In keeping with my ‘100 People to Meet Before You Die’ theme, I want to tell you about Stephen today.
Let me start at the beginning. Rachel and her family moved to the island at the end of March. She was having a hard time adjusting and when I asked her about it, she said that she missed her horses and the ability to ride. I can relate, but I had no ideas about how to help.
One Friday afternoon we’re at the beach. I’m out bobbing around neck deep, and this couple are out there also. Their talking and bobbing and not paying much attention. The guy comes up to within about two feet of me with his back turned. I figure he’s going to bump into me and come unglued. In the ocean bumping into something on a sandy beach that’s not a rock is not necessarily a ‘good thing’ (think large sea creature, like shark maybe-they like to bump you to check you out). So I say, hey I’m right behind you. He laughs and thanks me for helping him to avoid a heart attack. Anyway…the three of us get to talking.
The woman, whose name is Fran asks if I live here, how long, the usual ‘hi, how are ya’, conversation. Somewhere in there I tell her that Rachel has just come to the island and is homesick for her horses. Fran says; ‘she has got to meet Stephen’. I call Rachel out into the water to meet Fran and hear about Stephen.
St. Croix is filled with horses. There is a race track here and Cruzans are a betting kind of people. Unfortunately, horses only last so long on the track, then, they are pretty much on their own, here on island. Stephen, it turns out, is a horse rescuer extraordinaire. He takes in equines of all persuasions and in all conditions. He helps them get in shape and then does trail rides for the tourists. Stephen combines two of my favorite things; Horses and the Sea.
On Saturday mornings he runs ’free rides’ for the local kids and just about anybody else who wants to come along. Well Rachel went out the following morning and you guessed it. She got one great big cure for her homesickness. It was a win/win situation because Stephen was astounded to find such an incredible horsewoman willing to help him with the ’kids’ and his herd. Professionally, Rachel is a Vet Tech, so it’s a real big WIN/WIN for everybody.
Stephen is an Irishman with the greatest accent. He’s older than he looks at first, but incredibly young at heart. He was once a Catholic Priest. He left Ireland for the American West to work with horses. Somehow, like the rest of us, he ended up down here in the Caribbean and with all his horse sense; he put his dreams to work. I first saw him out in the ocean with his horses and a group of Cruzan kids – of course, it was a Saturday morning.
I haven’t had my turn out in the sea on horseback yet, but it’s coming. I had to sell my herd to come down here, and I hope the nostalgia won't get to me too badly, but I’m gonna take that risk.
Stephen is most definitely one of those ‘100 People You Want to Meet Before You Die’. It was actually Rachel who told me that. She also asked me how I got so lucky to run into people like Fran who would lead us to people like Stephen. I told her ‘luck has absolutely nothing to do with it’. There are no coincidences.
You can just barely see Stephen in front of the horse at the far right. He has a white straw cowboy hat on.
From here on out I'll be posting my '100 People You Want to Meet Before you Die' pieces on Fridays. Next up IWSG (because the first Wednesday of the month is the 4th of July, we have the option to post for the IWSG on Tuesday or Thursday. Not sure what I'll do. I'll surprise us.
Speaking of 'SURPRISES', I had one today that almost shocked me into next week. YIKES!