Wherein I put M. Proust to shame

“The Orange County Great Park Corporation was established by the Irvine City Council on June 24, 2003. The Corporation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization charged with the design, construction and maintenance of the Orange County Great Park, a 1,347 acre park on the site of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in Irvine, California.

“Mission Statement – The mission of the Orange County Great Park Corporation is to develop and operate, preserve and protect the Orange County Great Park for the benefit and enjoyment of all its visitors, those of today and those in the future.”
Orange County Great Park (via Streetcar named Irvine, Bottleneck blog, July 11, 2007)

When I was a girl in Orange County, shortly after the last Ice Age, I stabled my pony, Rocky, the meanest pony ever born, at a place called Rancho Allegre behind the incredibly huge El Toro Marine base. I don’t remember seeing any Marines, just lots of beautiful open landscape, but I do remember riding out and finding their fence, which went on as far as the eye can see. Rancho Allegre and the orange groves around it have been gone for a long time, so I’ve been gone from OC for nearly 30 years myself. In fact, El Toro morphed into something called Laguna Woods when I wasn’t looking. I’m glad part of that open space that was the El Toro Marine base is being preserved. Bravo to whoever cut the deal for the Great Park.

About Rocky: he was mean and smart enough to estimate which low tree limbs to run under so I could either a) be concussed or b) fall off. Also, he knew the value of a good barbed wire fence and how to run sideways into it so I would either a) need stitches or b) fall off. And those were his good days. He did have a happy ending, you see, Rocky loved other horses, he adored them, so we gave him to my father’s quarter horse racing friend who made Rocky the pony that led his racehorses to the post. We were told Rocky was very happy and I was happy for him because even I can’t hold a grudge against a pony. We warned his new owner that Rocky had a terrible phobia of plastic grocery bags and such bags were kept away from him. But one day a bag blew into his stall, and my dad’s pal told him he’d never seen a horse or pony climb over a six-foot paddock wall before. I’m sure old Rocky’s gone to his reward by now; I won’t speculate on what that reward might be.

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