingly than he has?
On the eve of the groundbreaking for the new barn on the site of the “small barn,” our former hospital and quarantine barn that burned down last winter, the sign was unveiled that will adorn the new barn, dedicating it to the memory of pioneering Thoroughbred aftercare advocate John Hettinger. Old Friends is grateful to Fasig Tipton and the many other generous donors who have enabled us to replace the all-important hospital and quarantine barn. Follow its progress on our Facebook page and on this blog.
People take for granted that humans can deeply affect each others’ lives, perceptions, and wisdom. Sometimes it isn’t recognized that an animal can contribute just as profoundly to our ability to live, feel, and gain wisdom. All of our supporters who have made Old Friends possible and make it continue to work possess a clear understanding of the powerful effect these horses have on us, both the track and as they continue to enrich our lives in their retirements. As handicapper, fan and longtime OF supporter Kate Dunn said after Monday’s gathering, “I guess Michael was thinking about helping horses when he started but I wonder if he knew how much the horses would help people.”
the good photos – Laura
the snapshots – Beth