Greene Line: ‘What a woman wants…’


By Norman Greene

Norman Greene

Norman Greene

SAN DIEGO– When it comes to birthdays, some adult women prefer a romantic candlelight dinner, a bouquet of long stemmed roses, a dazzling bauble, a pint of Channel, but not my wife.  She wanted to ride a horse.

I have nothing against horseback riding.  I spent many of my youthful summers on a horse in a Connecticut camp.  I loved that horse.  His name was “Trolley” and my time with him was the highlight of my times at sleep away Camp Marlin.

As a teenager, I remember riding horses in Balboa Park on tree lined trails that ran parallel to current day Highway 163.  That was when San Diego was a much smaller, quieter city and Balboa Park was less populated.   If memory serves me, it was also before Interstate 5 cut across the southern tip of the park.

I have less clear memories of riding a horse in New York’s Central Park with a date who hated every minute of it and let me know every second or two.  I can’t even remember her name now, only the experience.

In my mid 20’s, I rode on horseback through the Black Forrest of Germany with a friend who’s father owned a small chemical factory outside of Munich.  Those were the best groomed horses I had ever seen and they were very spirited.  My friend Harold was an excellent rider.  As I hung on for dear life,  we raced along glorious forest paths, followed by copious glasses of Rhine wine. Great memories!

As a young married couple, my wife and I rented horses in Nantes, France from the stables of a Chateau that had once been a monastery until, in modern times, it was converted into a luxury hotel.  The French countryside was lovely and we really enjoyed ourselves.  Unfortunately, the double silver dollar-sized blister that arose on my wife’s posterior was not the best souvenir.  It lasted for weeks or almost as long as my credit card payments for the vacation.

Over the years, we often took our children on horseback rides, on a trip with them in Wales,  a number of times through Pine Valley in East County, from stables on San Dieguito Road and on the sands of  Imperial Beach near the Mexican border.  One year, my father joined the four of us on horseback in Bend, Oregon.  Dad was pretty game and a very good sport.  It was at that time that we learned the virtues of Ibuprofen.

But time has a way of changing things and dulling one’s enthusiasm for certain activities.   The last time I can remember being on a horse was about eight years ago for  a killing two hour romp on the bleached white sands of a southern France beach near the border with Spain.  My French cousins thought it would be a great idea even though I had hurt my back unloading luggage from our rented car.   With a multitude of mosquitoes, horseflies and the intense heat, I don’t remember it as being the most enjoyable ride I have ever had.

Even the administration of good French wines didn’t quite mask the pain or the itching.  Until now, that was my last horseback adventure.

When you have been married as long as I, you learn that it is often best to just acquiesce.  And so it was that I found myself driving through Ramona to find the Milagro Farm Vineyards & Winery.  I, of course, had never heard of the establishment, but thanks to the internet, the same could not be said of my bride.  She arranged for a ninety minute ride at, what she said, was a bargain rate.  I winced at the thought of a 90 minute romp after an 8 to10 year hiatus.

This past Friday morning it was gloriously sunny and not yet too warm at 10 a.m.  We had an address on Littlepage Road to which the G.P.S. was guiding us when it announced we had reached our destination.  We ended up at a closed Winery storage facility wondering what to do.  That morning we had received a reminder call from Katy, who worked for the horseback riding company.  While searching for her cell phone in that ever deepening satchel purse of hers, another car pulled up alongside of us.  A young Marine and his wife were also looking for the horse stalls.   There is some comfort in numbers.  I now felt more secure lost in Ramona.

We were lucky when the Marine’s cell phone rang (my wife was still searching for hers to no avail).  It was Katy asking what was keeping them?  It seems both of our cars had passed a gate setback from the narrow country road that led into the unmarked vineyard and the awaiting horses.

As we pulled in and parked next to eight saddled, well-groomed horses of various sizes and dispositions, a third couple roared in on a motorcycle.  The driver was also a young Marine.  We were to be guided by Katy and Sabrina, who both seemed to really know their way around horses.  Once saddled up, we were off on our 90 minute excursion through beautiful vineyards, apple and fruit tree orchards, gardens planted for vegetables, hills and slopes and masses of boulders…even some green grassy areas where they were preparing for a wedding ceremony.

My wife was thrilled.  She was communing once again with nature.  She periodically goes off on these sorts of rampages wanting to climb a tree or scale a water fall or just visit with some snakes in the back country.  But at least it is all cheaper than a romantic dinner, a bouquet of long stemmed roses, a dazzling bauble or a pint of Channel.  So I’ll limp for a few more days, but I will be fortified by the few bottles of Milagro wine we purchased after our ride.  Well, after all, this aged cowboy needed something to wash down all that trail dust.

Greene is a freelance writer based in San Diego.  He may be contacted via [email protected]

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2013 San Diego Jewish World
Please help us defray the costs of providing this free service with your non-tax-deductible contribution in any amount

Most recent 100 posts


Follow this blog

Email address