Clifford and the Haunting of Wellington


Clifford and I were asked to play the Headless Horseman for The Haunting of Wellington Park in Grayling. Aunt Vickie dressed me up in a black leather coat and ski mask and gloves. Clifford was waiting very impatiently tied to the trailer, and I came out in my Horseman garb, jumping around, shaking my fists at him and trying to look like the boogeyman. He wasn’t scared. He was, however, interested and thinking something exciting was about to happen.

When we arrived at Wellington he remembered the place from last summer. He was feeling so good he even did his nice collected canter. He used to be able to canter almost in place, springing off his hindquarters like an upper level dressage horse. However, he has not been doing that over the past few years due to his knee problems.

I wasn’t sure how I was going to carry a pumpkin successfully, as I have enough trouble just staying on. Anyway, Clifford as usual served up a couple of his vintage surprises, including rolling a Jack-O-Lantern. He was clearly having the time of his life. The Haunting didn’t begin until nightfall. We had one small section of road to blast along and try to scare people who were walking through the woods.

To my surprise, once it got dark, Clifford refused to run at top speed. There were deep water puddles in the road, and it was overcast and dark, and I couldn’t see. I knew he could. However, for once in his eighteen years, pragmatism took over and he just decided that it was safer to stay at a nice steady trot, despite my hysterical laughter and yelling like a banshee. With various groups of families coming toward us including little kids, I have to admit he was right.

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About Nancy J. Bailey

Artist, author, bad karaoke singer. Woodsy ragamuffin. Mom of a horse named Clifford who plays fetch and paints with watercolors. He visits libraries and schools with me, to promote literacy and making the world a better place. Yes, he is house trained, no, he doesn't live in my house! I have written three books about Clifford. But my newest book, THE NORTH SIDE OF DOWN, is co-written by my awesome sister Amanda, who has Down syndrome. Her unexpected one-liner wisecracks can always make me laugh. If you make me laugh, you've made my day!
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