To my mind, one of the greatest culinary inventions for aiding and abetting foxhunting families has been the self-basting turkey. It most certainly has been a boon to our ménage, as Thanksgiving Day on our farm is noted for being a miracle of logistics.
Tromping through the year’s first real snowfall, neighboring folk in our area met at a nearby farm to welcome the holiday season and the newest “horsey set” members. Farmers and landowners of five to 500 acres, foxhunters and car followers, gathered to meet the family who had just been initiated to country living.
Piling food on plates from a festive table, balancing cups of cheer on our knees, we listened to the new guys on the block explain why they decided to forsake the conveniences of suburbia for the chance to look out their windows at pastures rather than pavement.
Cooky McClung's humorous articles were an instant hit in the Chronicle.
No one ever promised that keeping horses and maintaining a stable was easy. Those of us who choose to do so, do it for many reasons, none of which include easy.
We do it because it’s more satisfying to look at a clean barn and freshly bedded stalls than it is to vacuum and dust the house. We do it because we don’t mind the exercise involved, which is equally as strenuous as using 20 different Nautilus machines, and we don’t have to join a club or leave home.
What I really wanted for Christmas was to go skiing and have someone else cook dinner. Considering the size of our family, it was rare when someone suggested, "How would the nine of you like to come for the holiday?"
Living on a farm, in a roomy house to accommodate all the folks, fidos and felines, we were the natural magnet for the rest of the relatives to spend holidays, especially Christmas. Our tradition was to open gifts, enjoy the annual Yuletide hunt for a few hours, and return home to feed however many people lingered in our living room.
If you’re making plans to travel to Ireland to foxhunt for the first time, perhaps I could offer a little advice.
As a descendant of a long line of horse-loving County “Kilkenny-ans” privy to priceless stories told by my infamous grandfather, Sean Patrick McMahon, who followed his own hounds into his 90s,
as well as my own Irish riding experiences, I have gained valuable insight into the differences between the Gaelic and English foxhunting languages.
I hesitate to mention this to anyone, because I know they're bound to say: (a) she fell asleep in the hayloft again; (b) must have been that leftover rum eggnog in her coffee cup; or (c) looks like it's time to check out adult day care.
Sweet Annie Finnegan was the sole relative on my mother's side whose lips didn't purse when she visited our humble farm.
During our clan's frequent get-togethers at "Chez McClung," it was Annie who invited a cat on her lap, tucked sugar cubes in her pocket for the horses, and, on one memorable occasion, clad in lilac suede pants and a silk blouse, spent half an hour blissfully riding my eldest mare around the small paddock.
If you're making plans to travel to Ireland to foxhunt for the first time, perhaps I could offer a little advice.
As a descendant of a long line of horse-loving County "Kilkenny-ans," privy to priceless stories told by my infamous grandfather, Sean Patrick McMahon, who followed his own hounds well into his 90s, as well as my own Irish riding experiences, I've achieved some insight into the differences between the Gaelic and English foxhunting language.
Anyone who believes riding may be too hazardous for those approaching the early-bird-special cycle of life should consider Mary Glowicki and Captain.
Proudly toting up a century and a quarter between them, this intrepid pair from Michigan has ordered Father Time to take a hike, disregarding the scare tactics of the timid ("What if you fall asleep/fall over/fall off?") and galloping full-tilt over them.