I vowed after I wrote my first book, my memoir, “The Pulpwood Queens’ Tiara Wearing, Book Sharing Guide to Life” my life would be an open book. My book took me six years from start to finish and probably wrote 30 drafts before the finished product. It’s a simple read told in my own voice of a small town Kansas girl whose life was saved by books. My agent, Marly Rusoff of Marly Rusoff & Associates came up with the title but when she gave it to me on the phone I literally spit my coffee across my laptop. Guide to Life? Me? Oh, Lord, I have made more mistakes in life than you can ever imagine.What could I ever lend in “Guide to Life”, my life has been a train wreck. She told me who better to write of my story, to write of my ah-ha moments, so I did.
I have been sharing my story and love of authors, books, literacy, and ready ever since and really how I found my life’s calling. This journey has also led me to be a lifelong learner and why after recently going back to college, my #1 Bucket list item, and graduating has led me to write, FINALLY the sequel, “The Pulpwood Queen Goes Back to School”. This will not just be the continuation of my story, returning to college to finish my lifelong dream of becoming an artist but also what I have learned since then in life. I am 61 now and my head is just overflowing with all that I have learned. But yesterday, I learned something NEW. Something so profound and life changing, I have to share this story with you. Today’s writing is going to tell you the story of a very special child who came into my life when I moved back to my hometown of Eureka, Kansas in the late 70’s. I became engaged to a hometown boy so moved from Lawrence, Kansas where I had a fine job working in a hair salon near The University of Kansas. I moved home to open my very first shop, Town and Country Headquarter, plan my wedding, and begin my life in my hometown. I mentioned this in my first book. But what happened when I moved back did not go as planned. The man I became engaged to, which I never wanted to ever mention again, did not work out. I planned my wedding four times you all, to finally decide after my plans were canceled by my fiance’ for the last time, to leave Eureka and go back to school. That could be a book in itself, I am perhaps a slow learner but the one good thing. The one true thing that happened in that four-year time span was my relationship with this man’s little niece, Treasie Sage. This is the story of Treasie.
Treasie was the daughter of two of my classmates, Sue Hunt and Alex McKenzie, Alex’s brother was my fiance’. You have no idea how hard it is for me to ever mention my ex-fiance and his family. I had closed that chapter in my life firmly and dissolved all friendships and family connections as just too painful for me. But it’s funny how on your life journey, the best-laid plans get changed. I reconnected by happenstance with Treasie on Facebook. She is a grown woman now and I am so proud of her. We connected as I loved her, love her and her mother. Always. I will share this story, so even though that time is excruciating for me to write about I have to tell you what happened yesterday.
It began with a post. Treasie had commented on my New art studio. I remembered. For a while, I went back to that time and remembered the little girl who was always by my side. Treasie would come stay with me. I got to pretend what it was like to be a parent. We read books, we colored, we built things together. Treasie grew up on her grandparent’s homeplace on their farm. Her typical attire as a four-year-old was blue jeans, cowboy shirt, boots, and sometimes even a cowboy hat. She was a real little cowgirl. She was a pretty little thing and I Iiked to dress her up. I would do her hair in the shop for school pictures, put her in dresses and take her to church. We would play with my cats and she was an easy child. Quiet, attentive, quick to learn, always listening, well behaved, and reminded me of myself as a child. But she was much braver than I as she road the horses I was too scared to as a child. Coming on her mother’s side of the family, the Hunts were in the racehorse business. They broke horses and trained them for running quarter horse race tracks. Her mother, Sue was in my class flanked but her younger brother, Jimmy and older brother Bill who were both incredible jockeys. Bill Hunt went on to win the Triple Crown of the three top quarter horse races, he made my hometown famous that day! I remember it well. Many i time I was lucky enough to get my photo with him in the Winner’s Circle. Wish I had those photos or ones of Treasie, all long gone as destroyed by someone else who came into my life, long story. We will not go there.
Treasie had all the bravery that I dreamed of having as a child. I adored her. But I worried about her too, her father had quite a temper as did my ex-fiance’. I wanted to protect her. I did until I left but I never forgot about her, or stop worrying about her, then she reached out to me again yesterday. Something clicked, I had to hear her voice. I gave her my number and asked if she was not too busy, could we talk in person. Treasie called.
When you hear the voice of child you once knew, now a grown woman, your heart breaks with joy. As I listened to Treasie talk I quickly learned how articulate, intelligent she really had grown to be. We shared what we remembered. She remembered everything. And she told me that her uncle Jimmy and I were the two big influences on her life. Yesterday was an ordinary day until I talked to Treasie. What she gave to me yesterday was a validation of my life. My goal in talking to her was to see if she had had a good life. I wanted to hear how she was doing. What happened was so unexpected. Through the sharing of our stories, we reconnected right back to the place we were in the late 1970’s and early 80’s. Here I never wanted to go back to that place but I learned something. No matter what happens bad in your life, something good comes from that bad. That good for me is Treasie.
We have decided to stay connected. We will be talking again next Monday. I plan on going to her horserace in Oklahoma City to see her pride and joy, Mr. Jimmy J, named after her dear uncle, Jimmy Hunt, at the races in August. Her and her mom, Sue are coming to my annual Girlfriend Weekend. I have never been more excited and the theme is How the West Was Won, this is so perfect for Sue is a horse trainer too. I believe there are no coincidences. She told me the very same. We were meant to reconnect and this was meant to be.
So there is so much more to share on Treasie but it is her story to share. Perhaps I will help her write it. Her parents divorced and her father, who was my classmate too has since died. She is happily married and living her dream. I am so proud of her I could just bust! In life, there are people that come into your lives that are life-changing. Treasie was one of those people for me. I cannot wait for her to meet my daughters and she told me, “I know you must have been a great mom and you were so good to me.” I’m laughing because that is only for my children to say and have no fear, they say what they think which is the way it should be. I did my best and Treasie sure did too.
I am ending this story of Treasie, which is actually a new beginning, with something we did together that was so magical and mystical that even I still cannot believe this happened. My ex-fiance’ who also raced horses, decided to go to Calfornia to run some horses of where Bill Hunt, Treasie’s uncle was to be the jockey, in Santa Anna. The plan was to drive out and Treasie and I would be dropped off at Disneyland where we would stay the weekend while he went on up to Santa Anna to meet Bill. We were dropped off at the Disneyland Hotel and he drove off. We had made reservations for the weekend that were paid. Treasie and I walked to the front desk with bags in tow by the porter and I gave him my name. There was a problem. They had overbooked the hotel and our room for those nights was already occupied. The hotels were booked solid. Now we were alone, without a car, I did not have any credit cards back then, just a small amount of cash and I think he could see the panic in my eyes. The desk clerk stated, “No problem, ” grabbing a fancy key he said, “Follow me. It just so happens one of our penthouse suites is available so we will give you those rooms for no extra charge while you are here for your stay at Disneyland.”
We went to the very top floor of the hotel where a special key had to be used to go to our floor. The Disneyland desk clerk, opened the door and we had the top floor overlooking Disneyland, two gigantic rooms so big hundreds of people could have easier fit inside. Sliding glass doors went across the whole front and we could see the sandy beach far below and It’s a Small World spread out before us. Treasie and I stood, shocked and amazed. He told us to enjoy our stay and if we needed anything it was on the house. Everything was fully stocked in the rooms and for us to enjoy. To this day I do not know how this happened.
All my life I had dreamed of going to Disneyland. I grew up on Disney and the Sunday night television show, The Wonderful World of Disney. In fact, I modeled my book club on created that Disney like experience, The Wonderful World of The Pulpwood Queens. I love fairy tales, storybooks, and dreams come true and we were at the Magic Kingdom. I think I was perhaps 25 at the time and Treasie was basically barely school age. We did everything. We watched Tinkerbelle fly from the Magic Kingdom Castle down to be greeted by all of us. We rode every ride, We met every character and I bought us these little figurines. She wanted the 101 Dalmations and I bought Captian Cook, Peter Pan, and Tinkerbell. She still has hers and I still have mine. What was even more incredible was my ex-fiance called and he could not get back for another day. He asked if I could inquire if we could stay yet another day so I did. And you know what? Disneyland gave us another day free of charge. The Wonderful World of Disney will be forever remembered in my mind as everything seen through the eyes of Treasie! There are no coincidences, this was meant to happen and it was meant to happen yesterday.
Here is what she first publicly posted on Facebook in regards to my New art studio yesterday that began the conversation:
Then this and why I had to hear her voice.
Horsemen Jockey Jimmie Hunt Dies August 28
Q-RACING JOURNAL—SEPTEMBER 8, 2015—immie J. Hunt passed away at Washington Regional Hospital on August 28 in Fayetteville, Arkansas, after receiving a traumatic brain injury from a training accident.
Born on July 29, 1961, to parents Willie and Shirley Hunt in Ruidoso, New Mexico, Jimmie was 54 years old. Jimmie attended Eureka High School in Eureka, Kansas.
He began riding races in 1969 when he was 8 years old. He rode a white Shetland pony “Ol Smokey” under the wire to win in his first race as a jockey. That event took place at the Greenwood County Fair when several local ponies took part in a special racing event at Eureka Downs.
Jimmie rode and won his first recognized race as a jockey on Mary’s Lady Bug at Parr Meadows in New York on his 16th Birthday, trained by his late father Willie Hunt. A quote taken from an interview Jimmie said “I was a little nervous at first but Dad put me on a good horse,” admitting a lot of pressure was relieved with a first-out winner.
Hunt went on to ride in and win some of the most prestigious races in Quarter Horse racing. Jimmie won the leading jockey title at Remington Park in 1990. For a number of years he held the record for the most wins on a card, with six. He officially rode the earners of more than $3.4 million, including Grade 1 winner Junos Request, and stakes winners Cute Investment, Miss Classiqua, Here Comes Hope and Oh Bid Go.
He was preceded in death by his father, Willie Hunt, and his wife, Mary Bell Hunt. His survivors include daughter Star (17-year-old Border Collie); mother Shirley Hunt of El Paso, Texas; brother, W.R. “Bill” Hunt of El Paso; brother David and wife Caitlyn of Sallisaw, Oklahoma; sister Jennie “Sue” Hunt of Stroud, Oklahoma; niece Treasie and husband Yancy Sage of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, niece Sierra Hunt of El Paso; and nephew Bryce and wife Charlotte McKenzie of Houston.
Jimmie also has many aunts, uncles and cousins. He will be greatly missed.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Sunday, September 13, at Blue Ribbon Chapel in Sallisaw, Oklahoma.
AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHARacing on Twitter, watch the AQHA Racing Newscast and visit www.aqharacing.com.
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