A Place of sense: essays in search of the Midwest by Michael Martone, David Plowden

By Michael Martone, David Plowden

Essays describe existence in small cities, farming groups, and suburbs in states from Ohio to North Dakota.

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The stables were an enormous facility with enough horses so that the morning, the afternoon, and the alternate day's campers could each have the responsibility for a horse. And yet, as fierce as our group's commitment, after our four-week session was over, only a few of us returned for the second session, and I don't recall hearing that any of us returned to the stable until the following June, when it appeared that the old stable of horses had been sold and a fresh stable bought. Just narrating those years of horseback riding on a Caribbean beach cast them into a spoiled and unspoiled light I'd never seen before.

Page 15 Each of us was assigned our lone charge for the four-week session to brush and card, bridle and saddle, feed and water, and then, for an hour, walk, trot, and canter. The stables were an enormous facility with enough horses so that the morning, the afternoon, and the alternate day's campers could each have the responsibility for a horse. And yet, as fierce as our group's commitment, after our four-week session was over, only a few of us returned for the second session, and I don't recall hearing that any of us returned to the stable until the following June, when it appeared that the old stable of horses had been sold and a fresh stable bought.

For all our childhood years, my father performed the sport of turning the interminable experience of catching fish into an immediate one. He and Mother kept to themselves the fact that he had caught first the fishes we caught, that he had reeled them in, secured their hooks, and slid each one back into the water, so that the bobber's second dance appeared to his children like a vision of Man and Nature in bounteous harmony. We didn't need to learn to fish. My father had learned to fish and we had taught him that it was relatively futile to think we could learn anything about lures or the science of flycasting or the virtue of patience.

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