By Deborah Sharp
I've guested here once before, revealing the shameful secret that I am hobby-less. My good friend Joanna Slan invited me back to write anyway:
''You rode a horse all the way across the state of Florida,'' Joanna said. "THAT'S your hobby.''
"What? Doing age-inappropriate things for which I am insanely unprepared?''
"No,'' Joanna said patiently. "Horseback riding.''
That marathon, six-day ride I did to research MAMA RIDES SHOTGUN was a bit more of my ''hobby,'' however, than I bargained for. 120 miles.
Sleeping on the ground. At age 50-plus. What the heck was I thinking??? Two years later, the feeling is finally returning to my rear end.
But, Joanna is right --- if we can loosely define ''hobby'' as something I manage to do very occasionally, usually while my husband Kerry and I are on our annual vacation. That's not a bad thing, since we've had the chance to ride in some incredible locations, thanks to Kerry's globe-trotting inclinations. If it were up to me, I'd return yearly to the same hammock and pina colada in nearby Key West. But over our 20-year marriage, Kerry ALWAYS opts for the exotic: Native criollo ponies on a wind-swept estancia in Argentina, Tennessee walkers on Washington State's Orcas Island, ancient creatures outfitted with even-older wooden saddles (!) in Guatemala.
Still, I long for the time in my life when riding was less an infrequently indulged hobby and more an obsession.
Was anyone as consumed with horses as I was at 13? Equine tales ruled my bookshelf: BLACK BEAUTY, MY FRIEND FLICKA, and MISTY OF CHINCOTEAGUE.
I drew horses on my paper-bag book covers during school, and dreamed of them all night. When
I got Val, a beautiful quarter horse, we galloped over open pastures and through orange groves, on land planted now with south Florida strip malls.
I loved that horse so much that I slept overnight in her stall on a bed of hay more than once.
Does anybody feel like that about a hobby?
I still get a guilty twinge, all these years later, remembering how I cast my horse aside once I discovered the world of boys and dating. Of course, we found her the perfect home, with a young girl still safely in pre-adolescence. I sobbed when they loaded Val in the trailer to go.
How about you? Have you ever been emotionally attached to a hobby -- or a horse? And how did you feel when you let that hobby go?
Deborah Sharp is the author of the Mace Bauer Mysteries -which have been described as Agatha Christie meets "My Name is Earl." Check her out at www.deborahsharp.com She's a gem! You might also have seen Deb on the Today Show! Or you might want to listen to an excerpt. It's all there on her website.