Anything is better than sharing sometimes

Published 3:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2017

The one thing that I wanted more than anything when I was a little girl was a horse.

My granddaddy got my cousin and me a rescue horse. Betty was fast on her way to the glue factory when Pop put down a crisp ten-dollar bill for her.

We loved Betty. We rode her without a saddle or a bridle and she was “our” horse.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Jimmy and I were prone to fight and fight often. We fought about anything and nothing.

Pop said if we could learn to share, he would buy us a real live horse.

Sharing didn’t sound like much fun but the thought of getting a horse that could trot, maybe even gallop, was reason enough to take off the boxing glove.

On day, Pop drove up pulling the cattle trailer but we could tell by the whinny that, in the trailer, was the wild and wonderful promise Pop had made.

Lightning was the most beautiful, shiny black horse I had ever seen.

Sharing wasn’t fun but it paid off.

But the fun soon stopped. Jimmy wanted his friend Preston to ride with him. I wanted my friend Betty Kay to ride with me.  Pop had said we should share the horse so that’s what we did. Jimmy and Preston rode a while, and then it was our turn, Betty Kay’s and mine.

For a couple of days, we shared.

Then the sharing stopped.

Betty Kay and I didn’t stop when our turn was over. We kept riding and riding.  Jimmy and Preston yelled for us to stop but we didn’t hear them. They hollered something that sounded like, “It’s our turn” but we couldn’t hear that either.

When it was time for us to go in for supper, we rode to the barn and were taking off the saddle when Jimmy yelled and jumped from the barn loft onto my back and started beating me on my head. Betty Kay jumped on Jimmy’s back and started pounding his head. Preston jumped on her back and started beating on her. We were screaming and punching and rolling on the ground when Pop pulled us apart and whacked us with his walking stick.

The last thing we saw of Lightning was his shiny back-end on his way out of town.

We knew we would never have another real live horse so we decided the next best thing was to ride cows and Pop had plenty of them.

On Wednesdays, he would put a few cows in the catch pen and have them penned and ready for the sale on Thursday.

Wednesday was our rodeo day.

We would limb on the fence, which was made out of boards about three or four inches wide.  We would perch on the top board and wait for one of the cows to come walking by. We’d  jump on the cow’s back. Sometimes a cow would give us a bucking bronco ride. Other times, it was like the riding a horse on the Merry Go Round. Either way it was fun.

One day, Pop had corralled more cows than usual. Some of them didn’t seem to want to be in the catch pen or maybe they had an idea of their ominous fate. For whatever reason, riding those cows was like riding a wild horse. They would snort and shake their heads and bang into the fence. We were having such a good time. I just happened to look up in time to see Pop coming toward us in a huff. We were having so much fun riding those buckin’ cows that we hadn’t heard Pop’s truck when he drove up.

Jimmy was still riding and bucking. He hadn’t seen Pop and I didn’t have time to tell him so I just ran as fast as my little bird legs would carry me.

I could hear Jimmy getting a walking stick whipping.

After that, part of our daily chores was to feed two baby calves, first with a bottle. Pop gave  us so much  to do that we didn’t have time to fight or be unkind to animals. Oh, well. Anything was better than sharing.