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Happy Tail - Peg's Memories of her Dutch Dad on Father's Day
Perfect for Father's Day, 2013. It was a story Peg Schaeffer says she's had in her head for weeks, but it didn't come out until how - at a perfect time. It's one of happy memories of her incredibly wonderful Dutch born father. It's sure to strike a chord with every reader whose Father is now gone, of unforgettable memories of Fathers they are so proud of today, would love to spend more time with now that they can't; yearn to take down their every word now. And wondered why they didn't then. Click to read this entire story with photo(s), likely to be someone's nomination for the best ever CM story, and sure to make most readers' Top 10 ever. - EW
The next earlier Happy Tail: Happy Tail - It Takes A Village
By Peg Schaeffer
My father was born in Arnhem, Holland on April 8, 1899. I inherited my love of animals, especially horses, from him.
While in Holland he served on the Queen's Calvary. I always listened to stories about Queen Juliana. As a little girl I remember riding on my stick horse as he played "Marching to the Coldstream Guards" on the record player. He would tell me the various moves the horses would perform during different parts of the music and I would do the maneuvers on my stick horse.
He immigrated to the United States in 1921 and was made a citizen in 1929. He served in the U.S. Navy Seabees during World War II.
I have a photo of the ship's mascot, a black and white dog, named Pizzer McGee. I also have the dog's name plate and medals that he was awarded during the War.
My parents divorced when I was just five and Sundays were visiting day with Dad. We always went somewhere with animals. If we visited my Uncle Pete and Aunt Florence I would play would their Manchester Terrier, Peggy, while we visited. Then it was a trip to Mohegan Park where I could feed the goats and the sheep and of course - go on a pony ride.
He had a friend, Mr. Williams, who lived in Pomfret, and on special Sundays we would go there.
Mr. Williams had a son, Joel, and a daughter, Jean, who were just a little older than me - and they had HORSES.
So when we went there I could go riding. Those Sundays meant so much to me.
On other Sundays we would go visit, Syvia Goldberg, a schoolmate, who had two ponies - Lightning and Danny Boy. Lightning was black and white and Danny Boy was brown and white.
We would spend Sunday afternoons riding while my father would stand at the fence beaming with pride.
My parents remarried when I was 12.
We lived in a little house on a small lot in the suburbs. I read every book I could about horses and lived the dream that someday I would own one of my own. My dream came true.
My parents had a patio built in the backyard by my cousin, Gus Lambert, and as luck would have it Gus had two sons my age and they had horses. So I now had someone related to me who had horses and my dream became closer to becoming true.
Next thing I knew Gus had convinced my parents to buy me not one but two ponies. It was a team of black pulling ponies - Mike and Ike. So I then began spending my weekends at Gus' with his wife, Shirley, and their sons - Michael, Kim and Gregg.
We would spend the entire weekend riding. I loved it.
My parents bought me another pony, Prince, a few weeks later and Prince and I became a great team. I would ride him in horse shows and won all kinds of awards with him.
My father was always so proud of my accomplishments. My mother just worried that I would outgrow my love of horses.
Guess I proved her wrong. As my number of horses increased it was decided that it was time to move to the country so I could have my horses with me. As luck would have it there was a farm for sale right down the road from Gus'.
So we moved to Lisbon and my herd of horses increased.
In addition to the dogs and cats we already had rabbits, guinea pigs, pigeons, ducks and geese were added to the menagerie. My love of animals just grew and grew and my father was there to nurture it. He died in 1974.
I look back now and wish I had done so much different.
I wish I had been a better daughter.
There was a time he rode in the Rose Arts Parade. He had a favorite turquoise cowboy shirt that he wore and he threw lollipops to the children on the sidewalks. I was at the age that anything your parents do is embarrassing. Instead of being proud of my Dad I turned the other way.
Two years before he died he returned to Holland to the town of his birth. He invited me to go along but I didn't go. When he came back with photos and stories I regretted my decision.
I look at pictures now with him in his native dress and wooden shoes so proud of his heritage and I wish I could turn back time.
Anyone who is lucky enough to still have your parents needs to learn from my mistake. Spend time with your Dad today and forget about any other events.
And if you are a father I hope you remember the song "Cats in the Cradle".
Your children will grow up and the next thing you know they'll have kids of their own and need to make time for you. Happy Father's Day everyone. Enjoy the day.
- Peg Schaeffer
Contact us if you would like to help.
Peg Schaeffer, Sugarfoot Farm Rescue,
860 Sparksville Road
Columbia, KY 42728
Home telephone: 270-378-4521
Cell phone: 270-634-4675
This story was posted on 2013-06-16 04:38:01
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