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Margaret Clawson, down at the Rest of Your Life convalescent home, can't help it, really. You see she's a pony mom. Her teenage daughters have horses, and she's busy hauling the girls and their mounts around to horse shows, gymkhanas and barrel racings throughout our corner of the country on weekends.

Pony moms have ... well, a way about them. So did Genghis Khan. As one old cowboy put it: "You can put a pony mom in a room full of Little League moms and she'll whip them all into shape."

So in a way Margaret couldn't help herself.

Dud and Anita Campbell were invited to come and be judges last Friday, but weren't sure what was happening until they got there. But there, smiling from ear to ear, were about half the inhabitants of the home lined up in their best bathrobes and non-skid slippers, holding onto their walkers.

"Okay guys," said Margaret, inspecting the troops ala Rommel, "we're going to see fair play done in each contest, but you will strive to win. It's the American Way."

Nods and grins.

Then Margaret whipped out a stopwatch and said, "Our first event is the pole bending. You will weave in and out of the chairs in the hallway, go completely around Grant's wheelchair at the far end, and weave back. If you break the pattern, you will be disqualified. Okay now. Estelle, are you ready?"
Estelle was.

"Go!"

There she went, in and out of the chairs, only getting her walker hung up on a chair leg once during her run. Two wall bumps. No falls. No pattern breaks. Great applause as she crossed the finish line.

The event was eventually won by Mitch, who claimed he'd been a track star in high school around the time the stock market crashed.

"You've probably noticed the obstacles we've put out," Margaret then announced. "Lily, do you have your hearing aids on? That's better. So now we come to the trail horse class. Get those ponies ready!"

You're never too old for fun.

Brought to you by Slim Randles's outdoor memoirs, Sweetgrass Mornings, available at www.slimrandles.com.


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