A Happy Birthday with Three Penny Opera

After a certain age many of us do not expect all that exciting a birthday, but mine this past week was a huge exception to anything I could have expected.  First, on the day before, these spectacular flowers arrived from my son, Erik Karlsson.   Parie Designs in Amarillo, Texas, really knows how to do flowers out of the ordinary.




Almost two weeks ago, Walker Lewis, the Director, and Jeromy  Hunt, the Production Stage Manager, of the upcoming production of Three Penny Opera (Amarillo Opera Company) arrived to stay with me for three weeks.  Yesterday, my birthday, was an off day for them.  Chad Armstrong, one of the baritones, came over to ride my  horse, Rosie.  Romy and Walker gave me a bottle of good cab and bought me a birthday cake.  We relaxed on the rim of wonder (my patio), ate, and rode Rosie.  Then last night we all went to the annual opera gala.  Unfortunately, one of the opera performer’s husband became ill so now I will have my tiny fifteen minutes of  glory playing the madame of the brothel, pretending to smoke a cigarette, counting money, and watching “my girls” and the customers, or so they tell me.  Later today, I go for a fitting and start the one week of rehearsals remaining until the first performance on Saturday night.

I could not have ordered a better birthday.


Chad Armstrong on Rosie, Walker on the left and Romy on the right.


While Romy, Walker, and I hiked around, Chad rode off here and there, disappearing for a while and then showing back up.  Rough riding in canyon country.  Neither Romy nor Walker had ridden since childhood.


Walker Lewis learning to ride–on Rosie.  He loved it and will ride again this coming week.  He kept smiling all over!!!


Romy on Rosie with my dog, Isabella resting in the shade of a juniper tree.

Apparently, riding Rosie produced so much fun that the other singers want to come over later this week and ride.  Nothing beats fun friends, fabulous food, and pretty well broke horses for a day to remember!!!



Horses in Heaven

Heaven for horses seems a bit far fetched, especially for someone who lacks certainty about heaven  even for people.  Nevertheless, it remains a comforting concept.  Yesterday, I buried Starry Miracle, less than two, an orphan I bottle fed every 3-4 hours day and night when his  mother, Miracle, died.  He not only survived, he thrived.

Around 4:30 Wednesday, friends went to my place to ride Rosie, a chunky, red roan mare.  They found Star dead.  It appeared he had been playing, jumping, and rearing, and freakily caught his ankle in a space between the pipe gate and fence, broke it and ruptured his femoral artery, then bled to death.  When they called to tell me, disbelief set in.  As a horse owner for many years, I know the common causes of horse deaths, colic mainly, from which Miracle died three days after his birth.  I have inspected fences and corrals for safety many times.  The possibility of such an accident never even entered my mind.

His body stiff, distorted,  his coat, lusterless, bore no resemblance to his burnished copper body, glinting in the sun, following me, nipping if I ignored him.  Often, I thought he thought I was a horse or he a human.

The two surviving horses spent hours standing in the spot where he died, licking the pipe fence from which I had hosed off his blood, smelling the ground, neighing.  They even failed to rush to their hay when I fed them.  Eventually, I opened their gates.  They ran across the rugged canyon land constantly for fifteen minutes, dream horses running in the wind.



Miracle, Star’s mother, deceased, July 2010.  Rosie who “adopted” Star after Miracle died, and Cool, the other orphaned horse I raised.

Miracle and Star as a newbornRosie, who "adopted" Star after Miracle died.