I forgot my friend Sonia's birthday last week. She turned 78 on December 28th. I have known her since I was 11 years old - over 49 years! Sonia, (or Mrs. Martin as I called her for much of my life) was my semantics teacher when I was in the 7th and 8th grades at Kepner Junior High in Denver. "Semantics" was the name of the English class that prepared us for the Scripps National Spelling Bee.
"Words of the Champions" was our bible as we pored over thousands of words, their derivation, etymology, pronunciation, and usage. But we didn't just study - we had fun too! One of my favorite memories is when Sonia took us to the zoo to spell the animals. Think about it - besides rhinoceros, you have oryx, kudu, meerkat, lemur, etc.
Speaking of animals, Sonia has always been more of an animal-person than a people-person. Her large property north of Denver has been home to horses, dogs, a donkey, a goat, a pig, not to mention owls, hawks, coyotes, prairie dogs (not welcome), and dozens of other species of critters that fly, run, or slither.
Here is a picture of Sonia with her purebred Arabian stallion Lindy. Lindy was quite docile, though, and Sonia taught me to ride using English saddle and bridle.
Sonia is alone now, accompanied only by her Airedale named Owen. Owen is a rascal who is tall enough to steal dinner directly from the counter whenever Sonia turns her back.
Sonia and I correspond almost daily via Skype (IM) and email. She is my one of biggest supporters, and closest friends. She is also my behind-the-scenes proofreader ;-)
Happy Birthday and Happy New Year, Sonia
With Love and Thanks from Paris,