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By Alfredo A. Hernandez, a.k.a.  “Raven”
For Lauren 


It was going to be another brutally hot day, but that didn’t matter.  It could have been 120 degrees and that still wouldn’t matter to Lauren and her Cowboy, or to Cowboy and his Lauren.  The two complemented each other like no other.  Nothing could tear them apart, nothing could come between them.  Just the two of them and the open trails of Griffith Park. 

They had been on many adventures together in recent times, but none gave them more pleasure than going up to Amir’s Garden.  They had seen many spectacular sunrises behind the city skyscrapers and many colorful sunsets behind the mountains there.  Always there were new faces, new friends, and old friends to exchange warm, pleasant hellos.  And everywhere they went, there was no man, woman or child that could deny them the “ooohs” and “ahhhs” that the pair deserved.  

What was it that people found so attractive, so enticing about them?  Was it her radiant smile that glowed every time she walked through a shadow in the wilderness?  Was it her chin-length wavy hair that shone in the hot afternoon sun?  Or maybe it was her big brown eyes that could pierce through titanium yet still be warm and affectionate?  Was it his powerful body, his elegance?  How perfectly groomed he always was, perhaps?  Most people cannot tell you why they felt the way they did, they just did.  Lauren would simply smile, and continue with her day.  Her Cowboy would just enjoy his pleasant surroundings and bask in all the attention he received, never showing much emotion, always modest. 

Lauren never felt happier than the times she spent with him.  All the outside, worldly distractions seemed to disappear, and when life just got too tough and troubled her, nobody listened better than he did.  Never trying to solve her problems or dilemmas, he simply provided an ear and great company.  When she couldn’t voice her feelings, she would sing a song and he would listen.  Always attentive, never saying anything to interrupt. 

They had a wonderful relationship. She always made sure he looked his absolute best.  Always made sure he ate well and was warm when it got cold, and stayed cool and hydrated in the grueling hot summer months.  He would never mistreat her or yell at her, and would gladly and proudly take her anywhere she wanted to go. 

When they happened to work together, which was quite often, that was the most joyous time of the day.  They could be in each other’s wonderful company and get paid for it.  What better?  They worked together quite often because everybody at work knew how well they complemented each other, and Lauren wouldn’t have it any other way.  

Her Cowboy wasn’t her lover or mate.  He wasn’t simply a friend or co-worker.  He wasn’t a shoulder to cry on.  He was so much more, more than most people could ever understand.  Their love was a flower, and their friendship was a sheltering tree.  

Their days together became shorter as that summer came to an end.  Lauren would soon go off to college and her Cowboy would have to stay behind.  They would have to live out their days without each other.  Later she would remember all the great times they spent together, and tears of joy would trickle down her cheeks.  During the few weeks before her scheduled departure, she would say to him every day, “Distance has no meaning. The heart always finds its way home,” and would leave, only to come back the next day.  But one day she would not return.

After resting and drinking water following the hour and a half trip up to Amir’s Garden, it was time to go home.  Lauren walked over to her Cowboy, who was forever smiling, and said, “Who’s my precious pony?” Cowboy nudged her with his nose as if he knew what she was saying,  “Yes you are, you’re my precious pony.”  She saddled up and they rode off into the orange sunset, leaving nothing but a silhouette to the admirers they left behind in the Garden.

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Our heartfelt thanks to Ellen Gaines, Director, Felicia Mahood and the City of Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks for their support of our classes and books of seniors' stories.


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