Her name was Patricia, and for reasons of anonymity I will leave out her last name. But boy was she pretty. While my teacher was busy giving us the basic building blocks of our learning careers, I was way too busy staring at her. Some days I would get all fancied up wearing my Mork (from Ork) and Mindy suspenders while sporting around my favorite shirt, a red, white and blue jersey complete with half sleeves with the number 14 on it. It went great with those rainbow suspenders, but hey, anything to catch Patricia’s eye! Those kindergarten years were fantastic, and my first girlfriend made it that much better. 

Years have gone on and on, and I moved after the second grade from the Dauphin County School District where I attended West Hanover Elementary School. But, I will always remember Patricia, those warm fuzzies and all my friends I made during those years. 

Which brings me to my next topic… Assateague Phoenix. To all of our surprises, Assateague Phoenix recently found his first love when he convinced Ronni to be his girlfriend for a couple of weeks. He’s had it rough growing up with the loss of his dad (presumably) when Tunkan Hoskilla was hit by a car and killed. Of course, this happened just before he was born, but just a year or so after he was born his mom, Charmed, had to be euthanized after getting stuck in marsh/mud. His grandmother, Ninka, took him in and raised him, and she was a very protective grandmother while he was young. 

So now, four years later, Assateague Phoenix had his first girlfriend. It was cute, but also quite surprising and comical. Assateague Phoenix has been hanging around another bachelor, Sarah’s Sweet Tea, pretty much all summer. It seemed every time I would see them, Sweet Tea would usually be picking a fight with other mature stallions, such as Joy, Yankee, Charcoal, Chip, and Bayberry. Meanwhile, Assateague Phoenix would be hanging out watching the fights portraying himself to be the non violent-type and having no interest in mares whatsoever. 

Well, something happened along the way and a couple of weeks ago he and Ronni became a couple. Meanwhile, Sweet Tea was still fighting and looking for love. As a matter of fact I followed Sweet Tea who was hot on the heels of Yankee two weeks ago as they marched down Bayberry early one morning. I followed both of them from north of the federal pay booths through the parking lot for North Beach then back out onto Bayberry and all the way to the intersection of Old Ferry Landing where the both of them encountered Joy. Small skirmishes ensued during the entire trek, and I think it was the first time I have seen Yankee so far south. Oh, the irony. 

Anyway, I started out on a hike a couple of weeks ago where I wanted to do some exploring on the bay side below South Beach. I started out on a trail that I had marked on my GPS with the intention of once getting to the marsh to turn south and head along the water’s edge. Well, when I got out into the marsh I could see two horses way to my north. I looked through my camera’s viewfinder and found the couple to be Assateague Phoenix and Ronni. Getting to them from where I was would be a hike, but I decided to see if I could trace the marsh edge to them without running into any large water crossings. Fortunately, I didn’t run into any and was able to make my way over to them to watch their antics for a bit as the sun was way low in the beautiful sky and getting ready to set. 

It was interesting watching their interactions. Assateague Phoenix, who is now four, seemed to know what to do. He kept a close eye on her, gave a loving whinny and neigh when needed, and made his way to her when it was time to sleep. He kept her on a narrow peninsula that jutted out from the main portion of the island. Assateague Phoenix not only was born in this general area, he also could see from this vantage point any other stallion approaching by a single entry point. Maybe the youngster wasn’t so immature, after all. 

Ronni, on the other hand, is now 27 years of age. She wasn’t there for his hormones, and she let him know that with a kick or two every now and then when he tried to be Mr. Manly Man. She did seem to like his company, though. 

Anyway, I spent about an hour or so with them until the sun had set and darkness started to set in. It was nice watching the two interact with each other. Assateague Phoenix is growing up and the older stallions that have been a staple on the island for the last 20 years or so are about to have a whole lot of youngsters challenging them. Nature is truly amazing. 

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