Liz is the youngest child of my brother-in-law Robert (Bob) Ford and his wife Arlis. She lives in Iowa City, Iowa and works as a director for an animal protection organization. She’s married to an accomplished musician, Jack Klapper.
Whenever one of my nieces or nephews has a birthday, I’ve been trying to show photos/ information about any of their cousins who were born within their birth year. None of the other cousins were born in 1966 when Liz was, but two were born in 1967, within 7 months of Liz’s birth. They were Leslie (Ford) Sully, and Michael Gorman.
Technically, my daughter Lisa says Michael, who comes from the Gorman side of the family, isn’t really their cousin because to be one, you have to share a grandparent or great-grandparent. Well, listen, what about aunts? I’m their aunt, and they’re my nieces and nephew and as far as I’m concerned they’re all cousins, and that’s all there is to it!
Cousin Leslie is civilian Public Information officer for army recruiting in Columbus, South Carolina. Cousin Michael is, I’m sure, the lifeblood of the Phoenix Arizona Republic newspaper. I hope they know what great genes they share (especially their aunt’s).
Liz and Leslie, by the way, share a common interest — horses. Big time. Leslie and her husband Henry still own two or three of them and ride frequently.
Practically since birth, Liz has had an overly soft heart for any kind of an animal — even stuffed or mythical ones. It’s nice that her middle name is that of the Patron Saint of animals, St. Frances. Her tender heart has got her in trouble a few times. though.
Because of her intense interest in horses, her dad and mother housed two horses at their ranch-like home when Liz was in high school and college. One of them – named Danny Boy – was having the equivalent of a bad day from Hell, and threw Bob from his saddle. As a result, Bob has carried the damages of the injuries he received for the past twenty-five years and, in fact, has to have surgery next month to finally replace his damaged shoulders.
One funny incident I know of involving Liz’s excessive affection for the animal kingdom happened in Iowa City while she was in college. Her dog lived with her. He was a naughty dog but Liz was always patient and tolerant and tried to curb his bad boy behavior.
One sunny day, she and the dog were at the park with some friends. Everybody was having a fine time including the dog, but suddenly he had a confrontation with a person. He bit the person. It was a policeman. It is not a wise move in Iowa City, Iowa to be a dog who bites policemen.
Liz and the dog got hauled into court. Liz was given an ultimatum: if she didn’t comply with it, it would have been “curtains” for the dog. She accepted the punishment, which was that the dog was permanently banished from Iowa City. She had to take the arch criminal home to Cedar Rapids where Bob and Arlis got elected to serve as his parole officers.. I’ve never heard of a dog being evicted from a city before. Knowing Liz though, it makes perfect sense that she stood by him through it all.
To celebrate her birthday, I dug out an old VHS tape showing Liz engaged in one of her favorite activities – “horsing around”. Our video cameras 25 years ago didn’t have the resolution and color that you’re used to today, but you can still get the idea.
I hope you had a happy birthday, Liz.