The farm has changed ownership a couple of times over the years. It is now owned by the Soruco family, which has expanded the operation to include having their own horses, boarding horses for other owners and providing riding lessons.
One of their fields is directly behind our property and the easement that is between our yard and the Southport Equestrian Center. It is so special to watch their horses run and play.
The animal that I have seemed to get most acquainted with is named Charlie O’Donkey. I’ve been told that he is about 8 years old, and I’m sure that he views himself as a midlevel manager of the center’s daily affairs. It is so cool to have coffee on our patio while listening to Charlie as he loudly explains to others his need for breakfast.
Last year, shortly after Christmas, Michelle Soruco told me that Charlie had spent a few hours at the Kroger at Madison and Edgewood avenues. He, Michelle and her children, Keith and Lindsey, and Mikkalya Atkins, were there to support the Salvation Army’s Red Kettle campaign. They were successful and were invited back.
On Saturday, Michelle, the children, Donkey Santa (Charlie) and Mrs. Pony Claus (Cali-girl) visited with folks entering and leaving the newly remodeled store. With the weather being so pleasant, there was a large volume of customers.
Since Pony Claus, a miniature horse, had never experienced anything like this before, it took her a while to get used to all of the attention. The store provided several bags of chopped carrots for folks to feed the animals, both of whom seemed adept at gently lifting a carrot from the open hand of people ages 6 to 86.
Several employees came to visit with everyone and meet Santa Donkey and Pony Claus. I spoke to a couple of the managers, and they were excited about the store’s new look. They wanted to thank their loyal customers for hanging in there during all the work.
Donkey Claus mastered the skill of ringing the bell to attract folks to the kettle. I noticed that he seemed to quickly release the bell and move toward anyone holding a carrot. I think he tried to tell me that it was difficult to eat a carrot with a small bell lodged between his teeth.
I’m sure that they had a good time raising money for the Salvation Army. I spent about an hour hanging around and watching the festivities, and I can tell you that they were a big hit.
Many pictures were taken and lots of donations were made. People young and old enjoyed their time spent with Donkey Claus and Pony Claus.
I was told that they raised $400 in four hours, which is normally the amount collected in a day. They asked me to thank everyone who stopped to make a donation and give them a carrot.
They are already looking forward to next year.