Wednesday, April 6, 2016
Down on the Farm
My friend Yvonne asked me if I knew how to ride a horse. I told her that once, in an act of total foolishness, I had climbed on a horse. I lasted about 30 seconds before the horse shook me off and walked away.
It was summer vacation when I was 14. The neighbor boys asked me if I wanted to go with them to their family farm in Arkansas for a few weeks. I jumped at the chance and the adults said "yes."
I thought I was going to be lying around the 'ole swimming hole and doing summer camp games.
The boys' mother put us all to work right away. We picked corn in the fields and tomatoes from the garden. They milked cows and I helped make lunch for the farmhands and cleaned up the kitchen. There was no swimming.
The boys knew how to ride so how hard could it be? When I landed on my backside I cried and cried from pain and shame. The mother added to the noise by screaming at me for being so stupid.
It was altogether not so bad a summer. I learned that in some families, the kids are supposed to do real work and not because their parents say "please" and give them an "allowance." I learned that I was pretty good at doing stuff I had never done before (or since).
Riding a horse wasn't one of them.