Archive for December, 2009

Looking Back

amywink December 31st, 2009

My favorite holiday of the year is New Year’s, and the week leading up the the new. I try to take a positive look on what I accomplished during the last year and think about what I hope to move toward accomplishing in the next year. I don’t make resolutions, but rather think about goals and aspirations, writing down things I’d like to consider for the new year. This year, I am also try to take a long look back, especially since this past year was a “5 year” mark on several things I’d aspired to do.

The course to accomplishing many of those goals was a complete surprise. I never imagined I’d be able to spend my summer working at Haven Hill, learning as much as I could about driving and horses, and in tandem, learning as much about myself in the process. But that experience (and all the amazing people I’ve met through this new hobby) is what made driving Will at Agarita on our 5th anniversary entirely possible. And with that experience, I now have what I hope to be the makings of an interesting book–something that was not on the horizon 5 years ago!–which I plan to begin writing in 2010.

The book that was on the horizon then is now in print as Tandem Lives: The Frontier Texas Diaries of Henrietta Baker Embree and Tennessee Keys Embree, 1856-1884.. The publication in April 2009 was a long awaited event and I am looking forward to the presentation and book signing in March 2010. That project was also full of Providential surprises, including the eventual discovery of the original diaries. . . . or, I should say, the eventual discovery of *me* by the owner of the original diaries!

These accomplishments represent a interesting convergence: my own recovery of a long-desired and long-denied relationship with horses (a self denied) along with the completion of a writing project which I think of as both the end of the pursuit of academic writing– writing about self (auto), life (bio), writing (graphy)– and the beginning of writing for my own life. The resolution of each story line required a combination of sheer will and individual effort as well as many fortuitous events and unimagined blessings.

It is an interesting pairing, one which I hope will move me forward into the New Year and many more wonderful experiences.

Legacies: Update

amywink December 22nd, 2009

Here we go. We don’t know who the paint is, but that is my Dad:


And the more famous Bob and Shorty make appearances with my Dad and uncle:


Soggy Pastures

amywink December 20th, 2009

The ground is so saturated from the heavy rains this fall that after even just a light rain, the puddles just grow. We have standing water everywhere.


Windy offers her opinion of the pasture conditions, and I have to agree with her. . .



amywink December 20th, 2009

After looking at the photos I posted previously, I have to retract the descriptions in the earlier post. We think that the photo I *thought* was my grandmother is actually a family friend. And we think that the photos I thought were of my Dad are actually of his cousin Freddie. But my Dad does remember those horses, Shorty and Bob, and they did belong to my great-grandfather, Edwin Henry Wink.

But here’s a definite photo of my grandmother on horseback:


And for sheer entertainment, this is a shot of my grandfather yucking it up with a friend:



amywink December 15th, 2009

“There are things we inherit that remind us of the giver’s presence in our consciousness, tangible legacies that finance an education, decorate a wall, or furnish a room—the desk to which we gesture and say, “This belonged to . . . ” and remember our own belonging. Then there are those legacies which are passed on intangibly, without physical artifact to prove the connection. Some of these legacies arrive quickly; when my grandmother died, I suddenly inherited her desire for baskets just as I did the walnut Governor Winthrop desk she had, in turn, inherited from my great-great aunt. Other legacies wait, maturing like some forgotten bond to spring with unexpected fortune at the time they are most needed. It was in this way I discovered my grandfather had bestowed me with gardening, an uncontrollable urge for flowers that necessitated leaving desk and computer for dirt, shovels, seed, and flowers.” Amy L. Wink, “The Loveliness She Made” 2005 (available here, just scroll down to the 2005 papers)

While I wrote this about gardening, I have found that those “other legacies” are continuing to mature and present themselves in new ways. Another legacy surfaced when a friend and I worked on a presentation about collecting family history in photographs, called City Ancestor/Country Ancestor. Her heritage from New York and Chicago counterbalanced mine from rural Texas. Her photos showed stylish young women on city streets and posed in portrait studios, mine showed women with the flocks of hens, men with horses, cattle and dogs. My portion of the presentation included a poem entitled “A Desire for Chickens” inspired by photographs I kept finding of my ancestors with their flocks of chickens and a poem entitled “Extended Family” about the number of animals connected to my family history.

Now, of course, what’s rising out of the photographic record of my family history is the hereditary relationship with horses. Though it may have taken a while, I could not escape what looks to be a genetic predisposition for horses.

Here is a photo of my grandmother, sometime in the 1930’s, on a hunting trip with my grandfather, probably near Devil’s River at Del Rio, Texas.


Here is my grandfather, probably about the same time.


My father remembers these two horses, Shorty and Bob, at his Grandfather Wink’s place in Wall, Texas, in the early 40’s.

Dad and Bob:


Dad and Shorty:

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