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Home First Posted July 21, 2008
Aug 12, 2018

A Snippet of My Life

by Debora Johnson

"Life is good; a horse makes it better!"
Author Unknown

"Speak your mind, but ride a fast horse."
Author Unknown

It is easy to come to a web site and have no idea of who creates it, tends it with care, nourishes it, makes it grow. So, I have decided to share a bit of my life. I am married to a wonderful man and have been for more than 4 decades. We have a delightful daughter who is married to a dear man, Tim. My husband is now retired. He is a lawyer, but still keeps rising to the challenges by consulting. His expertise is communications law. I have a BS degree in Early Childhood Development and used it to rear our lovely daughter along with good common sense. I had no interest in really working in the field teaching or working outside the home once our daughter was born. Instead, I decided to stay home to take care of our family. That seemed to me to be the most important job of all and my husband was fine with that decision. I got a Cosmetology Degree and license, while our daughter attended Kindergarten, and opened a Beauty Consulting Business. I could stay at home and work in that field. I did that for 24 years. It was great fun. I met many wonderful people who would never would have crossed my path, otherwise. Their journeys and sharing kept my mind sharp. The cosmetology license gave me the tools to be creative, as well. These many clients became my friends over the 24 years. I literally closed my door after the first two years and stopped accepting any more clients.

Our home is an historic property, built in 1890 by the famous architect, Thomas J.D. Fuller. It is a four-story, semi-detached town home in the Embassy area of Washington, DC. We live approximately ten blocks from the White House, near the Washington Hilton where President Reagan was shot, are in the art gallery district, and are surrounded by beautiful historic residences and embassies. We are able to walk everywhere. Scores of restaurants are just out our door and around the corner as well as little boutique specialty shops, art galleries, museums, i.e., The Phillips Collection, The Woodrow Wilson House, Embassy Row, the Anderson House (aka the House of the Cincinnati, the White House, the Vice President's house, the United States Naval Observatory, etc., and so much more are all walking distance. (Please see my website: Dupont Circle Reflections). The metro trains are one and half blocks away so we can get anywhere, by train, in minutes. The Smithsonian Institution is a regular haunt. Hubby and I attend many lectures and tours to the endless collections. There are always free concerts, poetry readings, well known speakers, and varied intellectual pursuits at our fingertips. We regularly go to concerts, plays and symphonies. The Kennedy Center is walking distance from our home. Washington, DC is a wonderful place to live. You can never be bored here.

We spent many fun filled hours horsing around in Virginia Horse County. In our early years of riding we rode our Thoroughbred. English riding was how we began, although I rode bareback and Western in my early life in California. Our daughter did Pony Club. She really did not like it because the Thoroughbred was a flea-bitten gray and our daughter hated spending all that time trying to get Little Bee clean. Riding was what she wanted to do, and did! My friend gave us Little Bee. Bee was a race horse whose registry name was GoVanGough. Little Bee taught all of us to have a really good seat! Over the years Bill and I have had a number of gaited horses including Tennessee Walkers, Rackers, Kentucky Mountain Horses and a Spotted Saddle Horse. Our last two, Rusty and A Patchy were a Kentucky Mountain Saddle Horse and a Spotted Mountain Horse, respectively. A Patchy was a tri-colored tobiano--very sweet and beautiful. Rusty was sired by Gold Finger well known in Kentucky for Palominos. Both were boarded near the Manassas Battlefield at the "perfect" setting. A lovely couple loved them and cared for them in our absence. The owner of the property had the cutest Farnley Pony-Welsh Thoroughbred cross. He was always getting into mischief. We felt so fortunate to be able to have them live here for 9 years and to be able to so easily ride hours at the Battlefield. The terrain is so varied. There are fields, tree lined trails, many streams, ponds, birds, fox, deer, coyote, and vegetation of all sorts. The trails are beautifully maintained, and for the most part, the footing is wonderful. Both our horses were able to go barefoot. The Civil War history of the Battlefield make the ground hallowed and really special. We rode for the National Capital Park Police in Maryland, as mounted volunteers, for about 5 years. At the Battlefield we rode for the Park in the same capacity for almost two years.

Rusty Man and Bill (left) A Patchy Star (right)

Oliver Twist (Kate's Farnley Pony)

If we crossed a stream from one of the quadrants of the Manassas Battlefield we were able to go into a State Park, Bull Run, ride that park; access the Blue Bell Trail, and ride another 17 miles through several interconnecting State Parks all the way to Occoquan to a waterway that leads to the Chesapeake. Middleburg is a lovely place to ride, as well as the Virginia Arboretum and many other wonderful trails. With a minimum amount of effort we could go into Maryland and ride the C&O Canal. You can actually ride 150 miles to Cumberland, West Virginia. There are also many parks in Maryland that have bridle trails. In Washington, DC we could ride a large area of Rock Creek Park. We have done this a number of times. The ride even took us past the National Zoo. We have trailered our horses to Kentucky and ridden with friends on their turf, too. The trailer gives the freedom to go wherever you desire. Riding the Gettysburg National Park is a treck through our history as are all the National Battlefields. What we have done on horseback has been such a continuing and unique shared life experience.

Both Bill and I decided it was time for us to retire from riding after all the riding years--for health and other reasons. One of our equine vets took both A Patchy and Rusty. She gave them a life time home on her property in Catlett, VA. Her parents own an amazing farm--216 acres-- where they grow their own hay. There are boarders on the property, as well. Linda and her mom and dad are so delightful and kind--we are fortunate that they came into our lives. A Patchy has since died. Linda was there with him to give comfort. There was nothing that could be done for him other than ease his discomfort. He was gone in less than 20 minutes. Rusty is still living a wonderful life and is head of the herd--although a benevolent king! We visit Rusty and he comes running when he sees us! Thank you Linda, for your never ending kindness.

Riding and travelling are among our passions. We have travelled to all the continents except Antarctica. The countries are varied and many. Unvisited destinations are becoming fewer and fewer. Some recent travel includes India and Nepal. It was quite exotic, mystical, and interesting. You can read the article about it in the Travel Section on the Home Page. With friends, we took a river boat cruise from St. Petersburg to Moscow. That is also written up, with galleries, under the Travel Category. May 2011 was an interesting trip to Warsaw, Auschwitz, Krakow, Budapest, Vienna, Prague, and Helsinki. That trip was taken with friends that we met on the India/Nepal trip. Since then some destinations have been Brazil, Chile and Argentina, Cuba and Israel interspersed with travel in the good ole' USA. In July of 2017 we went to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana on safari. It was an exceptional trip--not to be forgotten. Many articles, galleries, etc., on our Africa trip can be seen here.

The international unrest has recently been a factor in our choice of destinations. The inability of humans to get along makes travel much more difficult. Humanity never seems to learn. We take it one day at a time! Even now when we travel Bill and I try to ride the native horses in every country we visit. At times we can only get camels and elephants. Oh well, you take what's available. Interestingly, camels and elephants are "gaited" that is to say--their footfalls are the same as a horse's rack.

Bill and I have had a "wonderful go" in our life journey together. Enough--this is a snippet. In any event, because of my friend, Frank's generosity and graciousness, he has taught me to use a computer and code html. He has opened up an infinite vista to disseminate information, learn from my research, share information that visitors to my site have shared, and at the same time be creative. I am so grateful and fortunate to have him in my life. Thank you, Frank