Shirley Vicchitto, Alton, MO
LOVE KNOWS NO BOUNDS
Written for Steve and Shirley Vicchitto
By Harold Roy Miller
When I first learned about Shirley Vicchitto and her husband Steve,
it was a heart-wrenching story that I could scarcely believe.
These folks were put through the wringer of pain, grief and despair,
but somehow they came out intact, thanks to God’s infinite care.
Shirley had always been crazy about horses, even as a little girl
and wanted to be near them because they were the center of her world.
So she volunteered to muck stalls, groom or feed the daily hay
just so she could take a ride when her jobs were done each day.
She chose to work over continuing school, since her love for horses
consumed her young life so much more than any college courses.
She bought a National Show Horse that she was thrilled to train,
a pretty chestnut named Zarina with a flaxen tail and mane.
Shirley loved that noble mare who soon became her best friend
but little did either one of them know that that their joy was about to end.
One day a truck muffler backfired as they was taking a trail ride
and Shirley jumped off and broke her back as the young horse spooked and shied.
With a spinal fuse and a body cast, her equine dreams fell apart.
She was forced to sell her beloved mare and this broke the young lady’s heart.
She was horseless for a year and a half but to her it seemed more like ten,
and because of the accident she wasn’t sure she’d ever ride again.
Then she met Steve and they got hitched and Shirley tried her best to hide
the fact that she was still horse crazy and she really wanted to ride.
When the doctor told her she could ride again she was so happy to hear it
that she went right out and bought a barrel racer with lots of speed and spirit.
When she climbed back into the saddle again she was totally elated
but sadly for Shirley, this equine acquisition would also be ill fated.
While riding down the trail one day some motorcycles shot past her
and what followed out there on the trail was an absolute disaster.
Shirley was badly injured again. Her body was one big contusion
and the most unfortunate part of it was she’d broken her spinal fusion.
Enduring the pain was bad enough, but what turned her blue skies gray
was that while she was recuperating, her horse was given away.
The Vichittos moved to a farm in Canada, raised crops, horses and show pups,
but their life now seemed to be plagued with a lot more downs than ups.
Shirley was pregnant and her bad back made walking a major chore
so she had another spinal fusion when she could stand the pain no more.
The times were hard for Shirley and she felt her life was on the skids
when she was told to give up horses and not to have any more kids.
The family moved back to Connecticut and sold their Canadian farm,
then a terrible misfortune happened; the woman again came to harm.
Shirley had an automobile accident that broke her back again.
She was thrust back into the battle of pain that it seemed she couldn’t win.
The diagnosis was one in a thousand that her back would ever heal
but with great faith she had another surgery as they prayed for God’s will.
The LORD came through. Shirley walked again, though the pain was always there,
but by now affliction was something this stalwart woman had learned to bear.
Their kids grew up and moved away and they entered the grandparent phase.
They continued to raise their Shelties and it seemed like happier days.
Although Shirley couldn’t ride horses anymore, she could raise Sheltie pups.
She chose good bloodlines and some of them won grand champion cups.
They were enjoying their life of raising dogs and traveling to the show rings
but dark clouds of trouble were around the corner, just waiting in the wings.
Returnng from the Nationals, they stopped overnight in the Show Me state.
When Shirley called home to check on things, she had another brush with fate.
She happened to touch an ungrounded freezer and had a horrifying surprise.
Shirley got electrocuted and her whole life flashed before her eyes.
She lost her memory, had multiple strokes and was bedridden again.
Shirley felt totally useless as her whole world begin its downward spin.
She was miserable and severely depressed; many times she hurt and cried.
But through all this her loyal husband stayed right there by her side.
The heavy medication she was on kept her in a foggy drug-induced state
and as a result of being so sluggish, she naturally put on some weight.
She had to relearn everything. It was such a difficult time in her life,
but resilient Shirley slowly recovered and Steve regained his wife.
For seven years of Shirley’s life she had been out of the main stream
but way down deep inside her heart she still clung to her horse dream.
Yearning to be in the saddle again, she decided it was now or never
so they bought a user-friendly Foxtrotter to start their riding endeavor.
Shirley is back in the saddle again and their life has a much brighter glow.
In fact, she’s preparing to ride her horse Dusty in an upcoming equine show.
This family suffered anguish and heartache through some pretty rough years
and their long road to happiness was paved with prayer, love and tears.
What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger, a lot of folks believe
and this evidence is overwhelming in the trials of Shirley and Steve.
The moral of this story is that life will always have ups and downs,
but God above will see you through because True Love knows no bounds.