"A grownup is a child with layers on." - Woody Harrelson
Peeling back the layers.
Despite the lore, everyone in Texas does not have a horse! I do
suppose if you live in the rural areas, you do either have a horse , know someone who has a horse or know someone who rides. We never had a horse. My middle sister, Sarah, dated and married into a family that had horses. Working cowhorses. Horses that could swim the sloughs, walk through mud and pull a steer to safety. Carry a calf to dry land. Later on, my other sister, Edna, and her husband got a couple of horses and for a while everyone participated in the local Trial Riders Club and Lion's Rodeo Arena.
|Sarah & I on Dan|
My earliest "rides" were around the yard with Sarah. I liked the big, beautiful animals, but I had a healthy dose of respect for their size and power. I also have a fogy memory of her taking me at least part way on a trail ride. Everyone dressed in jeans, boots, hats, and western shirts. A lot of dipping and chewing. A lot of laughter. A lot of words I'd never heard. Horses getting sideways with one another. A man or two getting sideways with their horse. A man or two getting sideways with each other. Is sideways a Texas term? Sort of means a disagreement with a little hostility that doesn't go very far. I remember tromping through mud to go to a port-a-pottie. I remember being disgusted by the filthiest bathroom I ever saw! But I was with Sarah and that made everything all right.
I remember Sarah's youngest sister-in-law going for rodeo queen one year when I was nine or so She had made her a baby blue, satin suit with rhinestones and glitter. I thought it was the prettiest thing I had ever seen! I wanted to ride and be rodeo queen and dress like that. But I never told anyone. There were lots of things over the years I wanted to try, wanted to do, but I never told anyone. It never occurred to me that you could tell someone and they might could get you lessons or something. So, I never rode, I never danced, I never learned to twirl a baton. All I ever took lessons for was swimming and that was mostly because Mama wanted me to be safe in water.
I remember going to the rodeo arena quite often for a while with Edna and her girls as I entered adolescence. I loved the the cowbells, the smell of horses, the country music blaring over the speakers when they weren't announcing events. The flags that were paraded by horse and rider. There'd be barrel racing, calf roping, and of course, bull riding. And clowns. I remember the Frito pies from the concession stand: they'd split open a small bag of Fritos on the side, spoon in chili and cheese and whatever else you wanted and hand you a plastic spoon. The hamburgers they grilled and served up! Everything tasted better there! I don't think all the credit goes to the cooks, I think it had something to do with eating outside, under the stars.
What about you? Have any experiences with horses as a child? Were there things you would have liked to learn, and did you express that to anyone? What does the expression 'sideways' mean to you? Does food really taste better outdoors?
Thanks for sharing!