For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. Jeremiah 28:11 (NLT)
In posts on Facebook, friend list the ten books that most influenced them. They recall epic literature like Pride and Prejudice and War and Peace or even Gone with the Wind or the Bible. But, near the top of my list is Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry. A children’s book written in the 1940s, Misty was one of my favorites growing up. I am not sure, but it may have been the book that got me in trouble in Third Grade for rushing through my math assignment so that I could read. Not only did Misty help turn me into a lifelong reader, but it instilled in me a quiet desire to someday have a horse of my own. I never had riding lessons as a child and any riding I did was at birthday parties at the local stable where once you turned the horses towards the barn, they took off at a gallop that no amount of pulling on the reins could stop. But, as an adult, a horseback ride while on vacation in the North Georgia Mountains opened up that long suppressed desire in my heart. Less than a year later with only three months of riding lessons under my belt, I was a first time horse owner. A mid life crisis if there ever was one. There have been some regrets about buying a horse, but never when I was on his back riding. I love to ride. I just don’t make the time for it often enough. When I did my life goal list back in the beginning of 2013, I was surprised to note that 50 years after first reading Misty, I really wanted to go to Chincoteague Island and see the wild ponies for myself. When the opportunity to come to Virginia on vacation for a wedding arose, I knew this was my chance. And to find a Bed and Breakfast in the home where Henry visited when she wrote Misty of Chincoteague was a bonus. We are actually in the same room where the author stayed! Husband does not quite understand my fascination with Misty or Marguerite Henry, but he indulged me and agreed to spend part of our vacation here. Today, we drove to Assateague Island hoping to catch a glimpse of the wild ponies and that is exactly what we got as they were so far away, the only way we could see them was through my telephoto camera lens. I was disappointed, but resigned. We tried to substitute a visit to the Pony Centre, but those ponies were tame, not wild! Then, tonight, we went on a boat ride with Captain Spider who promised he find us some ponies. And boy, did he. Because his pontoon boat drew less than a foot of water, he was able to maneuver us through shallow inlets, creeks and bays. In all, we saw about thirty five ponies. Some were less than ten feet away from us. It was a once in a lifetime experience. Dreams do come true. Even ones made almost 50 years ago.