Eileen Brent Beckman, founder of Otteridge Farm in Bedford, Virginia, slept away early this morning at the age of almost 93. I met her through her granddaughter, whom she helped raise, and who those of you familiar with me know as 'the house elf'. When I traveled to Virginia to see Katie perform or ride, Mrs. Beckman graciously insisted that I stay in her home beneath the Peaks of Otter. She said to me, as we surveyed the horizon from her front lawn leading to the barn, "Aren't I lucky?"
She served with the Red Cross in the China-Burma-India Theatre during World War II, met her future husband on the ship coming home, and went on to win recognition and respect in the equine world both for riding and breeding. She was scheduled to be inducted into yet another Hall of Fame in June--one more milestone in a long line of honors.
Writers need resources, but as human beings, we need inspiration more. Eileen Beckman inspired me to strive for more, to break out of my self-limiting mindset, and, even at my age, to reach for the stars. Just by virtue of knowing her, I feel I've already touched one of those bright lights and that she will keep it glowing for me.