This is, I think the third post I ever published.
Thought I would resurrect it for some who may not have seen it, as it is buried deep in the archives. And not that it is particularly that good, but is is all I have, waiting on Thursday…
(And because I am working on a new project, but it is not yet ready)
True Grit (Or, Almost a Cowboy, Or, What You Will)
Thanks for reading.
Being a Native Texan, I decided to become a ‘Real Cowboy’ in the late Summer of ’70, as opposed to being a ‘ranch hand’, which by the way is different and which, by the way, I was actually pretty damn good at a couple of years later. I’m talking ‘bout haulin’ hay, buildin’ fence (BoB Whar—Texan pronunciation), drivin’ tractors, feedin’ cows; chasin’ cowgirls, drinkin’ whiskey, you know: that sort of thing. But actually before I found my niche in western employment, I did dream of riding the open range astride a great galloping beast.
Here is how “that worked out for me.”
Madelyn had a horse once: a cross between a Shetland pony and a Welsh mare. Now, I really don’t know much about horses and during that time I knew even less, but I really did want to play cowboy, so I decided to make friends with the local “real cowboy” and have him teach me how to ride this animal. I was about twelve going on thirteen at the time.
The problem with this horse was that it was a pet. Madelyn had talked my father into buying it for her not long after she and her mom moved in (I was not yet on the scene; was still living with my grandparents.
I suppose I arrived some months after the horse). Anyway, she soon lost interest in Gretchen (is that a proper horse name?) hence, she (Gretchen) never ever got ridden; (I cannot speak for Madelyn.) This will become important later in my story.
Not long after making friends with said local cowboy (he was sixteen, much older and wiser…well, older anyhow) James Griffin, (Funny how I still remember his name.) we went to the pasture, which was actually inside the city limits of Honey Grove and took damn near an hour just to catch this beast. Gretchen did not apparently, want anything to do with cowboys, experienced or neophyte. Once we had her, James proceeded to teach me how the saddle and all the other kit went together. He grumbled something under his breath about the “hackamore” bridle I had provided along with the saddle that he was none too impressed with either. I told him that this was all the gear my step-sister had in our garage, and what was the problem,
“This stuff is brand new,” I said. (And of course, I was NOT wearing my varnished boots)
“Never mind,” he said while showing me how to mount the horse. He told me I always had to mount from-the-left-side. I asked him why, and he said that is what the horse expects. I certainly was all about living up to that horse’s expectations, so I did as instructed.