The Warrior

close up photography of brown horse

( Intermediate Level )

The natives call him The Warrior but the local ranchers call him a menace. This proud stallion has run free since he was a colt by his mother’s side.

His father, the strong alpha of his herd, taught him well .Whatever it took, his father protected his family. Fighting other stallions or helping elude the lassos of ranchers.

It was destined from birth that Warrior would have to leave his father’s herd and start his own which he has successfully done. He has collected seventeen mares and sired many young.

He is a bit stealthier than his father was. His father kept his herd far from any human contact. This was a beast he did not want to battle. For Warrior, humans didn’t matter.

Under the cloak of darkness, he would sneak in, close enough to the rancher’s pastures, beckoning their prize mares to follow him, adding to his already large family.

Ranchers would look for days for their mares but never found them. Warrior had taken them far away from the confines they once knew.

He knew he and his family were safe past the ridge to the north. This was his territory. His home. The land where he could run free.

Once a year the reach, even in this area, was not safe. The reach of man encroached on their safety to the north. Round-ups, as they called them, helped reduce the size of the wild horse herds, which decimated the lands due to overgrazing.

This is an ongoing battle between cattlemen and these majestic horses. Cattlemen need these lands to graze their cattle. With the wild herds growing, year by year, the lands are left barren.

This year’s round – up was no different than each year before. Ranchers would gather and plan what areas to go to and how many were to be captured.

This was the first year the ranchers came to his lair. Warrior knew he needed to keep his family safe when the ranchers came. He knew he could not win the battle against them. So when they came, he ran away with great speed, hoping his family followed.

Unfortunately, some of his family were captured or died trying to escape. They tried desperately to keep up with him but failed maybe out of fear. The ranchers used the sounds of gunshots to separate certain horses from the main group leaving them vulnerable to their lassos.

Once Warrior could get his group to safety he would walk around the group, snorting, as if he was seeing who was missing. He listened to the sound of their whinnies.

One was not heard. He bellowed again and still nothing. He was listening for the whinny of his mare. The alpha mare.

He pawed the ground out of frustration. Where was she? He looked out into the distance. He could see the dust being kicked up from the ranchers herding the captured horses into makeshift corrals in the distance.

He circled his group once again and started to move them even deeper to the north. He didn’t want to lose any more of his family to humans.

When the sun started to set and his herd was settled he knew he had to go back. Go back to see if he could find those who were not with his group.

That evening after the sun had set he made his rounds with his herd. Nuzzling some and nipping gently at his young. It was his way of reassuring them that everything would be alright.

He quietly made his way down the mountainside to where he knew the drama had unfolded earlier. He knew this land well so traveling in the dark was not an issue.

He saw the light from a campfire as he approached. He listened carefully, staying out of view. He heard the voices of his enemy. Man.

He quietly moved around to find the corrals, all the time staying far enough away so as to not be seen by the ranchers but close enough so his family could smell him. They knew somehow to stay silent so as to not alert the men of Warrior’s presence.

Warrior waited until the campfire nearly burned out. Only the glow of hot embers remained. This meant the ranchers would settle down for the night. Now was his chance to get his family and any extras that have been captured.

He slowly approached the circular corral. He let out a deep low throaty sound as if to say hello. Warrior walked around the pen making this sound stopping periodically to hear a response from his mare.

On his last pass, he heard her. He heard her respond back and this excited him. She was there in the center surrounded by others.

She made her way to the edge and they greeted each other through the wooden slats. Each talking low. You could see the sense of relief felt by Warrior. She was there. Now he had to get her out and back with him and the herd.

He looked over to where the ranchers had fallen asleep and his eyes gazed there for moments. He was looking for movement which he did not see. It was now or never.

He quickly turned and with all his might, he began to kick and kick the panels of the corral. The noises of the horses became louder and he worked feverishly to break the side down. This noise would surely wake up the men.

Hey! What’s going on over there?” yelled one of the men, who woke to the noise. One last kick and the panel fell. Warrior jumped forward and let out a loud commanding neigh that echoed in the valley. This was the signal to the once captured to follow him.

All took off, into the darkness, leaving the ranchers helpless. All they heard were the sounds of their hooves stampeding off into the night.

As soon as the group crested the first hill he stopped and looked back to make sure they were out of danger. No one had followed. Now he could slow the group down until they reached the others.

Another hour passed and he reached his destination. His family heard and smelled him coming so they eagerly awaited his arrival.

Many greeted each other as if they were happy to see them. The newcomers were quickly greeted and accepted into the herd.

Warrior now could relax and look for his alpha. She was found by a group of young. Many of these were her young. He nuzzled her once again and talked to her with his deep neighs.

For the next few days, They all grazed as The Warrior, aptly named by many, stood guard over them. He would be taking them higher ground far far away from any humans. He would do as his father did. Next time he may not be as lucky.

Legend has it that Warrior lived until his end, in the mountains to the north, eluding man and siring many sons. His sons run free, carrying on his legacy.

Written by: Angel

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Meta Business Suite: Angel’s Thoughts to Pen

Thoughts from Angel:

I, personally, would like to see the wild horses continue to run free. I have read reports that many captured, with the guise of adoption, do not get adopted and end up as horse meat sent overseas. I hope this is not true.

If you appreciate what I do and would like to support me:

Vocabulary:

menace – noun: thing that is likely to cause harm; a threat or danger

alpha – noun: someone or something strong and powerful

elude – verb: evade or escape from a danger, enemy, or pursuer

lassos -noun: a rope or long thong of leather with a noose used especially for catching horses and cattle 

destined – adjective: fate

sired – verb: of a male animal, especially a stallion) cause the birth of

stealthier – adjective: a cautious manner, so as not to be seen or heard

herd – noun: a large group of animals

the cloak of darkness – metaphor: under the darkness of night

beckoning – verb: encourage or invite

confines – verb: the borders or boundaries of a place, especially with regard to their restricting freedom of movement

decimated – verb: kill, destroy, or remove a large percentage, in this case the vegetation

ongoing – adjective: continuous

barren– adjective: too poor to produce much or any vegetation

lair – noun: a place where a wild animal lives

vulnerable – adjective: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm

frustration – noun: being upset or annoyed

makeshift – adjective: serving as a temporary

unfolded -verb: reveal or disclose

circular – adjective: having the shape of a circle

throaty – adjective: deep and husky

feverishly – adverb: excited or energetic

neigh – noun: high-pitched sound of a horse

stampeding – verb: movement in a rush, wildly and in a sudden mass panic

aptly – adverb: appropriate or suitable in the circumstances

Question ( s ):

What do you know regarding the wild horses that run free in the United States of America?

Do you think animals create a long lasting bond with their natural families as they do with their human families?

Grafted

green tree photo

( Intermediate Level )

Can you imagine searching your family tree to discover your branch was broken? Does the trail just stop? You are not connected to anyone? Or are you?

Recently, Ryan’s history teacher assigned the students to illustrate their family tree. “The world is a big soup pot. Let’s see how many families originated in another country, and when or if they emigrated here.”

Try to go back as far as you can. Tell us the colors of eyes and hair in your family. Who looks like who. It will be fun to hear your stories!”

Ryan was very excited. He knew his family tree would be immense since he had such a large family. He wanted to use the largest paper he could find to make his tree.

To impress his teacher, he drew a large tree with roots running deep into the earth, signifying the strength of his family.

Both his parents had four siblings each, who married and had children, and as far as he could count, providing he hadn’t forgotten anyone, he had twenty-seven cousins.

He had a few days to complete this assignment so he took his time. He did as much as he could with the information he knew then asked his mom for help with the rest.

Ryan found his mom cooking dinner for the family. His sister was doing her homework at the table and his brother had finished his. He was in the living room watching television.

Mom, I will need your help filling in areas on our family tree. When you have time, can you help?”

Mary was a bit hesitant in answering. She looked at him then quickly looked away, pretending she had to keep her eyes on what she was doing.

“Yes, of course. Tonight I still have a few things still to do so how about tomorrow, after dinner? After your dad comes home. What I cannot remember he may remember.”

“Sure. It is not due until Friday so I have another two days. Thanks.” He turned and headed into the living room to watch TV with his brother.

Mary was deep in her thoughts that she hadn’t heard Bob come home. She knew this day would come eventually. She and her husband never told Ryan he was adopted.

They felt at the time it would be easier for him to understand what adoption meant when he was older.

When Mary and Bob married and wanted to start a family they had difficulties. The doctors told them that Mary had only one ovary producing eggs so the likelihood of getting pregnant decreased dramatically.

After four years of trying and wanting a family, they adopted Ryan. He brought so much joy to their life. To Mary’s surprise, she did get pregnant two years after the adoption of Ryan and then again after one year.

All the children were treated the same. It never made a difference to either of them that one had been adopted. Ryan was theirs just as much as their biological children.

After the children went to bed, Mary spoke to Bob about the class project. He sat there listening to Mary’s concerns. “Maybe we should have told him earlier,” she told Bob.

“Mary, Ryan is a smart boy. He knows we love him and so does his brother and sister. I think he will be fine. We never showed any favoritism between them. So tomorrow after dinner, we will sit down with him and help him with his class project and explain why we cannot fill in some areas of his tree.”

That night Mary barely slept. She was worried that her son would be crushed. Finding out his family is not really his family. Would he hate her for not telling him sooner?

The children headed to school on the bus. Bob was about to leave and he turned to Mary, “Honey, it will be ok. Promise. I know you didn’t get much sleep last night so try to rest today. I will be home tonight as quickly as I can and we will sit down together to speak with Ryan.”

The day passed quickly and the children were home. “We are going to have an early dinner tonight. Your dad and I will help Ryan with his project. Don’t eat too many snacks and spoil your dinner.”

Dinner was uneventful as the children had other ideas on their minds. Ryan’s mind was on finishing his class project whereas his siblings had finished their homework and could watch television.

Mom cleared the table and put away the leftovers while Ryan went to his room to gather his project. Mary took a deep breath and looked at her husband.

Ryan came running into the kitchen and set his colored pencils and his neatly rolled-up project. He unrolled his masterpiece and held the four ends down with clean coffee mugs.

“Here it is!” showing his work to his parents. ” He looked up at his dad and said, “Dad who in our family has red hair and hazel eyes like me? I remember many names and filled in many areas but no one has my colored hair. I don’t think anyone on Mom’s side has red hair. “

Bob looked up at Mary and saw she was upset so he began,” Well Ryan, you are the only one in our family who has red hair and those beautiful hazel eyes. you are unique in this respect.” He smiled at Ryan as he spoke.

Bob sat down next to Ryan knowing his son was excited to get his project done before its due date tomorrow. He put his arm around Ryan as he began to talk.

“Ryan, Mommy, and I wanted to have children and start our family. For some reason we had trouble. So, we decided after a few years to go to a special place where we found you.”

Ryan was confused at this point. He looked at his mom. “A special place? What does this mean? I do not understand.”

Mary, who had stood quietly while her husband tried to explain now spoke up,” Your dad and I love you very much. You are our son from the first moment we held you. You didn’t come from my belly like your brother or sister but you are our son.”

Ryan remembered a movie he watched and said, “Am I adopted?” Mary looked at her son then to Bob, “Yes.” Those words sent a shudder through Mary. She never thought of Ryan as that. He was her son.

Their son quietly sat there absorbing everything that was said. He looked up and smiled. “I remember my science teacher explaining this before. Grafting he called it. This helps the new tree grow faster and develop more quickly.”

“Many farmers use this trick to have the best quality trees on their farms. I guess this is how I became part of your family. I was grafted onto your family tree.”

Mary sat down next to her son and slid her arm around his shoulders. “Yes, I believe you made our family better Ryan.”

Bob glanced at his wife as he sat down at the table across from the two. Mary looked up and he mouthed the words, “I told you.”

As Ryan looked at his project on the table he wanted to show his branch of the tree as being something special and unique.

He began to split one branch and show how he became part of the family. He knew once he gave his presentation to the class he would have to explain what adoption is.

With the help of his parents, his masterpiece was complete. Including his grafted limb. He took the news of himself being adopted well.

Ryan couldn’t wait to share this newly found information with his classmates. To know how special he was and how grateful he is to be part of this family.

Written by: Angel

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Vocabulary:

illustrate – verb: explain or make (something) clear by using examples, charts, or pictures

originated – verb:  specified beginning

emigrated – verb: leave one’s own country in order to settle permanently in another

immense – adjective: extremely large

signifying – verb: indicating

assignment – noun: a task or piece of work assigned to someone

hesitant – adjective: tentative, unsure, or slow in acting or speaking

pretending – verb: speak and act so as to make it appear that something is true when in fact it is not

deep in her thoughts – adjective: preoccupied by thoughts, thinking very hard

adopted – verb: legally take (another’s child) and bring it up as one’s own

likelihood – noun:  probability

dramatically – adverb: in a way that relates to drama 

biological – adjective: genetically related; related by blood

favoritism – noun: unfair preferential treatment

spoil your dinner – idiom: eating snacks or food before an actual meal

uneventful – adjective: not interesting or exciting

leftovers – noun: something, especially food, remaining after the rest has been used or consumed

unique – adjective: one of a kind

confused – adjective: unable to think clearly or understand

shudder– verb: tremble

absorbing – adjective: intensely interesting; engrossing

grafting – verb: insert (a shoot or twig) as a graft

glanced – verb: take a brief or hurried look

mouthed – verb: saying something in a whisper or no voice

presentation – noun: a speech or talk in which a piece of work is shown and explained to an audience

masterpiece – noun: exceptional art or work

Question ( s ):

Do you know anyone who is adopted?

If so, did they know at an early age?

Do you think it was a good idea to keep the information of adoption from Ryan for so long? Or should his parents have told him?

Christmas In New York

photo of christmas tree during night

( Intermediate Level )

George and Martha’s sons had grown and moved away. So, for the past 6 years, they lived in a simple apartment in upstate New York.

Their first son, Barry moved to Connecticut as their other son, Greg, had moved abroad to Sydney, Australia. Each had made promises to come home at least once a year but their schedules kept them too busy to follow through with these promises.

Christmas, in the Romano home, was usually quiet. They would exchange one simple present with each other and have a small meal. Both in their sixties, they didn’t need anything.

Mattie, as her husband called her, always wished her boys would make it home for the holidays. She stopped asking about two years ago. She felt as if she was a bother to them.

George and Martha sat by the big window in the living room watching the snowfall. Christmas carolers, making their rounds on Christmas eve, could be heard in the distance. They knew they would, eventually, see them as they made their way through the neighborhood.

The winters were usually harsh in Buffalo so neither George nor Martha never ventured outside once the snow began to fall.

The telephone rang and George got up to answer it. The night air bothered Mattie. Her arthritis gave her a bit of trouble, making it difficult to move, when the temperature dropped.

Martha could hear George on the phone. “Yes. I see. Alright, that would be terrific.” He hung up the phone and headed back into the living room. “Who was that, Dear?”

“It was the city calling to tell us they would have someone shovel our sidewalk after it stops snowing.”

Martha thought for a minute, “But tomorrow is Christmas and we will not be going out. The workers should be home with their families. You should have told them they could wait a day.”

George looked at Martha, “It will be ok. They will be making much more money on the holidays.” She frowned at him for his remark.

Just as George sat down, the carolers stopped in front of their home and began to sing. “We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas. We wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!”

Martha looked over and smiled at George. She looked back at the carolers and smiled, holding her teacup up in the air. It was the perfect end to a Christmas Eve.

George told a white lie to his wife. The phone call he received was from his eldest son, Barry. He had made plans with his brother to surprise Mom for Christmas. They both planned on being home on Christmas Eve but the airport in New York had a snow advisory so each of their flights was canceled.

The soonest the boys would be in was at six in the morning. They would catch a taxi cab and be home by half-past six. Barry had arranged for Christmas dinner to be delivered around two in the afternoon. Mom would not have to worry about not having enough food.

Usually, George was up at that time in the morning so he would have coffee brewing before they arrived. He slipped into bed next to Martha who had already fallen asleep. He turned off the bedside lamp and drifted off to sleep.

Like clockwork, George was up and started the coffee at five. He sat at the kitchen table looking out the window. The snow had stopped and the birds sat on the trees singing as they greeted Christmas day.

Martha never liked getting out of bed before seven in the morning so if everything went according to plans, her sons would be waiting for her in the kitchen as she would come in to get her first cup of coffee of the morning.

The sons arrived on schedule. They quietly walked in as they did not want to wake their mother. Hugs were exchanged and coffee poured. They sat at the table catching up on their lives.

It was getting close to seven and their mom would be getting up and surely be surprised. The anticipation was in the air. Tick. Tick. Tick.

Merry Christmas George,” Martha as she headed out of the bedroom. “I slept so well last night. Did you leave me any coffee?” As she walked into the kitchen she stopped dead in her tracks when she saw her two sons standing there with enormous smiles on their faces.

Martha could not believe her eyes! Her boys were finally home, together, for Christmas! She held out her arms to give them both a huge bear hug. It was the best Christmas present ever.

“Now Mom, everything has been taken care of. Our meal will be here at two. Until then let’s just sit and enjoy the morning.” Barry made sure the day would be perfect.

Greg had sorted through old photos of all of them and had a special photo album made. Photos of them at different stages of their lives. They looked through this album over coffee and chuckled at some. Silly haircuts, first fish caught, birthday parties and not to forget Christmas photos.

On the front cover was a place for a photo with the label Christmas 2021 on it. “Mom, This is for the photo I will take of us today. You can remember this Romano Family Christmas where all of us were together again.”

Everyone gathered around the Christmas tree in the living room, the camera timer was set and this year’s Christmas memory was captured in a photo.

Dinner was a success. There was turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, gravy, broccoli, and apple pie. The boys had a few weeks off from school so they plan to be home until after the New Year.

Both George and Martha were very happy to spend the holidays, once again, with their sons. She couldn’t have asked for a better gift.

She sat drinking her afternoon tea and looked around the room watching her boys laughing and talking with their dad. She thought, “Old memories are cherished but new ones were made this Christmas for the Romano family.”

Written by: Angel

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!

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Vocabulary:

promises – verb: guarantee

exchange – noun: giving and receiving

bother – noun: effort, worry, or difficulty

carolers – noun: person or people who sing

harsh – adjective: cruel, difficult or severe

ventured – verb: journey

sidewalk – noun: paved path for people

frowned – verb: an expression of disapproval

white lie – noun: harmless lie

advisory – noun: official announcement

arranged – verb: organize or make plans

brewing – verb: making

bedside – noun: space next to a bed

clockwork – noun: routine

poured – verb: flow from one container to the next

stopped dead in (her) tracks – idiom: to stop suddenly

enormous-adjective: big

album -noun: a book for pictures or photos

captured – verb: show or record

cherished – verb: treasure or adore

Question ( s ):

Do you have any special holiday memories?

Thanksgiving Memories

( Intermediate level )

At the Smith family home in Boston, Thanksgiving time was always a joyous time of the year for our family. A time that we all looked forward to.

For the adults, it meant it was the time of the year where you could have a few days off from work and spend time with the family.

As for the children, it meant not having school for four to five days and eating so much food to where you thought your belly would explode.

Once we moved away, Mom made us promise that we would have Thanksgiving and Christmas at our parent’s house. Like many Americans, we move out of our city or state for better opportunities, so we’ve kept our promise to our parents every year.

Boston held so many memories with each of us. Our first day at school. Our first date. Our first car. With two active boys, there was always some type of activity every day.

The winters were cold but we looked forward to snow. Since the roads were unsafe after a fresh snowfall school would be canceled. The school buses were unable to run their routes. This always meant a day of making snowmen and having a snowball fight.

This Thanksgiving was not going to be the same for any of us. Instead of going home to celebrate, we were heading home to help our Mom and see our Dad, who was admitted to the hospital after his third heart attack.

Dad is a strong man but also stubborn. The doctors had told him over the past few years that he must slow down and take care of himself.

After his first episode, the doctors told him his heart was weakened and he must change his behavior. He took care of himself for a short time then he slowly slipped into his old habits.

We had arrived home within one day of each other. Each trying to lend a helping hand. Mom was keeping her emotions bottled up. She knew she had many things to prepare for tomorrow’s feast and still had enough time to go visit dad in the hospital before visiting hours ended.

After many hours of baking and preparing, Mom headed to the hospital while the rest of us stayed behind finishing what we could. We told stories of Thanksgiving’s past to help the time go by.

Each remembers their version of the story. Laughing at how each story varied. Like the time someone forgot to turn on the oven and we had a turkey-less Thanksgiving.

The evening grew late and Mom had returned from the hospital in a wonderful mood. The doctor said Dad would be released early tomorrow morning around seven so he, too, would be able to enjoy Thanksgiving with the family.

The news couldn’t have made the Smith boys happier. This would be the best Thanksgiving ever. Everyone headed to bed after hearing the good news. There were lots of things to get ready in the morning.

Morning came and to everyone’s surprise, Mom had planned a huge breakfast. Pancakes with maple syrup, sausage, and scrambled eggs. Freshly squeezed orange juice sat in a glass pitcher.

Mom woke at four in the morning feeling very anxious. She wanted this day to be perfect. Not only did she have her children home but her husband was coming home from the hospital.

Breakfast was full of laughter. Everyone is enjoying the moment of being together. People’s lives become busy and sometimes forget how important family is.

Mom left for the hospital as the siblings cleaned up the kitchen. Everyone could enjoy a quiet lazy morning before they had to start the final stage of their Thanksgiving day meal, the cooking of the turkey and all the fixings.

Dad arrived home and immediately was showered with hugs and kisses. He didn’t really care for all the fuss they were making. He was happy to see them all under one roof again.

The rest of the morning was peaceful. Dad sat in his favorite chair just watching everyone prepare the day’s feast. He smiled and chuckled to himself when his wife scolded their son for tasting the food before they sat down at the table.

It was time for everyone to sit down and eat the great meal that had been prepared. One long-standing tradition, before eating, was for everyone to say what they were thankful for.

One by one everyone spoke. Some were silly on what they were thankful for and others were more serious. Then it was Dad’s turn to speak and all eyes were on him.

“I am the luckiest man on this earth. I have two wonderful children and a loving wife. And for some reason, I survived three heart attacks. Maybe my time here, on earth, is not done. I guess it is time for me to pay attention to my doctor. So, today, I am so thankful I was given another chance to sit down with my family and enjoy their company and this terrific meal. Now dig in!”

At that moment everyone cheered and started passing food around the table. The laughter filled the room and the boys told more embarrassing stories of their youth. Dad looked out at his family, from the head of the table, and whispered, “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Written by :Angel

If you appreciate what I do:

https://ko-fi.com/morningangel84721345

Follow me on:

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Twitter: AngelOfTheMorn5

Vocabulary:

joyous – adjective: full of happiness

opportunities – noun: a chance

memories – noun: remember

routes – noun: a way to a destination

stubborn – adjective: difficult or determined

weakened -verb: make or become weak

feast – noun: a large meal usually for a celebration

version – noun: story or account of activity from a particular person’s point of view

varied – adjective: different types, showing variation

pitcher – noun: a large container used for holding and pouring liquids

anxious – adjective: worry, unease, or nervousness

siblings – noun: a brother(s) or sister(s)

showered – verb: showing love and affection

all the fuss – noun: the condition of being excited, annoyed, or not satisfied about something

under one roof – idiom: all in one location

peaceful – adjective: free from any annoyance or disturbance

thankful – adjective: pleased

Question ( s ):

If your country doesn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, what special holiday do you celebrate where all the family gather and share a meal? Can you tell us about it.

Do you have any special Thanksgiving memories?