OT: Danger, Will Robinson, Danger, Danger - OT - What I did this morning

They arrived singly and in pairs. They arrived in clots of four and five. They came in their hundreds and finally in their thousands - to a kind of place that many of them had never seen before.
They came, as they often do in times of confusion and unrest, in search of clarity and greatness. They came to be a part of a story already wonderful - that might yet become more wonderful still. They came to say, "I saw, I was there."
They began to line up as the exercise riders worked their charges through the early morning fog, the fugue of hooves muted by the heavy air. Their lines formed up as quietly as those at religious shrines must do.
Wisely, those who make such decisions at Philadelphia Park opened the doors a bit ahead of the appointed hour of 8:00 am, to allow the press of pilgrims in.
They had come to see a smallish, Pennsylvania bred horse, with the unlikely name of Smarty Jones, who had won the Kentucky Derby by almost three lengths over Lion Heart and six lengths over Imperialism. They had come to see a colt that had beaten the field by almost twelve lengths at the Preakness. They had come to touch the promise of the first Triple Crown winner in more than a quarter of a century.
And many had never set foot on a racetrack in their lives.
Smarty Jones has a trainer who had never been to a Kentucky Derby prior to taking Roy Chapman's horse there. He has a jockey who had never walked the ground at Churchill Downs, until the day before he rode in a race bigger than any he thought he would ever see, let alone ride in.
In July of his second year, the colt reared and ruined his skull against an iron bar in the starting gate at Philadelphia Park - he nearly lost the use of one eye - he nearly died. He spent months in an equine clinic.
In November of the same year he won in his first race at Philadelphia Park, by almost eight lengths. Two weeks later he won by fifteen lengths.
Smarty Jones still hasn't lost a race.
When the announcer, groggy from this too early working hour, asked that those in attendance be restrained in their enthusiasm, so as not to spook the colt during his workout, a titter of laughter worked its way through the crowd. Some said, "I'll bet they were quiet at the Derby - I'll bet they were quiet down in Maryland."
Still, they were quiet.
As the colt was lead onto the track, there was no applause, only the unheard holding of a thousand breaths. The rider stood in the stirrups and let the young horse stretch out and come slowly to a moderate stride, letting him uncoil himself into a gentle rolling gate.
A breezing up and down a short way on the track - and then the jockey took his seat.
You must remember that, at fifteen hands, three inches - Smarty Jones is only five inches taller at the withers than what would be considered a pony, rather than a horse. He is not nearly as overpowering a physical specimen as those that we have become accustomed to seeing in the winner's circle of the big races.
The jock's hands sat quietly, his legs asking for nothing as the colt lengthened his stride, apparently to suit himself and for the sheer joy of running at speed.
Those who have been fortunate enough to hang by the rail at a horserace often describe the sound of the hooves as, 'thundering'. There was no thunder in this single horse going around the track - but there was a rhythmic tattoo, as of a speed bag being thrummed and brought to a level where the individual blows are indistinguishable - and the sound is a pulsing blur of power and grace.
As he came before the grandstand there was no cheering, no clapping - no untoward loudness of expression.
Awe is a silent thing.
Smarty Jones made several passes in front of the crowd. They did nothing loud - only watched and were glad that they were there.
As the horse was lead away, the first in a series of speakers took over the microphone.
Most people started heading for the parking lot before the first speaker was into his second sentence. They'd already seen and heard what they'd come for.
I took my twelve-year-old daughter to see Smarty Jones this morning.
She wasn't much interested in the speakers, either.
But the expression on her face as we were driving home said all that needed to be said about what she had just seen.
(OBWW - Smarty is the first owner-bred horse to win the Derby since GRINDSTONE.)
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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"Tom Watson" wrote in message

My Dad, a retired Geophysicist, who at 81 years of age actively owns and operates a race horse farm (http://www.hsound.com/wss /), and runs both quarterhorses and thoroughbred's, is getting a copy of this immediately.
Thanks once again, Tom!
--
www.e-woodshop.net
Last update: 5/15/04
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(Awe is a silent thing.)
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So why is it you started building cabinets, those many years ago?
Patriarch
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... snip
Tom, you certainly have a gift for writing.
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<some damned good stuff - as usual>
Tom,
I'm in the middle of reading a "first novel" called _Anonymous Rex_ , a takeoff on formula Private Eye fiction. I mention it because it struck me early in the book that the writing style reminded me a great deal of yours.
You have a fantastic talent for writing. If you've never written for publication, you should try it. I wouldn't mind having some of your literary output in my library.
Tom Veatch Wichita, KS USA
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wrote:

<snip>
<snip>
Oooh, ah yes.
There once was a man named Tommy, Who once was the Wreck's poet-swami, But with a flick of his Bic Veatch likened him to Dick: Watson's veal has now turned to salami
Sorry, I'm drunk--and still can't write poetry (but can't resist laughing). H.
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I haven't had a chance to tell these in a while ---
The world's second-shortest limerick:
There was a young man from Wat'loo... Who's limericks ended on line two.
and, in like vein, the *shortest*:
There was a sweet lass from Verdun...
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Well damn, Robert,
I sure missed the chance to fit you into my limmerick, and there I had struggled with Tommy swami and salami.
Poetically dejected, H
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Don't be dejected - I kinda liked your little limmerick. (Of course, who am I).
Renata
On 24 May 2004 15:33:53 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@sewanee.edu (Hylourgos) wrote:

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Thanks !! I enjoyed reading it as much as you enjoyed the expression on your daughters face.
Rich
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you like the word "they", don't you tommy boy?
dave
Tom Watson wrote:

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    You know, Dave, for a lazy asshole who can't even be bothered to hit the SHIFT key when typing, you have no place criticizing anybody's style. Most everybody here enjoys reading Tom's work - name two who like to see your whining drivel.
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you, and several other miscreants. I can deduce that little tidbit of fact judging from the number of times you and the miscreants have responded to my posts these past 2 years, Scotty! have a great day!
dave
Scott Cramer wrote:

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the SHIFT key when typing, you have no place criticizing anybody's style. Most everybody here enjoys reading Tom's work - name two who like to see your whining drivel.<<<<<
    Responding to your whiny blather is not the same as looking forward to seeing it.
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but you know damn well that IF you respond to me, you MIGHT be rewarded with another of my distasteful posts! :)
dave
Scott Cramer wrote:

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wrote:

A twit like you would see in this, mere mindless repetition I won't attempt to educate a lad in your condition
I only wish your parents had a better sense of rhythm Or practiced methods more secure in dealing with the rhythm
So that it never had a chance to meet up with the ovum And thus provide the second die to play their game of Novum
We'd all be better off if you had never gone zygotal And grown with naught between your ears that's otherwise than scrotal
(burma shave)
Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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Please ignore previous message that was ruined by spielchek.
wrote:

Regards, Tom.
Thomas J.Watson - Cabinetmaker (ret.) tjwatson1ATcomcastDOTnet (real email) http://home.comcast.net/~tjwatson1
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My second favorite passage.

My favorite part.
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