Hey, good morning.
Years ago, I told my friend Pickles this porch was a good place to watch the world go by. At the time I said it, I was thinking of the days I’d set here with Laura and watch our children in the yard, the horses in the corrals and the deer drinking in the creek. True to my word, all those things and more, we watched.
I sat right here and watched when Luke climbed his first tree. He couldn’t have been any more than six, maybe seven. It was that oak tree right over there. Course back then, it wasn’t so big and tall, not by a long shot. I doubt a boy could get his arms around the tree now. About that same time, he rode his first horse in that corral. I sat right here and watched him. Course I had helped him plenty before then, but one morning he came to me and said he wanted to do it all by himself. Kicked me out of the barn he did. Wouldn’t let me give him any more pointers.
Well, he gets the horse saddled, an old dark brown gelding I had at the time. As I said, he gets the horse saddled, and he led him out to the fence, right there. He climbs up the fence, that old gelding standing as patient as you please. When he gets to the top rail, he hops over, and by golly, he was on a horse.
He goes to kicking, and soon enough the gelding starts to move about. Don’t get me wrong, that brown was a solid horse. A good horse and a steady worker. But, he was also a smart horse, and he knew that boy wasn’t going to expect much out of him. He didn’t give him much in return. The boy was a kickin’, and the brown finally broke into a trot.
He trotted around the corner, right over there, and that saddle came loose and slid around so that Luke was upside down, underneath the horse. Both feet were still in the stirrups, but on his head, under the horse. Laura screamed knowing the boy was about to get his head kicked in, or stepped on. But that old brown gelding just came to a stop. Stood flat out still as you please and didn’t so much as move his tail to swat a fly.
He dropped his head and swung it around, so it looked like he was talking to the boy. Luke kicked himself free, and I went down to help get the saddle off. Course you know what went wrong, that boy didn’t get the cinch tight enough. At a trot, with the horse taking deeper breaths and blowing out more air, plus with the bouncing involved, that old saddle just slipped right over.
I talked to Luke about that several times. A man don’t get but very few mistakes like that. The world won’t suffer fools for long. Course, a lot of my talking to him was teasing him. It was pretty funny, though I could never get Laura to see the humor in it.
Oh, I know it could have turned out bad. The horse could have spooked and walked all over our boy. He might have taken a notion to kick the child. Any number of things could have happened, but we were blessed, and none of them did. As I look back and remember that boy sliding down and around that horse, I think of those fools trying to ride a barrel over the Niagara Falls. In this case, though, the falls stopped, turned his head around and looked at the fool.
Ya know, I think that old horse saw that boy hanging upside down, and quietly said to him, “You’re doin’ it wrong.”
Hey, you come back. Porch always open and coffee is on most days.
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