Ah, springtime! Gardening, cleaning, repairing, reorganizing...luckily I seem to have inherited my mother's Energizer Bunny gene. Maybe a little too much so. I have to remind myself that it will all be there waiting for me to do another day, and that the only deadlines I have now are the ones I set myself. Let's go! I finally say to Mr. C who is always ready to hop in the car and drive off to see something different. And what a discovery we made a couple of weeks ago after I happened to notice an announcement for an open house at the Cleveland Amory Black Beauty Ranch about 80 some-odd miles southeast of Dallas.
It's been there nearly as long as we've been here, but we had never heard of it. Although I had heard of Cleveland Amory because many years ago my mother had given me a copy of The Cat Who Came for Christmas, a best-seller about his cat Polar Bear. An author, reporter and TV commentator, he also became an animal rights activist, founding the Fund for Animals and establishing the Black Beauty Ranch as a sanctuary for abused animals, now the largest in the nation. You can watch a short video and read all about it here.
A few miles from our destination we turned down a narrow country road which is where we came upon a sweep of pastureland populated by an assortment of mules, donkeys and burros. It's been a mild spring with ample rain, so everything was wonderfully lush and green, especially on this overcast day.
We were thankful for the clouds when we went on the “hay ride,” actually seated on hay bales atop an flat-bed trailer. That's Sean, our driver, who hopped out to commune briefly with the camel.
Of course, we toured only a tiny fraction of the 1,400-plus acres that comprise the ranch, but we had glimpses of a variety of the many species living there, from a trio of tigers to this handsome longhorn steer.
The horses, however, stole the show, coming up to the trailer to have a good look at the latest batch of humans who had come to look at them.
If they could talk, they would surely echo the concluding sentiments of the original Black Beauty from Anna Sewell's classic children's book from which the ranch takes its name. “I have nothing to fear, and here my story ends. My troubles are all over, and I am at home.” A beautiful East Texas home it is. We were so glad we went.