Within 10 minutes from the Alamo, the next morning, I was at the gate of Assateague Island National Seashore. I showed the gate attendant my senior pass I purchased at the gate at Glacier National Park.
“Enjoy the Seashore,” she said.
And I did; especially the bay side, abundant with wildlife, and, of course, wild ponies.
It is not just a book for middle school girls; even I read Misty of Chincoteague as an adult. Misty was a wild pony, a pinto, like the one in my photo, and Chincoteague is part of the same barrier island dune separated from Assateague only by the MD/VA political boundary that ponies don’t notice. The book, written in 1947 by Marguerite Henry, tells the story of a local family on Chincoteague who try to raise a filly born to a wild horse.
On the beach on the ocean side, I met Sean and two of his handsome children. He is a high school agriculture teacher from Gettysburg, PA. He was camping with his family (wife and 4 kids) in the dunes just off the beach.
“Yeah, we had a great time, but we are packing up today. There’s sand in every sleeping bag and piece of camping equipment we own. Is is supposed to rain tonight, so it is a good time to give it up,” he said.
Sean was also counselor for the FFA (Future Farmers of America) chapter at his high school. I told him I was in the FFA and grew up on a farm also. We had a lot to talk about while his kids were playing on the beach.
Thinking that high school agriculture education was downsizing across the country, he assured me that it was quite the opposite and shared specific enrollment statistics. He told me about the success of the FFA program and about the national convention to be held in Louisville this year. With much enthusiasm, he explained his plans for taking his high school club to Louisville.
I took his photo with his kids, and he took mine. Another contrast: them in their beach attire, and me in my riding boots and pants. None the less, I completed my quest: coast to coast, with a photo to prove it.