Last weekend, I took delivery of a box sent from my mom in North Dakota. The contents: Copies of horse-mag articles I wrote 25 years ago, in the first decade of my career. That's my mom for you--the ultimate super-saver. And I'm grateful that she has that particular bent.
I'd forgotten most of the stories, but didn't have copies of any of them. They were written long before the days of the personal computer, or digital filing systems, and there are only so many boxes of old nag-mags a person can haul around with her from one move to the next. I spent a good portion of the weekend getting re-acquainted with the writer I was half a lifetime ago.
This turned out to be quite the trip in my personal way-back machine. For one thing, it was amazing to see how many horse-world subjects haven't changed much. Twenty-five years ago, I was already covering such subjects as show-ring politics, the inability of Joe/Jane Average to compete against the wealthy, and the dilemma of what to do with color-breed horses born without the desired coat colors. For another thing, I was reminded of how many doors have been opened to me by virtue of having been born with the writer's knack.
I found the profile I wrote on Penny Tweedy, the woman who campaigned Secretariat to his Triple Crown victories, and who confessed the sibling upsets caused by her time in the limelight. I rediscovered the Q&A I did with superstar roper J.D. Yates, when he was just 25 and already a rodeo-matinee idol. I found my photo-tour piece on the L.A. Equestrian Center, complete with my account of meeting actor/horseman William Shatner--who kept his horses at LAEC, and who was clad in a pair of pink schooling chaps the day we met. I found the very first training series I wrote with uber-trainer Bob Avila, then barely in his 30s and already a world champion.
I never knew Mom had saved all these writings. That's how it is with moms, though--always doing the small things on the kids' behalf, and knowing it'll somehow, someday, be worth their going to the trouble.