A Tale of Romance by The Star


Audry’s boobs hurt.
She loved our son, Zack, and enjoyed breast-feeding him–she
almost got off just from his sucking. The feeling of contentment
and the sheer sensuousness of the whole thing was incredible.
But taking a horse over the jumps made those same milk machines
bounce-even in her special ‘nursing sports bra’.
That hurt.
The whole thing was a confusing mess of trade-offs. Audry wanted
children. Actually, she wanted a bunch of children. She also
wanted to go to the equestrian nationals this year. And she
wanted another baby before the next Olympics.
She was determined to defend her gold medal in the show jumping
competition. And she wanted one in dressage, too.
Problem was, she couldn’t train properly with her boobs hurting so
much. A baby took her out of the saddle for much of a year,
anyway. So, if she had another, she’d be out of competition two
out of the three non-Olympic years, and hurting with floppy boobs
when the games came again.
Mom tried to comfort her.
“Audry, you can practice dressage, without that problem. You can
even do it pregnant.” Mom grinned. “I’ve done it.”
“I know you’re right. But Shannon needs work on the jumps, too.
He’s as rusty as I am…”
“Well, your best option is to wean Zack. He’s old enough to start
drinking from a baby cup, anyway.”
“Oh, he does. I just enjoy breast feeding too much,” Audry
admitted with a grin.
“Me too. But I think you need to do it, if you want to compete in
both events at Nationals.”

That night, I got ‘seconds’ from her breasts after Zack was asleep
in his crib. Then I got my chimes rung, when Audry did to my
prick what I’d done to her nipples. She licked around it, and
swirled her tongue around its head while her lips contained it.
When she felt she had my full attention, she slithered up my body-
brushing her enlarged breasts against me as she went-until she
could claim the passionate kiss she deserved.
THEN she mounted me, slowly sliding her hot, wet sleeve over my
eager cock. I had to calculate the value of seven squared and
eight squared a couple of times to keep from blowing my load on
the spot.
Fortunately, Audry was on a short fuze, too. She just lay on me
for a bit. But soon after she started moving up and down, she
started to get frantic. Offering me a breast to suck, she began
bucking. Once I had a hand on the offering, to keep it in my
mouth so I could do justice to her tasty nipple, she went
ballistic. Her pussy vibrated. Then the muscles in her stomach
convulsed. Her body arched and she shuddered.
This was more than enough to set me off and I was spraying her
cervix throughout.
Audry collapsed on me, my rapidly-wilting cock still snug in her
Languidly caressing her back and flanks, I murmured how much I
loved her-and how she’d once again blown my mind with her
incredible lovemaking.
She kissed me with love and passion.

After a bit, she moved off me, clinging to my side, with a knee
over my thigh, her head on my shoulder.
She explained her problem; the pain of jumping with the milk-
filled boobs, and the bras that were available.
We discussed having more children.
“Audry, we can wait. We can wait until you’re done competing,
then have all you want.”
“But Rob, I can compete for years. And I don’t want to wait that
long for kids. It wouldn’t be fair to Zack, if his next oldest
brother or sister is five or six years younger.”
“I dunno, love. You can’t jump if you’re pregnant anyway.”
“Yes I can, if I’m not too far along. I was jumping most of the
way through the second trimester with Zack…”
“That’s right. I forgot.”
“Anyway, Rob, can’t you get one of your engineer friends from OSU
to design a bra that would contain these monsters and support them
when I jump?”
“I suppose I could call Frank. Write down your sizes and
dimensions for me. I’ll call him in the morning.”
That earned me a kiss that started out gratitude and rapidly
turned to passion. Before I knew it, I was sunk deeply into Audry
again, moving in time with her and enjoying the marvelous feelings
my wife’s body gives me.
My orgasm took me by surprise and I was barely able to hang on
long enough to get Audry off, too.
“Sorry, love. That one surprised me.”
“It’s OK, darling. I’m glad that loose old thing still excites
you that much.”
“It isn’t loose. And it excites me a lot. And so does the rest
of you… If it weren’t that I know it’s uncomfortable, I’d say,
keep your boobs that size. I love them!”
“Chauvinist pig!” she said, as she shoved a nipple in my mouth for
a little attention.

Except for the first couple of months after she came back from the
hospital with Zack, Audry hadn’t used any birth control.
We think we lucked out again that night. Anyway, she was
Regardless, she was determined to compete in Nationals that year.

I called my friend, Frank, who was a fraternity brother and a top-
notch structural engineer, though a very junior member of a big
firm. When we’d talked a bit and I convinced him that I was
serious about our need, he became enthusiastic about the idea of a
‘sports bra’ for women with large breasts in proportion to the
rest of them-whether they were big from nursing or nature.
Most ‘sports bras’ just flattened everything against the ribs and
held it there. If a woman was nursing, or had really big breasts,
this didn’t work, and a lot of flesh would bounce up and down.
Skin just isn’t made to take that kind of force-it was painful and
caused boobs to droop as the skin stretched. Both were
undesirable results.
Frank looked at several possibilities that were OK from an
engineering standpoint, but not acceptable for women to wear.
He looked into materials and construction methods. And he came up
with a hand-made prototype, made to Audry’s dimensions.
It was much better than anything she’d tried, but still allowed
too much ‘flopping’.
The hardest part, for me, was allowing Frank to handle Audry’s
boobs. I knew he was devoted to his wife and baby daughter, but
it was still hard to see another man touch my wife. There was no
other way, though, that he could see where he succeeded and what
still needed to be improved.
Frank’s second try was a great improvement. Audry loved it! She
took the full course of jumps in our training ring without a
problem. Her horse, Shannon, seemed to get into it as well. It
had been over a year since he’d carried such an enthusiastic

To his embarrassment, she gave Frank a big kiss, when she
dismounted. Frank’s wife just looked on in amusement. She knew
Audry was expressing appreciation and not coming on to her
In fact, I was right behind her, pumping Frank’s hand and slapping
his back.
(With a little help from mom’s family, we found a garment maker in
New York who bought the patent and paid Frank a substantial
royalty besides. Audry got a free lifetime supply of bras,
underwear and blouses out of the deal.)

Without pain, Audry entered into her training program with fire
and passion. Her horse caught it from his rider and they soon
were pushing Samarkand and me hard.
Mom quietly smiled to herself, as she coached us both from her
perch on the top rail of the practice rings.

Things on the ranch were peaceful. No rustlers or poachers. No
one trying to mess with our entrance documents in competitions.
Nothing. We liked it! All of us liked the life we were leading
and reveled in our ability to make a good living from the land.
That year, we made a very good living. Even mom’s family was
impressed, when she told them what we’d cleared. (Mom had gotten
pissed off at a cousin’s continual harping on what her husband
made and how hard it must be for poor mom…)
Nationals were in Denver. We’d go in a motorhome and horse
trailer, rather than fly.

We took two motorhomes. Audry, Zack, grandma and me in one; our
parents in the other. Dad drove the big pickup that pulled the
horse trailer with Samarkand and Shannon and all our tack.
Highway 20, to Ontario, Oregon, is a good road and pretty
straight. We stopped in Baker to let the horses stretch and to
muck out the trailer. And stayed overnight at a ranch just out of
Ontario, where the horses had a corral to themselves and could
roll and generally cavort, to get over the day’s travel. It was
the same across Utah, and into Wyoming.
Denver welcomed us at the fairgrounds with good facilities and
helpful volunteers to answer all our questions and help with the
little problems that always arise. That Audry and I were
favorites in the events didn’t hurt.
Even mom was impressed. (Dad once told me that mom considered our
lifestyle to be close to abject poverty, compared to her
childhood. She never complained and was, really, happy with her
lot. But it took a lot to impress her.)
By now, Audry was just finishing the first trimester of this
pregnancy. Morning sickness was never a problem with her and
she’d merely felt a bit ‘strange’ a few mornings. The main thing,
for her, was to win national championships in both arena events-I
could have the 3-day…

We worked the horses as soon as we arrived and were set up. They
needed to stretch out and to get serious about things.
Experienced campaigners, the crowds and bustle didn’t bother them
To protect them, dad and Uncle Rick slept in their stalls. Rick
complained that Shannon was snorting and stomping all night…
Seems a mare two stalls down was just coming into season. (Rick
said he’d let Shannon cover her-as soon as her owner paid the stud
fee.) By morning, the mare’s condition was obvious and she was
moved to another section of the facility.
After a day to find our way around and practice, the dressage
event started. Sam had taken the trip well and was as strong as
ever, so I entered him in the arena events, besides the 3-day.
To her delight, and my chagrin-Samarkand just would not get his
head into it!-Audry won and I placed second. The following day,
she and Shannon did the same thing to us in the jumping event.
I’d given Sam a talking-to about paying attention. The damn horse
is so big and so strong, he sort of ‘rubber-necks’ like a tourist
just when I need him to be paying attention. This makes him a big
hit with the crowd, but makes the judges take off those tenths of
points that cost us victories.
At least Audry is spectacular in bed after she wins.
Most horses can’t do the 3-day after doing the individual events,
so I had a whole new set of opponents there.
The first day is dressage. Sam and I won it handily, with more
points ahead than I’d expected. The second day is the killer-
speed and endurance. My big horse gobbled up the course, though
he hadn’t had the work at that altitude we’d have liked. Still,
the nearest horse was almost 20 seconds behind and hadn’t been
close to us in dressage.
Firmly in command, we entered the jumping day. Sam was pleased
with himself, almost prancing into the arena when we were
announced-while other horses were pretty droopy after yesterday’s
As we had often before, we sailed over the jumps, making two clean
rounds and running away from the competition.

Afterwards, Audry and I had to pose in our ‘pinks’ for news and
magazine pictures, and then, in our motorhome, submit to a Sports
Illustrated interview. The last was a pleasure, though it was, we
found, hard work. Our sport needed all the publicity it could
get. Ideally, we’d start gaining large, paying crowds at our
events. Audry and I were happy to do our part.
Finding that Audry was pregnant, the interviewer asked if she
thought she’d be able to defend her titles next year.
“Unless something awful happens, I fully intend to!” she declared.
Her pregnancy and intent to defend next year anyway made the
rounds of the horse world overnight.

~~ * * * * * ~~

Just as spring was thinking about rescuing us from winter’s cold,
teasing us with warm breezes on an occasional afternoon, Audry
delivered our daughter, Moira.
It had been a strenuous delivery, Audry’s hips being a bit narrow.
But both came through the process like champions. Moira
demonstrated that she shared her great-grandmother’s lust for
life, and her mother’s determination. From me, she got size and,
later, fairly broad shoulders for a girl.
Three days later, Audry was practicing dressage with Shannon, and
after another four days, they took a few low jumps.
Audry discovered that her butt was fine. And the new bras kept
the boobs from flying about–she could do this! She confided this
to mom and me, while a huge grin threatened to split her face

The night she took the jumps, she was so excited, she was horny.
Still uncomfortable with vaginal intercourse, she insisted I get
in the back door. We’d done that a few times, just for the
Greasing up the pole with a little KY, I shoved it in, with a
steady push. She was tighter and hotter than anything I’d
Reaching around her, I caressed a breast with one hand and her
vaginal mound with the other.
“OH, ROBBY!” She screamed. “Right THERE!”
Then her body convulsed and I sprayed my load into her. I just
can’t take it when she comes.
She collapsed with me on top of her.
In moments, she tried to roll out from under me, so I moved off of
her. Audry rolled just far enough to take me in her arms and kiss
me thoroughly.
“Thanks, darling. I needed that.” A gamin grin. “And I suspect
you did too. It’s been too long.”
I smiled back at her beloved face and gently traced the outline of
her lips with a finger. “Honey, you’re worth the wait,” I said,
softly, just before kissing the corner of her mouth.
Audry smiled. “I’ll bet you say that to all the girls.”
“Only to the ones I make love with.”
Audry had had her wild years. But I’d never had another woman.
And she knew it.
She just held me tight, until I fell asleep.

When I awoke, she was still holding me; one arm under my back, the
other across my chest, with a leg atop mine. Her head was on my
chest and those marvelous breasts were pressed against my chest
and side.
This one was all woman, in a really incredible package.

Determined to compete this year, Audry spent a couple of hours
every day on Shannon. Mostly they worked dressage, but there was
a half-hour of jumps daily. Mom kept a close eye on things, both
to keep them from getting into bad habits, and to make sure Audry
didn’t overdo it.
Shannon seemed to thrive on the work and attention.
Samarkand, my big horse, loved hard work. The more the better.
He was such a brute, he could do the speed and endurance routine
two days in a row, if I asked him to. For Sam, fun was a 30-mile
trail ride into the high country-half of it at a canter.
We tried that, a couple of weeks after Audry was back in the
saddle. I took little Zack, my son, along. He could sit the
small mare I’d given him, though he couldn’t mount or dismount by
himself. A lot of the time, though, he just sat in front of me on
‘Big Sam’.
Audry rode along with us for an hour, then turned back. Moira
wasn’t big enough to go along yet, and Audry was breast feeding…
Mom and dad were with us, though, making it a small family
Zack had a great time. He ran around the meadow we camped in, on
his stubby child’s legs, chasing butterflies. He tried to catch
minnows in the little stream with his hands. He watched in wonder
as dad lit the fire and started cooking our supper.
He wanted to know why the horses had to eat grass. Why couldn’t
they have fruit loops, and mashed potatoes, and good food, like we
When he went to sleep, he slept the deep sleep of the innocent-
while his dad and grandparents looked around at the familiar scene
with wonder-having seen it anew, through the child’s eyes.

As a result of intensive lobbying, the Nationals that year were in
Spokane. That was a good drive from the ranch, but not hard to do
in a day.
Again, we rented two motorhomes and pulled the horse trailer with
the big pickup.
The event organizers in Spokane were very good to us, almost
embarrassing us with their hospitality. Of course, Audry and I
were favorites again.
And, once again, we did really well. This time I won the jumping-
Sam and I had been working harder at it than Audry had been able
to. She and Shannon ate our lunch in dressage, as usual.
I had some competition in the 3-day. A few really good horsemen
decided that, if they wanted to make the Olympic team, 3-day was
the event to do it in. At the end of the dressage stage, Sam and
I were in second place. And the horse that had beaten us was, I
knew, an exceptional jumper.
We needed to dominate in the speed and endurance stage.
Mom suggested I keep Sam in hand, to keep his head in it. For the
first few miles, I did. He didn’t spend his energy ‘sightseeing’,
as he likes to do and, when I felt him get into it, I turned him
loose. He knew how far he had to go and he wanted to get there!
He set a blistering pace, finishing almost five minutes faster
than the second place horse-which was not the horse that had
beaten us in the first stage.
As always, mom’s coaching had been crucial.
In the jumping event, we went around clean. Not in the fastest
time, but right in there. With the lead we’d made in the second
stage, we were once again the national champions.
I was getting almost embarrassed by our success. Sure, I’m a good
rider. In fact, I’m an outstanding rider. But with Sam for a
mount, I couldn’t miss, as long as I made him pay attention. My
only concern was that the oldest of Sam’s colts would be coming of
age soon.
We’d even bred a few for ourselves. One born this past spring
might be Sam’s replacement as my mount in a few more years. But
neither Sam nor I were anywhere near ready to retire from

Audry was disappointed with her showing in the jumping
competition. She finished third, after me and a rider from
Georgia. She’d almost been fourth, but the horse from Florida hit
a rail and lost a point, giving Audry third.
A couple of weeks after we returned to the ranch, she asked me if
I’d mind if she didn’t have a baby that year. She wanted to
concentrate and prepare for the Olympics.
I had to laugh, even when I knew I shouldn’t. She was so serious
about it. I would grant her a big favor and not make her have
another baby for a couple of years…
“Audry, honey, I’m sorry I laughed. It’s just that…it’s your
body, baby. I love you. And I love our kids. I’m looking
forward to having a couple more, when you’re ready to have them.
But, honey, the timing is entirely up to you.”
A thought occurred to me. “You don’t HAVE to have more, if you’d
rather not…”
Audry just grinned, and slugged me in the shoulder. “Of course I
want more. Having your babies is what I’m for. And you make the
process so interesting…”
I enveloped her in a huge hug. We were on the same page. We
(For the “Zero Population Growth” crowd, let me point out that we
are not city folk living in an apartment, or house in the suburbs.
We live on a ranch that has been a family operation for a century
now. Audry and I were only children, though essentially raised
together. We needed children, if one or two were to keep the
ranch in the family after us.
(But more important, we wanted children. We really love our time
with the two we have so far, working and playing with them and
molding their attitudes.
(Little Zach is already taking riding seriously and is developing
a caring attitude towards his sister, Moira. I think that’s
because Audry and I both have told him several times that he will
have to help her and keep her from harm when she starts walking
all over the place. Give kids responsibility and expect them to
achieve and be responsible, and they’ll grow up with a good work

So Audry would take a couple of years to concentrate on the horses
and raising the two children we had. That was surely fine with
Aunt Elin, Audry’s mom, took over the ‘day school’ part of the
child rearing. A gentle lady, she was very good at it. (She’d
been our teacher, until the new road was built that allowed Audry
and me to attend public school.) Both kids adored her. She
taught them to count and the alphabet-and amazing detail about the
simple things around us. When he was four, Zach started to read-
and never stopped. Moira wasn’t far behind him.
Grandma spent as much time with them as she could, usually in the
evenings. She taught them songs (not always fit for children so
young), and games, and the secrets of her special chocolate chip
cookies. Grandma believed the function of grandparents was to
spoil grandkids. Great-grandkids got spoiled double!
My parents got their share of time with the precocious little
brats, too, teaching them about the horses and how to ride and
care for them properly. But they learned in a natural way, as a
part of our family heritage. It was something serious, yet fun.

That spring, Moira was still an infant, though weaned.3 I felt a
need to see some city lights, take my best girl dancing, and buy
her some new party clothes. We discussed it, and decided that
we’d take the kids, and grandma (who wanted to get her ashes
hauled-and had a gentleman friend in Portland she wanted to see).
Mom and dad would come along, too. Rick and Elin would stay
behind to make sure everything was OK at home, and supervise Gerry
and the other two hands.
At the last minute, Rick decided they’d go, too. Gerry was
competent and had been with us for years.

In the past, we’d always rented a motorhome to get to competitions
if they were close enough to drive to. This year, dad decided he
wanted his own–and that we could afford it. He came home from
Eugene with a beautiful 33-foot coach that was elegant and
comfortable. So when we all wanted to go to Portland, that’s how
we traveled. We had reservations in the Red Lion and would rent a
couple of cars while we were there. But that coach was sure a
plush way to get there.
Audry appreciated the big bed in back, where she could put the
kids down for their naps without fuss.
We weren’t in any great hurry, so we left mid-morning and took our
time crossing the Cascades. It’s always pretty country. I enjoy
watching the scenery change from ‘high desert’ to ‘valley’. The
trees change from pine to fir, and grow much closer together. The
underbrush is much more prolific-becoming almost like a jungle in
places. Out of the mountains, farms and woods of oak and fir
surround you. Of course, the valley gets more than three times as
much annual rainfall as we do.
It’s an easy trip on US 20, then up I-5. It was still light when
we reached Portland. We’d promised to take Zach to the zoo. He
didn’t understand that it would have to be tomorrow…
We had two small suites, side by side. Our parents shared one,
and we had the other, with the kids. With the luggage in our
rooms, we were ready to see about a fancy restaurant dinner.
Grandma called her friend, and arranged to meet him the next day.
Tonight she would baby-sit-and sleep in the sitting room of our
Dinner was in the ‘fancy’ restaurant in the hotel. The food was
very good and the ambiance of the place nice. Our ladies had
dressed up for the occasion, in cocktail dresses, hair up, and
makeup. They didn’t get the chance to do that very often-nor we
to see them that way. I think dad and Uncle Rick really enjoyed
the way they looked. I know I did!
Audry is a beautiful woman. Dressed up and made up, she’s
breathtaking. I’d almost forgotten just how gorgeous she can be.
Western men have a reputation for reticence. Mostly justified.
But I made a point of telling her how lucky I felt, being the one
she went home with.
Mom and Aunt Elin aren’t dogs, either. For that matter, grandma
is a foxy lady, with a figure a lot of teens would kill for.

After dinner, grandma took the kids back to our suite, to put them
to bed. The rest of us went out on the town.
We found a nightclub we liked and decided we’d stay a while. They
couldn’t give us a table for six, so Audry and I had a tiny table
across the dance floor from our folks.
I thought I knew everything about her, but Audry surprised me by
demanding that I dance with her. We dance, but ballroom stuff.
This was disco!
“Come on, Rob. You can do this. Just move with the music.”
When Audry asks, what can I do? I tried.
Audry moved with the music, all right. ALL of Audry moved. She
was shaking it pretty good. In fact, a lot of guys in the place
were watching her more than they were their own partners. For
sure, I was watching her.
When the set ended, Audry laughed and collapsed against me. After
a big kiss, she took my hand and held me in place.
The next set was slow dancing and Audry wanted to reward me for
being such a good sport, by plastering her elegant, curvy shape
against me.
I enjoyed it so much, the old cock sprang right up against her
belly. Audry thought that was really funny and rubbed against me
as much as she could.
Soon we sat back down, for a breather-a chance for me to get
myself under control.
Audry barely had time to sample her drink, when a guy stopped to
ask if she’d dance with him. He looked OK, so Audry looked at me,
a question on her face. I just shrugged. I really didn’t want to
do another set of the disco dancing right then.
The guy was big, and good looking. He had a rakish look about
him, as though he just didn’t give a damn.
When the set was over, Audry came back to our table. Obviously,
the guy wanted her to dance the slow dances with him, too.
Plopping herself into her chair, she thanked him for the dance,
then turned to me.
A bit later, after we’d danced again, he came over just as a slow
dance set was starting. This time, Audry said, “Thanks, but I’ll
sit this one out.” When he’d returned to the bar, Audry said,
“He’s coming on too strong for me. A dance is one thing. But
he’s looking to score-it won’t be on me.”
We danced with our parents and each other’s parents. And I held
Audry in my arms a time or two.
Audry’s admirer tried again. Audry thought, ‘what the hell’ and
danced with him another set. She also told him she was a very
married mother of two children.
About midnight, we left, to return to our hotel. (We’re used to
rising early. That means bed early, too.)

Shortly after we returned to our suite from breakfast, grandma
announced that there was some guy on the phone, asking for Audry.
Audry had a very short conversation, ending with, “Don’t ever call
me again!”
It was the guy from the nightclub. He’d somehow followed us and
found out our suite number.
While Audry and grandma got the kids ready for the expedition to
the zoo, I went next door, to tell dad and Uncle Rick what had
Mom asked, “Do you have the guy’s name?”
“Yeah. ‘James.”
“Nothing more?”
“OK. We’ll all keep an eye out for him. I think Audry probably
took care of it this morning, though.”
“Thanks. I hope so.”
Portland’s zoo is a good one. Moira was too small to really enjoy
it. But my day with Zach is one I’ll cherish. He and I walked
hand in hand. Every new and strange animal he saw fascinated him.
When we arrived at the area of the hippopotamus, an animal was
just taking a leak. Zach was used to seeing this with the horses,
so it wasn’t any big deal. Except that the hippo kept on – and
on. When he finally finished, Zach, eyes huge, said, “WOW!”
And down a bit, while looking at the zebras-Zach wondering how it
would be to ride one-I spotted a giraffe, through a break in the
screening foliage. Putting Zach on a bench, so he could see, I
pointed it out. Zach was bright enough to understand that the
animal was VERY tall. He was enchanted. And I was thrilled to be
able to share it with him.
WHAT A DAY! We even rode the zoo train, over to the rose gardens,
where we looked at the great variety of roses, in their first
blooms, and enjoyed the view over the city, with Mt. Hood
majestic in the background.
Every dad needs days like that with his sons. It makes having
them worthwhile.

Arriving back at the hotel, Audry was accosted in the lobby by her
admirer. Rick, dad and I surrounded him and suggested, in the
strongest possible way, that his attentions were unwelcome and
that continuing them would result in something getting broken-like
his legs and arms. Mom summoned hotel security, who got
identification information, then hustled him off.
The guy’s name was James Richards. He had a Portland address, in
a modest apartment complex. The hotel didn’t know anything about
him. Their security staff did check with the police. He’d had a
couple of minor incidents-women claimed he’d harassed them. No
arrests or convictions.
Grandma took off to meet her friend. If she missed our departure,
she’d make her own way back to the ranch. Don’t worry about her.
Dad and Uncle Rick wanted to visit their stockbroker, to review
their portfolio in detail and plot strategy for the next year.
This was an annual thing with them and they thought our trip was
an ideal opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Besides,
they’d end up at Paddy’s Pub, where they’d drink a lot more than
they should, with the broker.
The ladies were going shopping. The huge Lloyd Center shopping
mall was right by the hotel. They’d start there. Then they’d
take the trolley downtown, for trips to Meier & Frank and
Guess who was left to watch the kids?

It was OK, really. Zach was happy watching cartoons and Moira
just wanted to be held… and fed on schedule. I spent a pleasant
morning playing with my daughter, and answering Zach’s questions
as best I could. After lunch, they both went down for naps.
And the women returned.
With bundles and bags.
Chattering as fast as they could go.
Dad and Rick returned about a half-hour later. And Rick and Elin
went out right away-Elin wanted some new wallpaper and other
things for her house and insisted that she wouldn’t buy anything
like that without Rick’s approval.
When the kids woke up, we took them to a park, where they could
swing and slide and climb and be kids. We appreciated that they
were used to an active life and wouldn’t enjoy shopping or
visiting museums.
That evening, all three ladies dressed up for us, each showing off
a new party dress. Damn, they’re a spectacular bunch!
Aunt Elin and Uncle Rick would stay in the hotel and care for the
kids. They’d order in a fancy room service dinner and have their
own party. Elin wasn’t really into the nightclub scene, anyway-or
Rick, either, if you get right down to it. The kids were a
convenient excuse to do what they really wanted to, anyway.
After considerable discussion, we settled on a cabaret restaurant
that was highly recommended by the hotel concierge.
We agreed that the place lived up to its reputation. The food was
excellent, as was the ambiance. The floorshow was a delight. And
the band was easy to dance to.
The only fly in the ointment was Audry’s admirer, James.
Who asked her to dance, as soon as the band started.
I stood and grabbed him by the necktie. “Listen, buster. I told
you before that you’re making a nuisance of yourself. If I see
you again, around my wife, I will make you wish you’d never set
eyes on any of us. Do you understand what I’m telling you?”
“Hey, buddy!” I was NOT his buddy! “I just asked the lady to
dance. That’s no big deal.”
“It is a big deal. Find some other lady. Now!”
Dad quietly strolled to the bar, and, motioning the bartender
over, said, “That guy,” pointing out James, “has been stalking my
daughter-in-law for a couple of days. If you want to avoid a
scene, I’d really suggest you get him out of your place.”
The bartender nodded. “Thanks. I’ll take care of it.”
In moments, a pair of large guys escorted James out the door.

After a very pleasant couple of hours, we decided to try another
club the hotel had suggested. They were right. It was a nice
place and our ladies did us proud, in their new dresses.
But there was James, again asking Audry for a dance.
This time, dad and I grabbed him and hustled him out the door.
Once outside, I proceeded to punch his lights out.
When he was on the ground, bruised, but not unconscious, I said,
“I told you, asshole! Stay away from my wife. She isn’t
interested. And we are very interested in what she wants. Next
time, you’re dog meat.”
At the door, I told the doorman that we’d been having trouble with
the guy. Please keep him out of the club while we were there?
Wide eyed, he said he would.

In the morning, we took the kids to a super playground, where
there were all kinds of games and activities for kids of all ages.
The whole family went, our parents feeling that it was a good
‘grandparent fix’ for them, watching the kids playing with such
great glee in the new environment.
After lunch in the hotel, the grandparents seemed to want a nap as
much as the kids. Rick and Elin would stay in our suite, to be
there if a kid woke up. Audry and I had a bit of shopping of our
own to take care of.
There was a saddle shop a couple miles from the hotel that I
wanted to visit. I wasn’t quite comfortable with the roping
saddle I used around the ranch. And Audry and I both wanted to
look at new English rigs. The ones we had were getting pretty
The staff in the shop were professional saddlemakers. They
understood at once my problem with my saddle, without even seeing
it. In a half-hour, they helped me select the saddle I still
ride, in perfect comfort.
Audry bought a new western saddle, too, as well as a saddle for a
child. We only had one little saddle, but would soon need one for
And we both bought new English rigs, for the upcoming Nationals
and Olympics.
It was a hoot! The staff-excellent tack and saddle people-hadn’t
figured out who we were. When the light turned on, and they
realized that we were national and Olympic champion riders, they
fell all over themselves. In fact, they offered to supply all the
tack the ranch wanted, if they could use us in their advertising.
Audry and I looked at each other. Why not? We shook hands on the
deal. They’d ship our new saddles and equipment UPS. And they’d
expect dad and Uncle Rick to come see them, too.
I was kind enough to warn them about mom. She’s VERY particular
about her equipment-and ours. They thanked me, but smugly allowed
that they expected to meet the highest standards and were sure she
would be satisfied with their work.

That afternoon, grandma came dragging in. “I’m not as young as I
used to be,” she lamented. “He just flat-out wore me out.” A
pause. A big grin. “But he invited me back-soon!”
Since she was there and wanted a bit of rest, grandma was our
babysitter. The rest of us would have one more night to party,
before we returned home.
Our ladies really turned it on. They wore new dresses that
exposed a lot of very interesting skin-even Aunt Elin.
In return, we took them to a very elegant restaurant, atop one of
the buildings on the hills overlooking the city. Spectacular view-
with the sun setting over the lights of the darkened city below,
Mt. Hood catching its last rays. Spectacular ladies, who loved us
very much, and who enjoyed putting on a bit of a show, to stroke
our egos.
From the restaurant, we moved to a hotel downtown where, we were
assured, the dancing was excellent.
All was as advertised. We had a great time, in a really nice
Until James showed up.
We had no idea how he found us, but we were really tired of him.
Audry looked like she’d bitten into something rotten when she saw
him. At least, this time, he didn’t come to the table, to ask her
to dance.
But his eyes tracked her like radar, spoiling our evening.
Dad asked the waitress to send the bouncer over to see us. And
explained to him what we’d been through with the guy. The bouncer
said he couldn’t do anything, until James approached us, or did
something. Dad said, “Fine. We’ll leave, and not spend any more
money here!”
When James showed up at the next place we visited, the manager was
more accommodating-after dad slipped him a $50. James was hustled
out and we finished our evening unbothered.

In the morning, we headed home. I commented that it was too bad
that James guy had spoiled the trip for us. While mom and Aunt
Elin chuckled, Audry informed me that it was nice to know that she
was still so exciting, that, after two children, she could attract
a stalker.
Uncle Rick decided that the women had enough fun. “I see that.
But it’s scary, and I’m glad we’re leaving Portland.”
Grandma agreed, “That guy gave me the creeps. There’s something
wrong with him.”
Our mood brightened, as we crested the Cascades, into our sunny
high country.

~~ * * * * * ~~

Mom and dad were really impressed with our new tack. As I
expected, dad liked my new roping saddle-Uncle Rick wanted to
steal it!-while mom was rapturous over the English saddles we’d
When we told them they were free, in return for advertising, Uncle
Rick ordered one just like mine, by phone that very day.

About a week after our vacation, I came back to the ranch from
some work on the fences, to find Audry white-faced and grandma
“What’s with you two?” I asked.
“James called Audry,” grandma said.
“That’s not good, but what’s the problem?”
“He said awful things, Rob,” Audry choked out. “He told me what
he wants to do with me-to me.”
“OK, baby,” I said. “I’ll take care of it. For now, let’s tell
all our friends we’re letting our answering machines screen our
calls. If it’s someone you know, go ahead and answer. If not,
let the answering machine take the call. You’re a tough lady.
Give him enough rope to hang himself.”
Grandma nodded. Audry, too, a bit slower.
I visited Bend, stopping to see the sheriff who had played on the
high school football team with me, though he was a couple of years
older. I explained the problem and told him I might need some law-
enforcement help. He knew us well-in fact, he’d had a little
letch for Audry himself, at one time. So he was receptive.
When James called next, his message was vile. He described in
great detail the things he wanted to do to her-and her to do to
him. As phone sex, I guess it would have been OK. But Audry was
not a willing audience.
The next day we had more of the same. I had a block against that
number put on our line. Two days later, another call, this time
from a pay phone in Portland.
And the next day, a call from Bend!
I called the sheriff. The call was from a motel but James had
checked out a half-hour before the deputy got there.
We suspected-no, we knew-James was on his way to the ranch, to see
We moved Audry and the kids to Uncle Rick’s house, that being the
most secluded and furthest from the road into the ranch
headquarters. Dad, Rick and I, along with Gerry, our foreman,
took high-powered rifles, to stake out the high ground around our
We all carried food and bedding, in case we had to stay overnight.
And we had small radios to talk to each other and our women.
Also, we carried night vision scopes we’d bought cheap from a
neighbor, whose kids played with them for a week, then set them
aside as boring.
I fully expected James, in his arrogance and obsession with my
wife, to come driving right up to the house, demanding a big,
romantic welcome. It didn’t happen that way. Instead, sometime
after one in the morning, my radio woke me. Someone was trying to
sneak in by walking slowly along the fence that bordered our ranch
road. Whoever it was did not use a flashlight, but seemed to be
feeling his way along the fenceline.
Our property was clearly posted, with “No Trespassing. No Hunting”
signs everywhere-including on the driveway entrance. The county
road was a good half mile from the houses, too. So this guy knew
he wasn’t welcome. Of course, his stealthy approach confirmed
We watched him through our night vision scopes. I also checked
carefully to make sure he wasn’t a decoy. He was alone.
When he got to a hundred yards of the big house, we started to
close in on him. And when he mounted to the porch, we were only
yards away.
Grandma, alone in the house, didn’t have a radio, but Aunt Elin
had called her when Uncle Rick had first spotted the guy. When he
broke the lock on the front door and opened it, she waited until
he was framed in the doorway, then blew him away with her shotgun.
It was bird shot, but two rounds, at ten feet, will do a pretty
good job on a man.
Dad hollered, “OK, mom! He’s down. Don’t shoot!”
While grandma turned on the lights in the house, dad turned on the
porch lights. We stared at James, then called the sheriff.

It took an hour for a deputy to arrive and another half-hour for
the coroner to get there. We hadn’t touched him, or even come
near him, except to turn on the lights from the switches by the
door he’d broken.
When they examined his body, we were all really glad grandma
hadn’t hesitated. He carried a garrote, several pieces of rope,
four silk scarves, and a big knife. He was obviously prepared for
some heavy rape and bondage stuff with somebody. And we knew from
the phone calls, that somebody was Audry.
Rick rode home and Elin woke Audry, who ran over to see. Taking
one look, she spat at his body, then walked back to her mom’s
house, to gather the kids. We’d finish the night in our own beds.

The coroner’s inquest ruled that grandma shot an intruder who had
broken into her home. He was armed and the history of the case
showed that he clearly intended to harm us.
Audry was shaken by the whole thing. She’d never had a guy come
on to her like that. Out where we live, a lady is treated like a
lady, or else a half-dozen guys teach him manners.
Naturally, the family teased her a bit, about being a barroom
floozy. ‘Guys just couldn’t help themselves around her…’
She’s never given any guy a reason to come on to her. So our
gentle teasing was more a matter of telling her we love her and
think she’s beautiful.
She threw herself into preparing for Nationals and the Olympics.

Grandma took a vacation in Bermuda, coming back tanned and walking
very slowly.

Mom had been working with one of Sam’s colts. She felt he might
be ready for competition. Her idea was that he wasn’t too
polished yet, but maybe Audry would like to ride him in the 3-day?
Audry jumped at it, although it meant a lot of hours of work,
getting the colt used to her, and schooling it in dressage and
arena jumping. Mom had already done the basics-the horse was
better than most right then. But at our level, a nearly
clairvoyant rapport had to exist between horse and rider. That
was only developed by hard work. (In spite of lots of books for
teenaged girls to the contrary, horses are not very smart. But
they do have individual personalities.)
The colt had been named Claybourne-‘Clay’. Mom had in mind that
eventually he’d replace Sam as my mount. After about a week of
working with him, Audry announced that I could get my own second
mount: Clay was hers. Besides, Shannon was aging, and starting to
show the effects of all the hard seasons of work he’d been
OK. But meanwhile, Shannon was still probably the most elegant
dressage and arena horse in the country. That meant that Audry
had to work two horses daily.
Some days, she could hardly walk by evening.
Mom eventually put her foot down.
“Audry, you aren’t helping yourself, or the horses this way. I’ll
train Clay in dressage and the school jumps. You spend at least
half of each day with the kids. OK?”
Knowing she’d been caught, fair and square, Audry just gave mom a
big hug, and whispered, “Thanks,” in her ear.

A nice part of this was that Audry joined me on the cross-country
training. We had three different routes laid out on the ranch-and
they could be mixed, for additional variety. Both horses loved
cross-country days. For most animals it was a real challenge,
just to get through the course. Those brutes just ate it up. Our
altitude helped, too. When they got to a competition at sea
level, they were monsters.
It was nice to be able to take the courses together, working our
horses, though not racing them against each other. We made sure
we got an occasional trip to our favorite high meadow, too. Once
we even brought the kids, though it was an awfully long ride for

Our first competition was a week-long affair up in Washington. We
took four horses; Sam, Shannon, Clay, and mom’s hack. She felt
more comfortable coaching from horseback than atop a show ring
rail, in a strange arena.
Audry and Shannon beat Sam and me in the arena events-but not by
much. Then came the 3-day. We managed to win dressage, barely.
And Sam was just too strong for Clay to match on the cross-country
course. The third day, Clay was tired and dropped a rail on a
hurdle. Sam as always, rode clean and we had another trophy.
Audry was disappointed with Clay’s performance. But mom told her
firmly that the horse was young and didn’t even have all his size
yet. In a couple of years, he’d be giving Sam more than he could
handle-especially if Audry could train him to keep his head in
what he was doing.
Two more meets before Nationals. Audry and I battled back and
forth. Sam and I even beat Shannon on the jumps once-Sam had a
superlative day.

Nationals was held at Atlantic City. We’d never been there and
enjoyed seeing Boardwalk and Park Place. Marvin Gardens was a
The arena was nice, but the cross-country course was
disappointing. It was flat, with some hastily-erected jumps and
barricades, but generally not very challenging. I was concerned
that it favored the mediocre horses.
In the arena events, Audry and Shannon won both times. They both
had the greatest competitions I’d seen from them. I was second in
the jumps and third in dressage. Sam did OK, but not as good as
his best.
I confess, I was thinking more about the 3-day than what we were
about. We’d have to do these same events again in a couple of
At the 3-day dressage, Sam and I won, narrowly beating Audry and
Clay. The third-place horse was good, but not in our class. His
rider, in my opinion, deserved a better mount. He was really a
talented guy.
The cross-country speed and endurance event should have been a
walk-away for us. It wasn’t. Sam and I had the best time, and
Audry was third, but the mediocre horse with a superior rider was
Audry and I both needed to do well on the jumps.
Mom talked sternly to us and to our horses. She told me to keep
Sam in hand and hollered at him to pay attention to the gates, not
the crowd. Audry was cautioned to give Clay firm guidance, but to
give him his head at the jumps. And mom told Clay he was a
wonderful, strong horse, with plenty of energy to do the day’s
I don’t know if the animals understood what she told them, but
they did all we asked of them, and went one-two. Both horses have
us fast, clean rounds in the jumps, even though two of the gates
were higher than I’ve ever seen in the 3-day, where horses are
usually pretty tired when they get to the jumping.
The good rider placed third.

Afterwards, he invited us all out for dinner and drinks on him.
Uncle Rick was caring for the horses and would get them back on
their airplane. Grandma was watching the kids-she didn’t have any
gentleman friends in Atlantic City-and told us to go, and have a
good time.
The guy’s name was George Lemmer. He was from Long Island and
turned out to be a really nice guy. He knew several of mom’s
family and seemed to have a good attitude towards the sport and
the horses. (The family had only good things to say about him,
when mom checked.)
Over brandy, he grinned and asked if we had any horses for sale.
He knew he needed a better horse. He had made the Olympic team,
but his horse just wasn’t good enough to compete at that level.
Mom and dad just looked thoughtful. Then talked about other
Later, when we were getting ready to return to the hotel, dad
said, “George, why don’t you come on out to the ranch in a week or
so? You can see what we have. Who knows?”
No fool, he settled the details on the spot.

The following Thursday, we saw a jeep Cherokee enter the yard.
George got out and looked around. Mom rode her hack over and told
him to put the jeep over by their house, then walk back to the
corral. She rode along, to keep him company.
In the corral, dad was working with another of Sam’s offspring, a
big mare we called Ginger. She wasn’t as big as Sam, but she was
very strong and as smart as a horse gets. She had a nice
personality, too. She tried hard to please her rider.
“We’ll show you all the horses we have, George. Some are spoken
for, and some won’t ever be good enough for you. For starters,
why don’t you try that mare? Her name’s Ginger. She’s never
competed, but I think she shows promise.”
George replaced dad in the saddle, adjusting the stirrups a bit.
Then he led her through some dressage. You could see George start
to smile. After a soft canter around the ring, he took her over
the school jumps, his smile widening into a grin. He rode to the
gate and opened it without dismounting. Pointing Ginger down a
lane that leads to the north pasture, he gave her a nudge and she
was off. A few minutes later, they came flying back, literally
skidding to a stop in front of us.
Jumping from her back, George hugged the horse and patted her.
Ginger knew she’d done good.
“Are they all like this?” George asked.
“Well, a few. Ginger’s one of the better ones. You know about
Clay and Sam. Of course, they’re not available. And a couple of
the yearlings aren’t available, either. Beyond that, look around,
ride any horse you want to try. There are some that I don’t think
would work for you… I’ll let you know if we disagree on any of
Dad removed the tack and turned Ginger into the other corral,
where she promptly had a good roll, then wandered over to the
manger for a snack.
“It’s supper time. We’ll all eat in the big house tonight,
George. Do you want to change? Or just wash up?”
“Both, if I may?” he said.
At dinner, he met the rest of the family. George was an
investment banker and came from old money, though he hadn’t
inherited enough to be rich, by the family’s standards. His wife
had died several years before from a very virulent form of cancer.
He’d never remarried, having never met a woman who interested him.
There were any number of available, presentable women in his
social circles, but none he wanted to spend significant time with.
Horses were his passion and relaxation. He had a real gift for
getting the most from a mount-as we’d discovered.
For two days, George threw saddles on just about every four-legged
critter we had. Mom knew-Ginger was his horse. He kept coming
back to her. The difficulty was that she was just three and had
never competed. We didn’t know how she’d do, the first couple of
times. Mom knew that, eventually, she’d be a superior horse.
Audry and I wanted to go for a ride. For us, a ride was an
overnight or longer jaunt up into the hills. Grandma was away on
one of her trips, but Elin was happy to watch the kids. So we
went. Seeing our preparations, George asked what was going on.
His wistful look when we told him prompted an invitation for him
to join us.
Expressing surprise that we’d use our competition animals that
way, we assured him that the vacation was as much for them as for
I gave him my old western saddle to throw on Ginger and mom fixed
him up with a bedroll and small tent. We were off.
The horses loved the trip, as always, and cantered halfway up the
mountains. We brought Clay along as packhorse, but with a western
saddle on him, for his pride. Audry would ride him back.

By the time we returned to the ranch headquarters, George knew
he’d found his horse. I suggested to him and mom that we set up
some loudspeakers, with crowd noise, by the training ring. That
would get Ginger used to the noise, at least.
Two more days for training under mom’s critical eye, and the van
George hired showed up to carry Ginger to the airport.
We shook hands with George, promising to keep in touch. We’d see
him at the Olympics, where he’d be a competitor in the 3-day.

~~ * * * * ~~

Our second Olympics were once again a marvelous experience. This
time, our national body had made sure those in charge of
arrangements put Audry and me in a room for a married couple. In
fact, we even had a private bath!
In spite of assurances, there was a bit of trouble with the horses
at customs. It turned out somebody wanted a bribe. We let the
host country Olympic committee handle it.
Uncle Rick and dad were the official ‘grooms’ for the horses.
Since we took three of them, we added Aunt Elin to the list,
though she took care of Rick a lot more than she did of the
horses. Mom was our coach and trainer, and an official of our
national governing body. In fact, she would be a judge, on the
days Audry and I were not riding.
Grandma stayed home with the kids. We offered to bring them all.
She just said, “No. We’ll do fine. I’ll spoil them rotten. And
I don’t want to go trolling for Asian men, anyway. This is
better, really.” I just kissed her in thanks.

Again, we participated in the opening ceremonies and got a real
kick out of being part of that great contingent of athletes.
Later, in the ‘village’, we mingled and met many of them,
including several NBA stars, who were on the ‘dream team’ or
representing their native countries.
As expected, we had to constantly try to explain what ‘dressage’
is, and why the 3-day is the decathlon of equestrian events.
The day before our events were to start, Audry woke with terrible
stomach cramps and nausea. Throwing up half the night, she looked
awful in the morning. Mom quickly got a doctor in to look at her.
She was diagnosed as having food poisoning. Apparently several
athletes had come down with it. Medication was prescribed and
rest suggested.
The doctor smiled. “I know you won’t do that, since your events
start today. But take it as easy as you can. Lie down whenever
possible. Drink lots of water-bottled water. If you aren’t
better by tomorrow evening, be sure to see me again.”
I suggested that she scratch the arena events and just do the team
3-day. Struggling out of bed, Audry wouldn’t hear of it.
“Shannon would never forgive me. He’ll carry me. The horse knows
the routine better than I do, anyway.”
Mom helped her with more makeup than usual. Rick had Shannon
saddled and ready to go. All Audry had to do was show up and get
That’s about all she was able to do.
She always looks elegant on a horse. Hell, she always looks
elegant. That day, there was just a little bit missing-but you
had to know her well to catch it. As she’d said, Shannon saved
her. We made a fuss over him, telling him how great he was, and
he almost pranced through the dressage routine, getting near-
perfect marks.
Audry finished the day in the lead. I was third.
The next day, the finals, Audry felt a bit better, although she’d
thrown up twice during the night. She had a bit of spark and
Shannon sensed it. He outdid himself and ended up with even
better marks than the day before. Audry had another Olympic gold
medal. I had to settle for bronze, being beaten by an Austrian
rider, who was a superb horseman. His horse just wasn’t up to
Shannon’s performance.
We had a day off. The doctor was called, since Audry really
didn’t feel much better. He said she needed to be in the
hospital, with IVs in her. She was getting dehydrated. Dad had a
bit of trouble with that. We were in another country. Audry
needed to compete in another day. Would they let her out? The
doctor didn’t know. So we arranged to do it in our room.
A stand was rigged and the IV bottles suspended. Mom, Elin and I
were all instructed on how to change the bottles-they were set up
so they only needed changing every 8 hours. The idea was to pump
her full of saline and Ringer’s, to combat the dehydration and
help her body regain its strength.
She was also encouraged to eat and drink all she was willing to
take in.
Dad and Rick took care of the horses and exercised them for us, so
we didn’t have to be concerned about that. I went to the stables
a couple of hours myself, and told the horses that they were
wonderful boys, and we’d have a great time in the morning.
A weak but determined Audry dressed in her pinks in the morning.
Again, mom helped her with her makeup, to put a little color in
her face. Leaning on me more than a little, we made our way out
to find transportation to the stables.

The first jumping round was in the morning. Audry and Shannon
were their usual perfection. Maybe with not quite as much flash
as usual, but hard to beat. At the end of the round, she was in
first place, with Sam and me in second. The Austrian who had
beaten me in dressage was right behind me and a German rider was
close in fourth.
For the second round, the competitors rode in the reverse order
from the first round finishes. So I rode right before Audry, who
would ride last.
Mom made Audry lie down; that’s what she was doing when I mounted
Sam for my turn at the gates. I’d talked to him and told him we
needed a little concentration from him, since I was worried sick
about Audry. I hadn’t been getting a whole lot of sleep, either.
Sam paid attention and gave it one of his better efforts. We went
over clean and in excellent time, putting us in first place.
Now it was up to Audry.
When I rode out of the arena, to her, I didn’t see her, at first.
Rick was holding Shannon’s head and mom was helping Audry walk to
her horse. She looked so shaky, I didn’t think she’d be able to
get on, much less stay there over the jumps.
“Honey, you sure you want to do this?” I asked. To say I was
worried would be a gross understatement.
“Damn straight!” she said, looking me in the eye. She stiffened
and stood on her own.
Uncle Rick gave her a leg up and told her to show them what the
family can do-especially HIS side of the family.
Grinning weakly at that, Audry rode to the entrance to the arena,
where she was announced. They cantered around the ring, made
their manners to the judges, and started the course. I almost
couldn’t watch. Audry and Shannon were so perfect, so elegant,
and so quick, it was uncanny. But I couldn’t tell what was
keeping her on the horse. She was riding on instinct and her
horse was covering for his rider.
When they finished, they had beaten me out again, by less than a
tenth of a second! My wife, deathly ill, had won two Olympic gold
As soon as she and Shannon were out of the arena, she started to
dismount but instead collapsed to the sawdust. Rick and I were
there instantly. So was the doctor who had been treating her.
She was running a fever and he insisted that she be hospitalized.
“Athletes are crazy anyway. But she has two medals. Now she
needs to take care of her own body.”
Audry didn’t like the idea, wanting to go back to the IV in the
room regime. The doctor said that wasn’t enough. He wanted to
treat the illness and needed better facilities and trained help.
We had two days of rest before the team 3-day. Uncle Rick would
make sure the horses were ready. (I didn’t worry about Sam,
though I rode an hour a day, just to keep us both loose.) Surely,
with rest, antibiotics, and lots of fluids, she’d be OK by then.
After we saw her settled into the hospital and she had fallen into
an exhausted sleep, the doctor told us that she was really in
danger. The particular ‘food poisoning’ they’d seen in the
village was a bacterial infection that was resistant to most
antibiotics. They were trying a couple of new treatments, and
most who had become ill had recovered on their own in a couple of
days. But if it got into the system solidly, like it had with
Audry, it could be very difficult.
“Are you saying that this bug could kill her?” I asked,
“Worst case, yes,” he said. “But no one here has died of it and
there are only two other cases as bad as Audry’s. One of them
seems to be coming around OK. The other is in the hospital, too.
For now, Audry doesn’t seem to be in severe danger, but I want to
be sure she’s mending. OK? Her condition really is serious.”
That was a lot more dire than the worst we’d feared.
“But, doctor… She has to compete in two days!”
“Not if she wants to live, she doesn’t. She should have been here
instead of jumping… OK. She did that. Now it’s my turn.
She’ll be here at least a week, maybe more… If it’s any comfort,
we know where the infection came from-a bug from one of the
African countries, transmitted through raw fish. We’ve cracked
down on the source of the infection at the Olympics. And I’ll
stay here until she’s ready to be released, or at least well
enough to go home. OK?”
It wasn’t OK.
But it was the best we could get.
Later, Audry woke and saw me, holding her hand.
“It’s bad, isn’t it, Rob?”
“It’s not good. You’ll be in here a while. They think they have
it under control, but it’s some bug that resists normal
antibiotics, so they’re trying some new stuff on you. And they
don’t know how effective it is. The good news is that no one in
the village has died from it and most recover on their own. You
and one other athlete have the most severe cases and you both seem
to be hanging in there.”
“You mean, I won’t get sicker? That’s good, since it feels like
I’ve puked my insides out. It’s like the worst hangover you can
imagine, with a fever and aches in the joints.”
“Whatever it takes, let’s get you well.”
“Rob? Did I miss the 3-day?”
“No. But you will. The doctor says flatly that you’ll be here a
week. But you haven’t missed any days.”
“With the fever, I have strange dreams. I’m not really sure of
the time… Rob, let George ride Clay? Ginger isn’t really ready
yet. And Clay needs the experience, too.”
I wept. My marvelous, brave darling-more concerned about her
horse and our friend-even while she was fighting for her life in
the hospital.
“OK, baby. I’ll do it. You won two golds this trip. Now win
this battle, too. Fight this bug, baby. I need you…”
Her fingers gently twined in my hair. “I won’t leave you, Robbie.
I love you so much… Now get out of here, so I can sleep. Go get
drunk, so you can relax.”
I grinned through watery eyes. “I’ll have a couple glasses of
wine, baby. I don’t think I’ll be getting drunk, though. See you
in the morning.”

Mom and I went to see George. It took us a while to find him, but
he was pleased with Audry’s offer. “Rob, I really don’t know what
to say. Audry is more than generous. That’s about the nicest
thing anyone’s done for me-ever!
“But I think I’d better stay with Ginger. Audry’s right. She’s
not really ready for an Olympic 3-day. On the other hand, she’s
come a long way in the couple of months I’ve had her. We’re a
pretty good team. I don’t think I could mesh with Clay in just a
day. Even though he is, right now, a better horse.”
Mom said, “We understand, George. And Ginger’s one of our horses,
too. So we’ll be rooting for you to medal-right behind Rob! You
know that, with Audry out, you can compete in the individual 3-
“Yeah. I was going to do that. But who will take my spot in the
team event?”
Mom grinned. “I will. I was thinking I’d ride Ginger. As it is,
I’ll ride Clay… Who knows, maybe I’m not too old to win an
Olympic medal, myself.”

Two days later, Audry was much better-though still much too weak
to even think about getting on a horse, much less competing on
one. (We still didn’t understand how she’d been able to stay on
over the jumps.) The doctor let her come to watch the dressage
portion of the 3-day, provided she’d return to her hospital bed
and stay there the next day, while we ran the cross-country.
Mom saluted the judges, then moved the horse down the stands a bit
and saluted Audry. Then she helped Clay to the best dressage
performance he’d ever done-showing that, though she may be a
grandmother, she still had a magic rapport with horses.
Audry was thrilled and the press and fans made a big thing of the
family and the sport. After all, how many sports allow men and
women to compete on equal footing? And age doesn’t matter very
much, either. We suffered through a lot of interviews and
submitted to numerous photo sessions, in the name of publicizing
and popularizing the equestrian events. Horses got almost as much
TV time as the tiny pre-teen gymnasts that year.
The two-week Olympic schedule allowed the entire team 3-day to be
run without overlapping the individual event. So Audry was
permitted to be back in the stands to see mom and Clay win the
jumping portion of the team event. Clay looked very strong, as
we’d hoped he would. His performance, with mom guiding him,
helped our team take the silver medal that year. Mom was
delighted-her only Olympic medal was a bronze, from before I was
born. She and dad celebrated all night after that one!
The next day, Audry was released from the hospital, with the
understanding that she would report to the doctor at 9 every
morning for a short check-up-and she wouldn’t get on a horse!
So she was in the stands, to cheer George and me on. We both
saluted her, after the judges, when we rode out for our turns at
dressage. Sam had an incredible day-I wish he’d done that well
earlier, in the individual event. Anyway, we won dressage and
George placed a close fourth. Ginger still had a bit of trouble
with crowd noise, it seemed.
The speed and endurance course was pretty demanding this time.
Sam and I like it that way and we churned out a really fast time.
Mom had done almost as well on Clay, but no one else was close to
our new course record. George was second on that stage, but well
over a minute behind.
Audry was again in the stands, with our parents, to watch us jump.
Sam turned in a solid performance and we had another gold medal.
To our surprise, George coaxed a superb round out of Ginger and
took the silver. There were some really disgusted Austrian,
German and English riders, who weren’t used to Americans doing
that well, other than me and Sam.

After the medal ceremony, I put the medal around Sam’s neck for
the photographers. He’d earned it, even if he did consider it all
a big game.
With Audry up and about, the photographers clamored for picture
after picture of the entire family, and the horses, posed this way
and that. I finally called a halt. Audry was getting tired and
the last thing we wanted was a relapse.
Dad, Uncle Rick and Aunt Elin flew home with the horses. Audry,
mom and I stayed for the closing ceremonies.
Another surreal episode involved a group of gymnasts-all names and
faces well-known from the TV coverage they got-approaching us,
very shyly, in one of the village restaurants. They wanted to say
hello, and was mom really a grandmother? A couple of them had
medals of their own. So they knew what mom’s achievement meant.
Soon we were the center of a dozen or so very small girls, all
clamoring and chattering and asking questions about the equestrian
I finally arranged with the TV people to get us several copies of
a special tape-that reported all of their coverage of the horses,
including a lot of time that was never aired. We showed the girls
our performances and tried-with very limited success-to explain
why one performance was better than another. It didn’t matter
that they didn’t understand about changing leads on turns: I don’t
understand much about judging a performance on the vault, either.
Ginger was still at the Olympic stables. George graciously
allowed us to use him and her as ‘teaching aids’-when we took a
crowd of giggling gymnasts out there. He even took a few of the
more daring in front of him in the saddle, so they could get some
feel for what jumping the hurdles was like. It was a most
enjoyable couple of days.
With one or two tiny gymnasts usually, we hung out in the village,
meeting other athletes and occasionally going to the stadium to
watch some of the track events. The horses were on their way
home, so we didn’t have to concern ourselves with their care and
exercise. (They’d get a couple of months ‘off’, anyway, with some
trail rides, but no strenuous work.)
Audry and I were recognized by most of the other athletes. After
all, between us, we had an impressive collection of Olympic
medals. Of course, the story of Audry’s courage and determination
to win the jumping competition when she was so very ill had gone
To our amusement, mom gathered a lot of attention, too. She’d
competed and won a bronze 30 years ago, and now came back, as a
last-minute substitute, to win a silver. A few even had some
understanding of how difficult a test the 3-day was-on rider as
well as on horse.
One of the proudest memories of the games was when the ‘dream
team’ came, en mass, to invite us to watch their gold medal game.
After the game, they gave us a basketball with all their
autographs and later a poster, also autographed, arrived at the
ranch. The inscription read, “To some REAL Olympic champions.”
(We sent them each posters of the family and horses, with our
autographs, too. It resulted in some really strange, but enduring
and cherished friendships. If mom, Audry or I visit any major
city during the winter months, our attendance at any NBA game
going on is almost mandatory.)

Finally home on the ranch, Audry gathered me in her arms and
started nibbling on my neck. A sure sign that she had designs on
my body.
I responded by a caress over her breasts-still without sag, after
nursing two lusty babies-and dipped lower to her gently rounded
“Not tonight, darling. Just get in. Now!” as she pulled me into
position above her.
The hot, wet, velvet tunnel surrounded me, clasping and clenching
in its always-exciting rhythm.
“Now, darling,” Audry panted. I was nibbling on her neck, as I
slid easily in and out. “Do you think we can breed a couple more
champions before the next Olympics?”
When I just grunted, she said, “I stopped taking my pill when I
was in the hospital. I’m probably fertile tonight.”
THAT did it. My climax came on me so suddenly, as the thought
that I was impregnating her sunk into my consciousness, that I was
taken by surprise. So was Audry, though she caught up and went
right over the top herself.
Two more times that night, I pumped myself dry into my lover’s
greedy womb.
She would get her wish. We had two more children in the next two

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