Friday, November 12, 1999

The Horse Scene from Austin, by Anne Ellsworth

The WITI (Women in Technology International) summit will take place in Austin
March 2nd & 3rd, 2000. This I learned from the attractive T-shirt in my favor bag from the "Women of the Century" luncheon at the Austin Country Club November 5th. The Women's Chamber or Commerce Texas honored my childhood horsemanship instructor, Connie Reeves.

Now age 98, Connie is still going strong, riding up to 6 hours a day. She still teaches girls to ride at Camp Waldemar in Hunt Texas (, where I spend four glorious summers. She was one of the fine women of my youth who inspired me to live a long, good life. Her sayings apply far beyond the ring and trails of the hill country. Connie's words echo in my mind even today as far as I have traveled in navy pumps from ropers and wellies.

Today, she said, "I'm not here because of what I did, but because of what my friends think I did." Friends are the most important thing in her life. An only child, Connie's mother was thrilled to have a girl. Her father, a lawyer, wanted her to be a boy. In college, she majored in speech because her mother wanted her to be a big social lady or a movie star. After that, she thought she had better do something for Dad, so she went to the University of Texas School of Law, the second woman to graduate.

She has been inducted to the Cowgirl Hall of Fame, the Cowboy Hall of Fame (in my native Oklahoma City). It was there that she said "let the east have their computer wizards, their skyscrapers, their capitalist, their stockmarket, their pollution, but leave the wide open spaces and free fresh air to the west where one can take an early morning gallop across dew drenched fields, lie down to sleep beneath the star twinkling sky, only to be awakened by the crowing of a lone rooster in the far distance, or rosy caress from that fiery ball as it climbs out of the valley. Then stand watching the skillet where the bacon sizzles, listen to the gurgling of the coffee boiling in the old black pot, sniff the fragrance of cedar
scented smoke as it spirals slowly to heaven. Then you'll know that it's--Cowboy, time to saddle your own hoss for thar's work to be done out thar if you are going to help..." From the first horseless carriage, women's right to vote, through this century of scientific and economic achievements, Connie has seen that nothing compares to "the glow of the setting sun tinting the distant hills; the star speckled skies reflected in the water beneath; the comforting warmth of a friendly hand;
the ecstasy of the eyes of a small child when put on the back of a horse."

I am one of over 20,000 lucky young ladies who got to spend summer days with this amazing woman, who to this day is active. Even at age 93, she recovered from a broken wrist, five broken ribs and a punctured lung -- and was riding again within 2 months. This trip and the activity in Austin, whether it's horsing around or cyberspacing around, reminds me of the quote, and flies in the face of the words "East is east and west is west and never the twain shall meet..."