Wednesday, July 30, 2003

life of buddy don, chaptur 28:
everthang but the horse


in the last year of our marrg, darlene n i bought us a quarter horse name of lil dude northfleet. how it happened i kin hardly member, but twent sumthin lack this.


as ye mite magine frum readin chaptur 19, thay wuz a passle of my cuzins in east tennessee, mos of em frum my mamas side of thangs. in a dishun thay wuz lots of deevorces on that side, n that mint we had us a reglar swarm of bonus kin. ant sary wuz one egzample, witch she gut marrd three times. n ant rachel marrd twicet, makin her a nuther. n thar wuz sevral marrgs fer each of the cuzins frum the deevorced parnts.


innywho, one of ant sarys exes wuz a man name of brine white, witch everbidy called him uncle brine even ifn they wuz never related even by marrg. uncle brin had him a ranch whar he borded horses. him n ant sary also had em a daughter name of matilda, witch everbidy called her waltzin matilda or jes waltzy fer short. n waltzy luved horses, witch thats probly why her daddy uncle brine ever gut into the bizness.


waltzy wuz a lergic to mos everthang ceptn horses n that mint she couldnt eat thangs lack green vegtubles or mos innythang ceptn meat n taters n bread n deesert n that mint she wuz fat n a'gittin fatter, n thay wuz sum mental problems that cum along with bein fat n lergic to everthang ceptn horses n all, n fack wuz, we almos never saw waltzin matilda at the fambly gathurns. n wuznt nobidy cumplainin on a counta waltzy wonted ye to thank she wuz a lergic to bathwater in a dishun to everthang else.


but by chrismuss time in 1973, she dun made her a brakethru n could tkae her a bath n cum out in publick without bein too scairt long as she kep on her medicayshun, n that mint darlene finely gut a chants to meet her. twoodnt have guessed they wood have much to talk bout, but turnt out darlene had been a'dreamin of gittin a horse frum the time she wuz lil. dont no how it cum that she never menshuned that, but fack wuz, darlene dint lack to talk bout her childhood much on a counta bronwen wuz the sorce of panefull memries, witch ye mite member how darlene never called her mama by innythang cept bronwen.


so oncet waltzy n darlene figgered out they both luved horses, they made em a plan whar darlene n me wood go out to uncle brines ranch n ride sum the horses thar. n furst saturdy when the sun wuz a shinin even ifn twuz cold, we went out n met waltzy n uncle brine n they started a larnin us bout horses. i had dun larnt a few thangs over the years on a counta bein round horses at differnt cuzins farms now n then, but nun of them never had no saddle or ifn they did, they dun put in onto the horse before they let me git near.


waltzy n uncle brine wuz differnt. they woodnt let ye climb up on a horse ye hadnt saddled yerself, n ye had to clean the stall n put down fresh hay n brush the horse befor n after n make sure ye cleaned out thar frogs n jes generly tuck care of thar feet.


bof darlene n me wuz purty quick studies, so we wuz out a ridin by roun noon. they put me on a old blind mare name of whitey n let darlene ride a big fat mare name of carla, witch they wuz a'thankin that since darlene wuz probly a natcherul on a counta how she wuz itchin to ride. twernt the case, n fack is, she fell offn carla n twuz all a bidy could do to keep frum laffin. but darlene wuznt one to lie in the mud n claim to be hurt over one fall, n she had dun been usin the egspreshun that says ye gut to git back up on the horse that threw ye, ceptn in this case, darlene wuznt thrown so much as fell off by listin futher n futher to the side till she couldnt hold on no more.


long story short, she luved ridin n we gut to whar we wuz a doin in mos ever weekend long as twernt a rainin. we wood even go when twuz snowin on a counta ye wood git rite warm a ridin n the snow woodnt soak ye the way rain'll do.


purty soon she wuz a thankin we mite should git a horse of our own, n turnt out uncle brine wuz a sellin em n he had him a fine roane colord quarter horse name of lil dude northfleet, n he let us have him fer $250 cash, witch that seemed kindly steep but in them daze i wuz happy ifn innythang gut darlene to whar she wuznt whinin bout how much homewurk she had or her yeest infeckshun or how any of her other ailmints wuz a'going, so we bought us the horse n then a saddle n nex thang ye no we dun sunk near a $1,000 into the horse bizness.


we had us plenty to larn bout it. turnt out thay wuz a reason lil dude northfleet wuz a'goin so cheap n that wuz that warnt nobidy could keep on his back, n seemed to me lack that wuz on a counta the way uncle brine wood hit him to make him do rite, only it dint wurk. he wuz a young horse n had dun been gelded n everbidy sed he wood do better fer us ifn we wuz the ones broke him n gut him good n tamed.


as thangs went, uncle brines farm wuz a five mint drive frum k-25, so i gut into the habit of leavin out frum work at 4:30 n takin care of lil dude northfleet by 4:40 latest. oncet we owned him, i tole uncle brine i dint need his hep in brakin the horse on a counta i dint lack the way he wuz a hittin him. sted of that, i treeted him lack he wuz a big pet. whenever we furst gut him, i wood go by of an evenin n jes walk him round n brush him more'n he needed n then git him to trot with me a'holdin his bridle, n then i gut him to take a saddle n then purty soon he wuz a jarrin my verr bones while i wuz a trottin him roun n roun the corral. i never hit him oncet, n tho everbidy acted lack that wuz rong, they had to add mitt the horse lacked bein treeted with respeck.


purty soon i gut lil dude northfleet to whar he lacked to see me comin on a counta he new i wood take him outta the stall n let him run a bit while i cleened up his mess. then i wood git a scoop of sweet feed n call him n he wood cum a runnin as ifn he wuz a dog. n that made everbidy laff but i dint care.


i spent about a munth doin nuthin but trottin lil dude northfleet, furst in the corral n then n the fields n then up n down hills, witch i wood walk him down but trot him up n no matter how much he tride to run up, i wood hold him in a trot. n i did that on a counta trottin thataway bilds thar strength.


when ye ride a horse everday ye git to a point that the barryer tween you and the beest sorta brakes down. it gut to the point whar i wood ride lil dude northfleet barback. n then after a lil while i gut to whar i wood jes git on him without him even havin a bridle, n seem lack he wood go whar i wonted to go as if i wuz a'walkin on his laigs. n we wood race him agin tuther horses thar, n he wood win ever time, n it even gut sos i could race him barback with no bridle with me jes a'hangin onto his mane. n he wood win n when i sed 'whoa' he wood stop on the spot the way a good quarter horse is spozed to do.


they wuz four gurls that luved thar horses n cum out ever evenin to tend to em, n as ye mite speck, we all made friens. they wuz jes a'gittin outta hi skool n one of em wuz a good frien of my lil sister becky. they dint no much whut to make of me at furst on a counta i wuz older n wuz a wurkin at carbide n programmin computers, witch in them daze folks thought ye had to be a geenyus to do mos innythang with a computer.


then one day the purtiest one, witch her name wuz gretchen schuler, ast me did i no whut redbud wuz. twuz a trick questchun on a counta thay wuz 2 kinds of redbud, one the tree, tuther a brand of theevil weed frum panama. corse even as old as i wuz then, witch i had jes turnt 24, i could spot her point, so i ast her did she mean the tree? n when she sed she mite, i ast her did she mean a herb of sum kind? n she lafft n i sed i wuz a'goin with my guess on the herb n she could put that in her pipe in smoke it. n that settled the matter, so frum then on we wood all five of us trot our horses up one of the hills to this place whar a old oak tree had been blown over by a big wind to make a nice lil clearin complete with seats fer us all, n oncet we wuz thar, we wood smoke a joint or two n then go ridin agin.


n that rite thar wuz the start of my smokin durin the week on a counta befor that, darlene n me wood save it fer weekends. n that wuz a nuther thang i never tole darlene i wuz a doin even when it mint i had to make sure i had cleaned myself up good sos she woodnt notice by time i gut home. a nuther thang i dun then that mite coulda been a miss take wuz to quit takin classes over to roane state. n i did that on a counta i wonted to spend ever afternoon at the farm n thar wernt time fer bof the horse n the educayshun.


n thay wuz a nuther reason i lacked spendin time at the farm, n that wuz how i had dun gut me a crush on gretchen twuz a'makin me misrabull ceptn i could see her everday n that wuz sumthin. n seemed lack she wuz rite sweet on me, so we wood flirt n have us a gran ole time a'givin each other shotgun tokes, witch thats when one person, say gretchen, takes her a big ole toke n then puts the lit end of the joint into her mouth n gits me to take tuther end of the joint into my mouth n then gretchen wood blow the duble smoke into my lungs. twuz as close to a kiss as i ever gut frum her.


round that time, my bruther brew gut on out at the plant they call y-12, n his skedule wuz simlar to mine, so i invited him to cum out n ride with us, n woodnt ye no, he n gretchen fell fer each other lack nobidys bizness. twuz a paneful thang fer me to witness, but thar wernt no remdy fer it on a counta i wuz marrd n couldnt say much of nuthin bout whut he wonted to do. but it burnt me many a time, both then n later.


corse, ever weekend darlene cum out n she wonted to ride lil dude northfleet ceptn he wuznt happy bout her a'doin it on a counta she wood hit him ifn he dint do lack she wonted, n he even threw her off one time n that mint docters n crutches fer her ankle, witch twernt broke but jes strained. that dint matter nun. twuz all my fault, n lack i say, we dint fuss nor fite over much of innythang, n i dint even try to reefute her accusayshuns agin me. twuz a fack i had won the horse's hart. n she new it.


n maybe that splains why whenever she moved out n ast fer a deevorce, she let me have everthang, the new washer n drier n stove n frigerater n tv n i mean everthang we had, ceptn one thang.


n that wuz lil dude northfleet.

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