History, Horses & Pizza

It has been a hectic schedule since leaving Aiken for a few days. But then again, these trips typically end up being a demonstration of logistics and this one is no exception. UPS has nothing on me when I put my mind to something.

As I look back and edit this piece however, I am caught by the fact that it is difficult to find all the right words to describe these four hours, but I have done my best.

Yesterday, I went to visit with my wife’s aunt and uncle.

They are brother and sister and neither has ever been married. They had two other sisters, both who have died, one of whom was my mother in law.

Aunt Regina, aka “Jeannie” and “Gi-Gi”, reminds me of my mother in law who died just over nine years ago…they are so similar, it is sometimes spooky.

The Shockrahawn

I was to stop by their condo to pick up Uncle Joe for us to take a ride out to the farm to see his pride and joy, Shockrahawn.

Uncle Joe has a very interesting background. He probably deserves a book and I will not cite some of his accomplishments because I would not want to take the chance of not having it perfectly accurate. I will state however, there are not too many men I know who are as interesting as Joe Scott.

He served in the US Army in the 28th Infantry Division, which included his 109th Field Artillery Battalion. He was on the 2nd wave at Normandy, and a proud member of the “Bloody Bucket.” He is a walking-talking history lesson and I wish I had the time to sit with him for hours, recording our conversations and eventually getting them into a book or at least a long article.

A hat that Joe had made up. Each star represents a different campaign…Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes and Central Europe. This was not exactly a fun tour of Europe. It was some of the fiercest fighting our Army has ever seen to date.

Like so many of The Greatest Generation, you have to ask the questions for him to talk about his experiences. But, when you ask, Uncle Joe will tell the stories…with meticulous attention to detail.

After the war, he became an educator and eventually, president of a college, but his passion was…and still is, horses.

That is 6-3 me, next to Shocky..17 hands.

In a few weeks, Joe will celebrate his 88th birthday. He has faced some health challenges of late, but he is in much better shape now than he was the last time I saw him around six months ago. He makes daily visits to see “Shocky” who is stabled about 45 minutes from their home.

The horse is the reason Joe gets out of bed each morning, regardless of the aches and pains.

Scenes of New Jersey you cannot see from the NJ Turnpike.

We fed the horse his mid-day treats and then Joe gave me a tour of the new stables, which have been in use for only a couple of days…brand spankin new.

Home for pampered horses

After that, it was back in the car, more talk about the war, horses and then a stop at Joe’s Pizza in Summit, NJ.

Part of the routine when you go to the farm with Uncle Joe is to stop for a slice (or three) of pizza. That is just the way it happens.

Joe’s Pizza has been around a long time.

I recall, that when working as an EMT Driver for the Overlook Hospital MICU, (Medic-II) in the late 1970’s-early 1980’s, we would often stop there for a healthy meal. Their pizza is probably the best I have ever had and it lived up to my expectations today.

Pizza at Joe’s. I had to take the first bite before taking the picture…

After lunch, it was back to the condo where “Gi-Gi” had hot, apple pie and ice cream waiting for us. I helped them load a few of these pictures on their iPad and then it was hugs and kisses and the assurance that I will be back to see them in a few months.

The women of my life will be up, visiting for Thanksgiving and I know that Megan is looking forward to getting the chance to ride Shocky at the farm. To the best of my recollection, she has never ridden one of Uncle’s Joe’s horses, as most of them had been in training for racing. Shocky is six years old and now being trained as an English, Show Horse… just what Megan rides.

Uncle Joe on his cell phone…getting a tip on a horse…or getting the list of things to bring home for dinner…??

And so ends my thoughts from my four hours with a war hero and a true, gentleman.

He likes to pose

Welcome to horse paradise

About Ray V.

Living between Aiken & Nashville, TN, USA, I like to share what I am looking at, thinking about or listening to. I refer to this as the view out my window. Thanks for stopping by.
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9 Responses to History, Horses & Pizza

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  3. Mark L. Bastoni says:

    Hello. My father was in the 109th in WWII as well. I’m trying to contact any survivors, particularly to ask a few questions and see if there are any photos to share. I’ve met some 109th family on Facebook and we’ve shared photos. Is there any way to contact Uncle Joe?


  4. Joan Kevitt says:

    Hello. I know Joe Scott and his race horse in Odessa, Florida and have not heard of him in years….since 1990 I think. The farm was called Innfields and run by Garnet and Pete Palmer. I would love to get in touch with Joe who was very kind to my 2 sons and myself back then. Joan Page Kevitt


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