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Saturday, August 19, 2017

THE HOUSE AT SANDY COVE CIRCA 1944 (1)

Captured Music

Breaking upon the shore, the bright waves leap
And play until the ebb-tide backward wells,
Leaving the lonely sand in silence, deep,
Save for the captured music of the shells.
Thus long ago, my children came to me,
And stayed until life bade them to depart,
Yet still upon the sands of memory
Their vanished laughter lingers in my heart.
                                   Ernestine Cobern Beyer



   
     This isn’t what our house looked like when we moved in, after buying it for $12,500 in 1944. It isn’t even exactly what it looked like when we moved out, twenty-two years later. There was a time when I was sure I’d still be living there today. But it’s funny; life has a way of changing expectations.
     Welcome to Tears and Laughter at 90, where I peer back into decades of journal entries and letters and share bits from my book (Take My Ex-Husband, Please--But Not Too Far), plus a comedy co-authored by my daughter Kathie (The Tempestuous Triangle), plus my mother Ernestine's captivating poems (20 published in Poetry with a Purpose, Good Apple, Inc., 1987, an activity book available on Amazon), and excerpts from the Log of the Happy Days.
     The house on Sandy Cove was razed in 2002. When I heard the news I felt as if an essential part of me was gone, too. Our home for over two decades was replaced by a million-dollar edifice that dwarfed its neighbors  . . . even McKenna’s Mansion. Embellished with spires and turrets and pediments, it loomed over the adjoining homes that blended unaffectedly into their beach grass and scrub pine surroundings. In 2007, the alien sold for close to five million dollars. Kathie’s reaction: “I don't care if it sold for ten million dollars. To me, it will always detract from the beauty and charm of the Sandy Cove I remember.”
      In the spring of 1944, my husband and I were looking for a house in Cohasset, Massachusetts. Our home in Waban was an attractive colonial we had purchased for $6500 two years earlier, after Ed got a sizable raise to $65 a week, but it lacked one thing he was determined to have: an ocean.
     The realtor was about to pass a long driveway lined with venerable elm trees, when she slowed down and said, "There's a nice old house back there, but it's rented for the summer. You might want to take a look at the outside.”  We followed the realtor, our toddlers, Kathie and baby brother Teddy, in tow. We saw a rambling three-story shingled house with gables and ells, a large screened porch, and a shed covered with vines.  (watercolor below by Mom's friend Ruth Yount). Beyond the front porch, beach grass edged a meandering path leading to Sandy Cove.  In the middle of the cove there were two outcroppings of rocks, one much larger than the other. The rocks, our guide told us, had been been called "Big‑Big" and "Little‑Big" for as long as anyone could remember.
BIG-BIG AND LITTLE-BIG

                          A SHED COVERED WITH VINES                                        
     In the fall, after we moved in, four-year-old Kathie solved the mystery of the tides. “Look, Mummy, the rocks have gone out again!”   
     Our house was referred to as "the old Adams house" for most of the twenty-two years we lived in it. The key to a third floor bedroom was labeled "Uncle Charlie's room." Charlie, we deduced from local yore, was Charles Francis Adams, a descendant of John Quincy Adams and a frequent visitor to his relatives’ South Shore retreat. My mother, children’s poet Ernestine Cobern Beyer, lived with us in the summer and loved the view from Charlie's window as much as he must have. A trio she observed on the beach was the inspiration for "Sunbonnet Babies.”
     
                                  One wears a bonnet of organdy rose
                                  That hides her adorable bangs,
                                  And one wears a bonnet that shadows her nose,
                                  And one wears a bonnet that hangs.
                                  The first wears a pinafore (not very white!)
                                  The second, a dress that is tidy.
                                  But the belle of the beach is the third little mite
                                  With the slightly inadequate didy!
                                      (Ladies Home Journal, April 1949)
VAUGHAN AND VONNIE
   
     Opposite Mom’s bedroom lived Vaughan, my childhood caretaker, confidante, and faithful champion since I was eight years old. I thought of her as my second mother and had long ago promised her “a place by the chimney corner.” Although she was recovering from a double mastectomy, Vaughan couldn’t be deterred from pitching in when my current helper had a day off or went on vacation.
     She and Ernestine were devoted friends, although sweet dispositions could sour just the tiniest bit when one or the other won at Canasta unfairly often. When the weather turned cold-hearted, the two migrated to Florida and went their separate ways, Vaughan to a job in Miami near her son, Mother to Orlando.
     The second floor had four bedrooms, a plus when our family expanded. The one to the left of the stairway was assigned to Vonnie (Stephanie Vaughan), who arrived two years after Teddy. Next came the bathroom, whose claw-footed bathtub we eventually replaced with a modern one, installed under a small, high window that overlooked the driveway. Many was the time I hopped into that tub to make sure the children had caught their bus or Kathie’s on-the-loose horse, Heidi, before she found her way onto the pristine lawn of our neighbor, Mr. McKenna.
     The bedroom across from Vonnie’s overlooked Sandy Cove and belonged to Kathie. The third bedroom also had a view of Sandy Cove and was outfitted with bunk beds for Teddy and Timmy, the fourth child in the family, blessing us in 1946, the year I turned twenty-five. When the brothers reached a destructive age, boy-proof linoleum was installed. In a matter of months, a chemistry experiment involving acid marred the flooring, which didn’t come with a warranty.
VONNIE, TIMMY, TEDDY AND KATHIE

      The master bedroom had an ocean-view study where I parked my desk, Royal typewriter, filing cabinet, and stacks of mending I was perennially unable to reduce. We didn’t tell the children they must knock before entering. Instead, my sagacious husband installed a bolt to guarantee our privacy. One night we forgot to use it. Ed, suffering from cold sores for two weeks, had been as grouchy as a bear and about as approachable.
     When his mouth cleared up, he was more like himself—a wolf. (rrruff!)  So we were cuddling, and I was catching up on the loving he owed me when we heard his visiting mother, Mimi, at the door.
     “Barbara, are you awake?”
     “No!” I said as convincingly as I could. In the same breath Ed snapped, “We’re asleep, go away!”
     “I brought up your bag, Barbara,” Mimi said, turning the knob. “I thought you might like—“
     “Leave it there, leave it there!” Ed said frantically.
     “I don’t need it right now, Mimi,” I said. “Leave it on the shelf outside and I’ll get it tomorrow.”
     “Oh. Well, all right. I hope I didn’t wake you up. I just thought you might want—“
     “Go away!” her son sobbed. Poor Mimi! Poor Ed!
     In the 40s and 50s, lacking a crystal ball, Ed and I were as unaware as any other young couple of the hazards that would ambush us in the future.     
    
SANDY COVE AND ED'S OCEAN
       

I WISH ED'S COMPANY MANUFACTURED CAP PISTOLS. (2)

July 17, 1961
     Ed has departed on what he calls a Grand Tour for the purpose of selling himself as a subcontractor to the various concerns most likely to be awarded the prime contracts.  He says four out of ten are sure bets already.
     One thing troubles me deeply and always will.  I wish Ed’s company manufactured cap pistols instead of honest-to-goodness-kill-people guns.  I realize our national defense program is important and necessary and that someone has to do it, but to profit by it seems all wrong.  Ed knows how I feel and agrees to an extent; but his argument is, “If I do a good job, why shouldn’t I be rewarded just as I would if I were a candy manufacturer or a travel agent or a tree surgeon?”
     To myself I say—because after all I shouldn’t plague the harassed man with my morbid imaginings —somewhere in Russia someone is putting a gun together.  Will it one day be pointed at Teddy or Timmy?
     It is fruitless to speculate along these lines.  I must look at it this way:  guns are being made to prevent a war.  Apparently that’s the way those who are running our government look at it.   Ed says everyone is entitled to a profit, including Funeral Directors.  Perhaps if it were up to me to provide a living for my family my conscience wouldn’t be so tender.  Many, many people look to my husband for help and support.  He has always been the soul of generosity, even when he himself was having trouble making ends meet.  He is a good man and I am a foolish woman to bemoan what can’t be helped.
    From: Kathie Malley-Morrison  
    Sent: Tuesday, October 04, 2011 5:48 PM
    To: 'Barbara Malley'
    Subject: RE: what about this??
   It sure gets at issues close to my heart.
   You are thinking about this for your blog?
   Love
   kk
   From: Barbara Malley
   Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 5:09 PM
   To: 'Kathie Malley-Morrison'
   Subject: FW: what about this??

   After sleeping on it, I have a feeling that people might be curious about what created our affluence.    My editor Colleen Mohyde asked the question when I was writing the introduction for Take My Ex.  The Army-Navy E is mentioned, but then it appears that the truck rental business was what supported our lifestyle.  Since this memoir has been honest about a lot of  unpleasant subjects, maybe I should go ahead and share my feelings as stated.
   Love,
   Mom
      From: Kathie Malley-Morrison
   Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 5:56 PM
   To: 'Barbara Malley'
   Subject: RE: what about this??
   I can understand your wanting to share that info.
   The line I dislike most is this one: "I must look at it this way:  guns are being made to prevent a war." 
   It is indeed what the spinners in DC have long wanted citizens to believe.
   Sounds like something right out of Orwells’s 1984.
   But publish it all if you wish.
   Love
   kk
   From: Barbara Malley
   Sent: Wednesday, October 05, 2011 9:09 PM
   To: 'Kathie Malley-Morrison'
   Subject: FW: what about this??
        That line was written for Ed because I felt disloyal about denouncing the way your father made a living. I was thinking of asking visitors from the US and abroad how they feel about the subject. I’ve had only that single comment from the Resort owner in South Africa who liked my golfing story about Ed, but maybe the seriousness of this topic will prompt responses. I would like very much to get a dialogue going and to cite your blog, http://engagingpeace.com as an example of one small voice shouting objections to Drones and war in general.
   Love,
   Mom

WELL, THE WINGS WERE ON IT WHEN I LEFT THIS MORNING. (3)


November 20, 1966
Westwood
       We had a lot of fun yesterday going to the Harvard-Yale football game, then on to a party at the Hills, who presented us with an album of candid pictures of ourselves and friends at recent parties.    
The captions were hilarious and Marguerite further enlivened the pages with drawings in the margins. Ed and I were  touched by all the time and trouble taken by the gang at this second party for us.
PRESENTED ON NOVEMBER 19, 1962
.     Pictures were taken of us looking at the photos, and Marguerite said, "Of course these will have to be added to the album -- this album and these parties could go on forever!"
     But of course they couldn't.  As of February, 2012, most of the guests have departed permanently, with a few exceptions such as Blake Thaxter, Connie Barnard, Dottie Remick, and your correspondent @tearsandlaughter at 90.





JAYNE AND BLAKE (BARRISTER) THAXTER
  WATCH IT, DEAR, THE TABLE MAY BE BUGGED . . .


FUNNY. . .
 
RAY AND DOTTIE REMICK, CHARTER MEMBERS OF THE HARD CORE
                                                                         

                                            LOUIS EATON RIVALED FRED ASTAIRE ON THE DANCE FLOOR,
                                                                  BUT ONE TWIRL BROKE HIS PARTNER'S LEG.
May 1992
     I attended the Eatons' 50th wedding anniversary celebration at the golf club.  I looked rather fetching for a woman almost seventy‑one, I thought.  A friend had given me a dress she'd outgrown, brightish blue with an abstract design in white swirls, coming barely to my knees.  With white pumps and a white chiffon scarf camouflaging my unswanlike neck, I could have easily passed for sixty if I weren't attached to these 100‑year‑old hands and arms.  Get real, Barbara. How would you write in your journal if you weren't attached to your arms?
     I danced with two eligible bachelors and, as usual with ineligible Louis.  He swept me into his Fred-and-Ginger routine, gazing down at me soulfully.  I've never known how to cope with that gaze.  Do I stare back at him soulfully with my left eye turning in, as it's prone to do under stress?  He twirled me and swirled me with abandon, luckily not breaking my leg as he did his sister-in-law's (or so he told me between swirls).  I quit gazing soulfully and began watching my feet.
                               
SALLY (ONE OF THE STEWED TOMATOES) AND WHITEY BREWER


  BLAKE THAXTER, PARTY ANIMAL AND ED'S BEST FRIEND
(TO MY OCCASIONAL DESPAIR)


MARYLIN AND PORTER JOHNSON


THAT'S SCARY!!


CONNIE AND JACK BARNARD

PRE-TEEN TIMMY GAVE OUR BRIDGE FOURSOME THE GIGGLES
OVER HIS FASCINATION WITH CONNIE FOR TWO OBVIOUS REASONS . . .

TIMMY AT TWELVE

IT'S A DIFFERENT PARTY, BUT THE TWO REASONS ARE MORE OBVIOUS

BETTY AND PAUL DUSOSSOIT

MY MOTHER LOVED TO TELL US THAT THE DEUCES WILD CALLED WHILE WE WERE OUT.

TOM AND CELESTE CHURCHILL
     I finally figured out why we were getting all this attention -- in the nick of time, too, because it was beginning to go to my head.  The thing is, when people move to Cohasset, they never, ever, move away! This makes us unique, you see, and provides our friends with a fine excuse for giving a party. . . .
      I do enjoy seeing them all once in awhile but find that Westwood's quiet life holds much more appeal.  I don't feel the least bit lonesome when I'm here alone but instead enjoy the peacefulness of looking out at the pond and the squirrels scurrying around preparing for the onset of winter. And of course we're right next door to  Norwood Airport, which is a big plus. . . .





FUNNIEST!
                                                      



MARGUERITE, CLEARLY RECOVERED FROM HER MORNING AFTER, LOOKS BEAUTIFUL.  ONE  OF HER CHILDREN TOLD ME SOMETHING THAT TOUCHED ME DEEPLY WHEN I WENT TO HER WAKE.  MY MEMOIR* WAS OPEN ON HER BEDSIDE TABLE WHEN SHE DIED.  


* Take My Ex-Husband, Please --But Not Too Far, Little, Brown and  Company, 1991

I FINALLY FIGURED OUT WHY WE WERE GETTING ALL THIS ATTENTION. (4)


WE THOUGHT WE'D MADE OUT LIKE BANDITS IN 1968 WHEN WE SOLD OUR BEACHFRONT COHASSET HOUSE , ORIGINALLY $10,000, FOR $65,000 AND MOVED TO WESTWOOD.  A CRYSTAL BALL WOULD HAVE BEEN HELPFUL.  BEACHFRONT DWELLINGS ESCALATED TO THE MILLION-DOLLAR RANGE.

FROM DRAFT OF ORIGINAL LETTER TO MOTHER

ED ALLEGEDLY WANTS TO LEAVE A PARTY???  IT NEVER HAPPENED.  

THAT MAN IN HEIDI'S PAST HAD BEATEN HER. (1)

Essay by Kathie, 1976
      When I was almost a teenager, barely into puberty, I tamed an outlaw horse. I really did. There was an article about it in the local paper. I carried the picture in my wallet for years—long after the car accident, long after I couldn’t walk anymore.
     She was a blood bay mare, small, beautiful, a Morgan. Her name was Heidi. Funny how that man, back in her past, who had neglected and beaten her and made her distrust men forever, funny how he could have given her so lovely a name as Heidi.
     For the first year after the accident, I yearned to find a way to ride again. I invented, in my head, all kinds of contraptions that could keep me up on a horse. Mostly they looked like high-backed chairs with seatbelts or something on which a maharajah would sit, riding an elephant. I read about a paraplegic boy who invented a way to water ski again, so I was sure there must be a way to ride a horse. Finally I decided it wouldn’t be worth it, just sitting up there, perched on some chair. It wouldn’t be riding. Riding was going bareback, warm rippling muscles against taut muscles.
     Once I had tamed my wild horse, way back then, I rode her bareback all the time. We were one, walking, running. Once she had stopped bucking and fighting and rolling in puddles, I rode her bareback and used a hackamore bridle with no bit. No iron bit for my little lady with the gentling mouth.
     Barely into puberty, I tamed her just in time. Then she tamed me. On the days or nights when I was raging against my mother, or my father, or my sister, or my brothers, or some no good boyfriend, or some rotten girlfriend—all those many times I would sit in the corner of her box stall. It was heaven. I loved the feel of it and the smell of it. I sat in the corner and felt wood chips through the seat of my jeans and the rough splintery wood of the side of her stall at my back.
     Heidi would watch me, chewing her hay. Finally she’d come over and snuffle. What a sweet, wet sound on my face, in my ear. I’d cry a lot. It’s sad when the only person in the whole world who understands you is a horse named Heidi. But she helped cool the rages and I would trundle back to civilization.
     When I was thirteen, fourteen, fifteen, I’d spend almost all my free time with Heidi. In the summer, we’d go into the woods to pick blueberries or raspberries. She’d stop at the sound of my voice, move on again with the press of my knees. We’d ride along the beach, we’d swim, she’d roll in the sand. I’d brush her and brush her, sometimes take her to horse shows. I still have most of our trophies. We were very proud of each other.
     Heidi is still alive. I’m thirty-six and she’s thirty-two. I always figured I’d have children of my own who’d grow into puberty with her warm snuffles for support. But at thirteen, fourteen and fifteen, you don’t know what directions your life will take. Maybe it’s just as well you have no idea how much you don’t know.
     I go visit her every once in awhile. She’s always out in a field, not far from the road. I call her name, hoping it will kindle some spark of memory, take her back to our old stall, warm her heart with gladness that I saved her from being an outlaw forever. But horses don’t seem to remember much through their ears. I imagine they recognize friends and lovers mostly through their noses and maybe through touch.
     But I sit in my car where she can’t catch my scent or feel my caress. And I know it won’t do any good to get out. She was always afraid of cars. I’m sure she’d be afraid of a wheelchair. What do horses know about wheelchairs?

POKIE WOULD BLEAT AND HOLLER AND CARRY ON. (2)

     When I started high school, Heidi and I lost some of our youthful and innocent freedom. It was college prep all the way, which meant six hours of homework a night. Later, when I was away at Swarthmore, my father used to write and tell me not to work so hard, to relax, to go out with boys. But in high school pressure to get good grades overshadowed everything else. Still, Heidi and I raced the beach together on weekends, and conversed evenings while I cleaned out her stall.
     And of course there were the early mornings.  !, who am such a night person now, used to get up at 5:45 a.m. so I could have a quick ride and feed her before I showered, gobbled breakfast, and went to wait for the school bus. My classmates all thought I was crazy. What a way for a girl to behave! I was given a lot of lectures. Even before I started high school, I knew I was going to have to impose a new regimen on my life. With more time devoted to studying and less to riding, I worried about Heidi. After all the hours we were used to spending together, wouldn’t she be lonesome and depressed? So we bought a goat, Heidi and I. I had read that race horses often had goats as stall mates, so why not my own prize filly?
     Our goat’s name was Pocahantas. When she first arrived, she wasn’t tall enough to see out over the sides of the box stall, and she’d bleat and scramble and complain about not being able to watch what was going on beyond the stall walls. Heidi, ever helpful, not to mention brilliant, chewed a hole in the door of the stall just at the level of Pokie’s head. It was the first and last time Heidi ever chewed  wood, so I know the hole wasn’t accidental. I can still picture the scene that awaited me whenever I walked into the barn—Heidi with her head hanging over the stall door, and Pokie with her face sticking through the hole below.
     Pokie turned out to be good company but rather bad-mannered. At feeding time, she would gobble up her own little pan of grain, then butt Heidi’s head away from her horse-sized bucket of oats. Heidi, sweet thing, was infinitely patient and always gave up her supper gracefully. Afterwards, when they were both loose in the barn while I cleaned out the stall, Pokie would go jumping up on the old boat that was dry-docked for the winter, then leap onto Heidi’s back and go bounding off, laughing a goat-type of laugh. A little hellion, she was.
      But a loyal companion. Pokie came with us on almost all our rides. She, too, loved to trot along  the beach, past all the summer houses that lined the cove. If she was left behind while Heidi and I rode along 143 Atlantic Avenue, she’d bleat and holler and carry on terribly. It used to upset Heidi,who’d keep turning her head back to look for her friend.
DRIVEWAY 143 ATLANTIC AVENUE  
     I have such joyful memories of those two. They were the light and saving grace of my adolescence. I don’t know where Pokie is now. When I went off to college, Heidi went to stay with friends who had a horse of their own. We bred Pokie and gave her to a family with a little girl who was allergic to cow’s milk but thrived on goat’s milk. I suppose poor old Pokie could be dead now. I worry about the day that Heidi will die. Even though I see her only a couple of times a year, and she fails to recognize me, I will be sad when she is gone.
    I wonder what she thinks about when she’s grazing in her field. She’s a fat and spoiled old pony now, as all ponies should be when they’ve spent the best years of their lives taming an outlaw mistress. Does she remember rolling back and forth, again and again in the sand, when we had been for a swim on a steamy summer day? Does she remember me giving her her head as we tore along a dirt trail through the woods, both exulting at our wings? Those were peak experiences for me. Ah, Heidi, I hope you remember, too.

HER KICKING END WAS POINTING AT ME. (3)

September 26, 1958
     This morning Ed delayed his departure long enough to fashion a makeshift gate at the entrance of the corral. Would Heidi take one look at this so-called gate, whinny derisively, and knock it down with a flick of her tail?
     Ed put Heidi and Pokie in the corral, brushed the sawdust from his suit, and drove off to work. A while later, I looked up from my cereal and saw Pokie munching on my baby lilac bushes. Giving a shriek that startled Kathryn and sent Dizzy flying, I dashed outside, then braked to a stroll as I neared Pokie. I didn't want her to suspect there was any feeling in my heart but love and admiration, any thought in my mind except approval of her lilac pruning.
     I extended a cupped hand as if it held a leafy morsel: "Here Pokie, here Pokie, Pokie."
     She lifted her head long enough to give me a bored stare, then went back to work on the lilacs. I backed away from her, calling affectionately, "Here, Pokie, yum‑hum, here Pokie, Pokie."
     I got a round of applause from Kathryn, who had come out to the front porch to watch the proceedings. "Oh, Mrs. Malley, if only I had a movie camera!"
     Since I couldn't lure Pokie to the corral by the force of my personality, it was time to try something else. What did Kathie do when Heidi got loose? The oats!
     I rushed to the barn, scooped up some oats and called Pokie, shaking the coffee can suggestively. Her head jerked up. She gave a bound of joy and began loping toward me. Screeching to a stop, she buried her snout in the oats.
     Now I had to induce Pokie to duck under the bars of Ed's gate and return to the corral where she belonged. I wasn’t thinking clearly, or it might have occurred to me that if she could duck in, she could duck right out again.
     "Here, Pokie," I said, extending the tin of oats between the bars and trying to shove her under the lower bar with my other hand. Poked humped into the knee chest position and refused to budge. Meanwhile Heidi had ambled over and was helping herself to the oats.
     "Come on, Pokie, there's a good goat," I lied. "Shoo, Heidi, go away!"
     Heidi bared her teeth and growled. I swear she did. I figured if she felt that way about it, I'd better drop the can. In a flash, Pokie ducked under the bar and began fighting for her share of the oats.
     I wiped my brow and started for the house, only to become aware that Pokie was trotting along beside me, friendly as could be.
     "Oh, Mrs. Malley, if only I had a movie of you and that goat!" Kathryn was hooting.
     She’s such a necessary adjunct to our household, I have to put up with her odd sense of humor. I returned to the barn, shadowed by my buddy.
     "Okay, into the clink you go!" I removed the bar from the stall door and entered, Pokie hard on my heels. Whoosh! I was out again, slamming the door behind me. I was stooping to replace the bar when bang, the door flew open, striking me squarely on the nose.
     Moral: when you're on one side of a door and a goat is on the other, make sure the door is bolted before you stick your nose out. Otherwise you'll get a nasty scrape and jocular comments from your housekeeper and your husband.
     Ed looked at my nose, heard my story, laughed heartily, then redeemed himself by promising to make the corral escape proof in the near future.
January 9, 1959
     When I walked down to the mailbox I noticed that Heidi wasn't in the corral. Vonnie must have forgotten to put her out. I went into the barn, sliding the door shut behind me. I opened the door to the ramp, then opened the stall door warily in case of a stampede. Sure enough, I was almost knocked down by Pokie. My leap sideways had placed me directly between her and the grain barrel.
     Meanwhile Heidi was skittering around in the doorway of the stall, trying to avoid a pail that had rolled under her feet. When she finally emerged, she glared at me as if I had deliberately tried to trip her up. Kathie says Morgans are ponies, but she looked about a hundred hands high to me. I pointed to the runway that leads to the corral and said, "Out, Heidi!”.
     Pokie had given up trying to butt the grain barrel to its side and was trotting down the runway like a good little goat. Heidi shifted around and pointed her nose in the right direction, which meant that her kicking end was pointing at me. She looks a lot bigger than a pony.
     She ambled down the runway, then stopped dead. I had forgotten to open the gate to the corral. My oversight created a ticklish situation. I hurried down the runway, sidled past Heidi ("Good girl, nice girl"), and opened the gate. Pokie trotted into the corral, but Heidi had meanwhile turned around and was heading back toward the barn.
     "Come on, Heidi, it's open now," I said, but we had a new problem. When she tried to turn around, there wasn't room. I could see she was considering going into the barn and starting over, but the door had swung to just enough to discourage her. Heidi backed up a couple of feet, and her blanket caught on a branch. She moved forward again and to save face, pretended she was interested in nibbling on a dead leaf.
     So there we were and what to do? I could race through the corral and back to the barn so I could open the half closed door, but Heidi had been doing some thinking, too. She began backing again, this time avoiding the protruding branch.  She backed all the way down to the wide part of the runway and cantered triumphantly into the corral. "Smart girl!" I applauded, relieved that one of us had brains enough to work out a solution.