Angel and Thunder

Bonnie Boerema

© Copyright 2017 by Bonnie Boerema


Photo of Angel.
Photo of Thurder

My husband’s a retired cop, and when we met he was living in Missouri, out in the boonies on his forty two acre place that he’d bought in 1998. He lived one hundred miles from my home in Springfield, Missouri. While he was a cop in Chicago, he took three vacations a year to drive down to his place, and work.

When we met in 2008, in Springfield, he drove me down there to see his place, and what he’d done with it. He’d mowed a large portion of lush green grass in the front and back to make a beautiful lawn, and bush hogged all the fields with his tractor. He also got the driveway paved, and had him a three car garage built.  In it he kept his red Ford Bronco, riding lawn mower, tractor, and his many tools he’d accumulated over the years, hanging on the back wall over his work bench.

When we drove up in the back drive by the garage and back porch, I spotted two horses. Thunder was a male Appaloosa, and a real match for Kenny. He’d tried to ride him twice. Thunder bucked him off both times. He had a personality all his own. He took to me as soon as I walked up to the fence. His two very large, shiny eyes full of mischief, were warming up to me. I’d lived in Springfield most of my life, and wasn’t familiar with horses.

Then he took me on a tour of his house. He’s very good with wood, and can make or build just about anything. When we went into the house, I saw his expertise with wood. He’d rebuilt the old kitchen with tiles, and put in a stainless steel double sink, and up-to-date faucet. He’d put in a black stove top and oven, with a matching black refrigerator. He made at one end of the counter top, a built-in cutting board, with gray tiles completing it. Then we went into the man-cave, den area. I saw a huge bookcase, entertainment center. The bookcase/entertainment center was loaded with his extensive library of books he’d read through the years. He was into western culture, having lived in California, New Mexico, and Colorado. For two years he’d lived on an Apache reservation in New Mexico. He’d bought an antique pot-bellied stove at an antique place, and set in this room. To add light to the room, he’d put in a cathedral ceiling.  A huge picture of John Wayne, oxen yokes, and other assorted antiques were hanging above the entertainment center. He’d once owned a white baby grand piano in Chicago.  But when he moved to Missouri, he brought an older piano. Being a singer-songwriter, he needed his piano.

He’d built a spare bedroom off the man-cave. It had painted walls with lots of wood trim. There were very neat pictures showing the workers who built the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, with their legs hanging from the scaffolding, At those heights, it was very dangerous work to get the exclusive and beautiful hotel built. He;d built a long closet on one end of the spare bedroom.

The master bedroom was at the end of the house. That’s where he had his large television and bed. With help from a neighbor, Danny Barker, they built an adjoining deck.   He ‘d had plush beige carpeting installed throughout the house. The entire house had a certain charm and ambience that reflected his life and travels.

When Kenny gotten Angel, a beautiful quarter horse, she’d been abused by the previous  owners. She was sickly a lot, but would let him ride her. She was a sweet natured, calm and gentle horse. One time, when he hadn’t yet gotten a fence built for them yet, his neighbor, Alex suggested putting tires around their hoofs to keep them from running off. Thunder was so  spooked by the tires, he galloped down the hill, by-passed the gate, flew past the pond, and  came roaring into Alex and Linda’s yard, and scared Linda to death. Thunder had quite a temper, and was very jealous of Angel. Some times his jealously got the best of him. One time when I was giving Angel extra food to fatten her up, it made Thunder so mad that when they got back out in the field he let out a snort, ran up to her and kicked her. Angel died in 2011.  Thunder took it really hard. We could hear him carrying on all the way to the house.

One morning the first year we were married, I put my heavy sweater on, and went for a brisk morning walk past the barn to the tall pines section, in the back of his place. Our neighbor, Alex had a hunter’s hutch up high in the pines, where he could scout for deer.  He claimed to have seen wild bears on his place. Once Kenny saw two wolves run right by him in one of his fields. Alex, being a professional hunter, had studied bears, and all other bird and animal sounds. He sawing me walking by his hutch, and he let out a loud bear roar.

I’m not a country girl, and thought it was a real bear chasing me. Scared to death, I took off running for the house as fast as my legs would take me. Of course, Alex and his buddy this was hilarious. Him being the prankster that he was when I finally reached our back porch,  they were laughing so hard, they were slapping their sides. With his job, he traveled some, mostly in Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and other parts of the mid west. He was a blow-hard, braggadocious, and everybody around the area knew him. He was on one of West Plains radio shows about hunters.

One time he drove over to our place to see Kenny. He said, “Did you hear about me?”  Kenny said, “No, Alex I didn’t hear about you.” Alex said, “I was elected to the hunter’s hall of fame, and named the top hunter in the country.”

In June of 2009, we took a trip to Kenny’s home town, Chicago. We left home at 5:00 a.m. and got into down town Chicago around 11:00 a.m. on Monday. We stayed at a HiltonGarden Inn Hotel down town. After we freshened up, we went for a walk down Michigan  Avenue. We browsed in some of the shops, went through a Nordstrom’s department store, and bought some chocolate in a candy shop.

Tuesday, the next morning, we ate breakfast, boarded the Navy Pier bus, and rode to the  Navy Pier with the giant ferris wheel. He and I rode the ferris wheel, and played around the tourist side for a while. Then we loaded back up on the Navy Pier bus, to head back down town Chicago. Tuesday night we went up to the top of the Hancock building, and had dinner
on the top floor.

Wednesday we checked out more shops and businesses. Walking down Michigan Avenue, we saw the tall Chicago Tribune building office. Thursday was our go home day. We got  breakfast at a McDonald’s. Right beside it, at the time Donald Trump was building a new Trump Tower. After we ate, we walked close to it, watching the workers and all the pigeons under our feet.

Then about noon, we started home. Kenny had asked his friend, Ted to feed the horses, and keep an eye on them while we were gone. When we got home, Angel was sick. She didn’t get better for two or three weeks. We lived four years on Kenny’s place. Eventually Alex pissed him off, lying to him. In September , Labor Day, of 2012 he sold his place.  We started looking for a house.

We found my dream house one mile out of the city limits of West Plains, Missouri. We negotiated with the contractor, to buy the house with two acres of land. He finally came down on his price by $20,000, and we bought it. We moved into it on November 1, 2012. In March, 2014 we flew to Key West, Florida on a belated honeymoon vacation. We loved what we saw of Key West, Florida. We stayed one week at the Casa Marina Hotel in Key West, and had a great time there. We liked riding the Trolley that picked up up at the hotel, took us down town. The trolley driver  narrated Key West historical sites, favorite restaurants and bars, and tidbits of  interesting Key West history.

When we got back home, my husband was busy looking up condos and homes to buy in Southwest Florida, on the coast. He moves fast. In May we drove to Naples and  Marco Island to check them out. When we drove over the S.S. Jolley Bridge that separates Marco Island from the mainland, we thought Marco Island was beautiful, eye candy. We  rented a condo on Bald Eagle the first year. In June of 2015, we bought a condo four miles from Marco Island.

In our new condo, our frequent visitors are two alligators in the lake behind our condo,  who swim by almost daily, very close to the shore. When we first moved here, we heard  about an alligator, who came up on the grass. A man from who lives across the street drove into our driveway, with his dog. When they got out of the car, the dog barked.  The alligator heard the dog bark. He ran away. But he heard the dog, and came after  it. He had the man’s leg in his mouth. Two men from Florida Wildlife came to the man’s  rescue, and beat the alligator to death.

Contact Bonnie

(Unless you type the author's name
in the subject line of the message
we won't know where to send it.)
Bonnie story list and biography
Book Case
Home Page
The Preservation Foundation, Inc., A Nonprofit Book Publisher