January 30, 2014

WILLIAMS: Another way to live

When I was in Florida in Decem-ber, we met a girl in a restaurant parking lot next to the beach. She looked to be about 19, certainly no older than early 20s. She lived in her van with a miniature horse. It was just a basic van, not an extra-large one or a specially adapted one, just a van. It was more or less divided in half on the inside – half for her stuff (cot, clothes, books) and half for the horse (hay and harness).

When we met her, she was sitting on the ramp, smoking a cigarette with the tiny horse standing beside her, hooked to a cart. Where she fit the cart into the van I have no idea but she was evidently a consummate packer.

She was a very pretty girl – obviously of mixed race heritage – I’d guess black and white and Asian all mixed together to form an appealing combination. She wore her long black hair in dreadlocks and spoke with a slight lilting accent, perhaps Jamaican or Bahamian. She told us she supported herself by giving rides to children coming out of the restaurants. She said parents didn’t always want to stop but usually they couldn’t resist when their kids said, “Oh, look at the little horse. Can I have a ride? Please!”

I would have liked to talk to her longer but she wasn’t especially forthcoming. For all I know, she had a fine house on one of the Keys that she retired to when her day job ended. But I don’t think so. I think she lived in her van with her horse.

And that got me to wondering what that would be like. I tried to put myself in that position but I simply couldn’t imagine it. I have been called adventuresome at times because I was always willing to take a flyer to some new state to see what was there while most of my friends stayed pretty much where they’d always been. But at the end of every highway was a house or apartment, a job, a school system, more or less the same lifestyle I’d had in Indiana only with bayous instead of creeks and live oaks instead of maples and azaleas instead of lilacs.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
  • WOLFSIE: Giving a word of advice So, what’s the word? Really, what is the word? With over 250,000 words in the English language, you’d think there would be a word for just about everything. Not so. Therefore, I am on a crusade to find a term for some everyday occurrences for which t

    August 1, 2014

  • PETERS: Have a cup of joe to help your eyes? My day starts with coffee. I’m too cheap to buy it by the cup from baristas, so I just brew my own Folgers by the pot. I have a cup or two as I settle into work each morning, and another cup – sometimes two – in the early afternoon. That may not be w

    August 1, 2014

  • WILLIAMS: America still the dream Is America really in as bad as shape like many people say it is? I’m 67 and when I look around, I don’t see it.Everything isn’t great but believe it or not, there has never been a time when everything was great, not even in those innocent Fifties we

    July 31, 2014

  • WERNER: The mystery of the Indian grave at Dykeman Last summer I contacted Thelma Conrad, executive director of the Cass County Historical Society, to ask her if she had any information on the Indian grave at Dykeman Park. Thelma had heard of it but had never seen the small marker that tells of the I

    July 31, 2014

  • RAMPBELL: Keeping the sick at home Something strange happened here this week: Lots of workers who’ve never done so before got the right to call in sick. And that’s a good thing.The Big Apple, you see, is joining a handful of other trailblazing cities such as Washington, San Francisco

    July 30, 2014

  • KITCHELL: Patacsil was no ordinary Joe Somebody forgot to tell Joe Patacsil that if he wanted to wrestle at a Big Ten university with black and gold as its school colors ... well, most people who know anything about college wrestling today might have said he picked the wrong one -- Purdue

    July 30, 2014

  • MARCUS: The higher education funding mess Public higher education financing is unsustainable as currently configured. This conclusion was reached by two important groups over the past two years. The National Association of State Budget Officers and the State Higher Education Executive Office

    July 29, 2014

  • VILLAGE IDIOT: The state of the reunion “Katy! It’s been so long! How’ve you been?”My God, she’s gained so much weight I didn’t recognize her. It’s a good thing we’re all wearing nametags. I thought it was some distant cousin past due with triplets.“Bob! Long time, no see.”No hair, either.

    July 29, 2014

  • COATS: What to do next with Putin, Ukraine The tragic death of 298 people on board Malaysian Airlines flight 17 in a wheat field in eastern Ukraine marks a moment when words of disapproval and expressions of grief are not enough. This is a moment when action must follow the outrage and rhetor

    July 28, 2014

  • LYONS: The most powerful men in the world? Search the phrase “the most powerful man in the world” and what comes up are photos of grotesquely over-developed weightlifters; also Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin. Awfully ironic under present circumstances. It’s a cant term TV news anchors use to

    July 28, 2014

Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

Should the U.S. impose a travel ban on three West African nations in response to a growing Ebola virus outbreak?

Not sure
     View Results
Featured Ads
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.