From the August 30, 1968 edition of the Vineyard Gazette by Betty Eddy:

For the past two weeks I have been frantically trying to find my copy of Ann Lindbergh’s Gift From the Sea as my tranquility seems to be slipping. If only, I keep muttering, it was from riotous living, or the madness of a secret May and December romance, but no such luck. My rattled outlook stems from a horse. Unfortunately, our very own, so there is no alternative but to plod on, and put up with.

Dancer’s Image (well, why not for heavensake?) is a very large, gentle, and handsome Pinto. My husband and four children ride, and I am known as That Coward. I keep sliding off his neck going downhill, so have to ride backwards, always facing where I’ve come from, and frankly don’t find it worth while.

One Monday morning a few weeks ago, Dancer was no place to be found. We scoured the countryside. As we were not only out of horse, but food and money as well, I took a detour from the search to the Chilmark Bank to refuel. While waiting at the drive-in window, it occurred to me that Mr. Drew, the manager, was in a position to see a great many people, and possibly pastoral sights, too. I asked him if he’d seen a spare horse around by any chance.

“Funny thing you should ask,” he said, “One came through just a while ago, and there he is in the pasture with that other horse.”

There he was indeed. Our wandering boy was happily grazing with his new-found friend in the Fischer’s pasture. Home I went with the good news, and back we went to retrieve him. Only he would not retrieve. Duke, the other horse, has a good many years behind him, and his main exercise is standing and watching the traffic at Beetlebung Corner. Not so, this bright Monday morning. A flash of his salad days overtook him, and as our Dancer galloped around the field, eluding Susie and her father, so did Duke.

Not only was I worried that my husband and child would be run down, but that we’d have a large coronary patient on our hands as well. It was quite a sight, a page from the Old West...manes flying, hooves thundering. Now, Mrs. Fisher’s beauty parlor stands on the edge of the pasture, and don’t think Round-Up-Time didn’t throw a wrench in her schedule, with the ladies having to unplug and rush to the windows. Heaven only knowns how many coiffeurs suffered that morning. Dancer was not cornered until late that afternoon.

The following week he fell in love with a pony up on the Middle Road, and all rides would invariably end up in her direction. Securities were tightened at home; a higher fence, stronger tether, better meals, and constant affection from the family. All day, Dancer would graze happily between rides, but at night he became a regular Houdini...nothing seemed to keep him in.

The past Sunday afternoon we took a berry-picking walk with four friends. Susie riding along with us on the horse for a time, and then veering off. Apparently a difference of opinion arose. Dancer wanted to visit the pony, and Susie did not. The net result being Susie dumped on the ground...scared, but not too damaged outside of a bitten tongue. The next sight we had of her, she appeared from the brush, lying limply forward in the saddle. (Having read every horse book ever written, she followed the course of all Horse Heroines, and got back on). Naturally, my mother heart panicked, and down the hill I raced toward my child, managing to neatly enmesh my ankle in a blackberry bramble.

The battered Eddy women were led gently back home to ice and aspirin. Happily, one of our walking friends was a doctor, so the care had authority behind it. I was told to stay off my foot for a cooking or cleaning or driving. Fairly glorious news.

My husband was driven to the 8 p.m. ferry by a friend, Susie going along to keep her mind off her bent tongue. I was left alone with my icebag, and the prospect of the morrow being spent languishing with a book and tender care...not bad. The phone rang. It was the Chilmark police. Our horse had been found in the front yard of a deserted farm, and would I please come and get him.

I called our oldest daughter who was at a friend’s house, and told her to meet me at the farm, and I’d explain later, but come NOW. Luckily, the car has an automatic shift, and my fragility was all centered in my left ankle, so the little band assembled at the farm, well into the dead of night. We borrowed the rope to lead Dancer by the light of the car, and once more nailed and tied him to the barn.

By midnight we were all bedded down...with more ice and considerable size having been added to my ankle. Fitful slumber lasted until 7 a.m., when the phone rang again. Our horse was seen heading for Gay Head. Back into the car we went Susie and I, our other daughter having to go to work.

We found Dancer attached to someone’s hammock, peacefully munching the lawn . . . and so began another homeward journey along State Road.

Compiled by Hilary Wall