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It is as easy as falling off a Horse    Feb 4, 2009

Or was it falling off a log. Well I have fallen off a log several times in my life; usually while deer hunting trying to cross Caster Creek near Columbia Louisiana. I usually broke ice when I went gun barrel first into the water. It was easy but it was not fun. When I was 15 my best friend, Bill Beasley’s little brother Al Beasley climbed out of our camp bunk bed at 4 AM, stepped on my head, and sleep walked 30 yards in the January Cold. Then he walked out the end of the boat dock and broke ice into the water. The ice breaking and the screaming woke me up with a startle. When he came back into the camp, he explained that he was sleepwalking and fell in the pond. I asked him what happened next and he said that he woke up.

About 40 year later, Bill’s son Chad Beasley of Morse Louisiana was helping me move a bridge I made for my tractor to cross the beaver pond. Hurricane Andrew had washed the bridge downstream abut 30 yards. We had made the bridge out of an iron frame from an old house trailer so it was really heavy. In fact it was just too heavy and it was 25 feet ling and 8 foot wide. The tractor could not even budge the bridge. But when we were trying to tie chains to the bridge, Chad slipped on the wet boards and landed on the mouth of a Cotton Mouth Snake and it did not bite him. I guess he must have frightened the poor serpent to death. Somehow I must have survived the calamities of my youth because here I sit at this kitchen table pecking away at this keyboard.  

I was doing pretty darn well until I fell off the horse. That was really easy too- just falling off a horse. We all, well some of us remember exactly what we were doing when we heard Christopher Reeves Superman fell off the horse and broke his neck. I was camping in tents with my Aunt Shirley and Uncle Guy and some of my kissing cousins (Redneck) at Petit Jean Mountain State Park in Arkansas. I really thought that was a tragic event and it was so sad right up to the end, but he was a fighter all the way. I have been just a little intimated by horses ever since.  

For some reason I started recently thinking about Ben and Hoss Cartwright, you know Adam and Little Joe. I actually met them when I was a boy down at Ponchartrain Beach Park with the large candy cane down in New Orleans.  I do have a genuine Hoss Cartwright hat, believe it or not. I have been thinking about Ben and the Cartwright’s riding along in the prairie so after years of wanting horses we got five. Unfortunately we got all but one from a shyster who had gotten them form a horse auction and he turned out to be rather dishonest.  

The one that intimidates me the most is a Tennessee Walker. I call her, the Tennessee Stud. Later I found out that he was really a she. How could I miss that? That is about like when my momma went to the lawyer and wanted to file suit against a customer at her junk sore for kicking her pregnant dog Toby. The lawyer investigated and reported that Toby was not pregnant because it was a male dog.  

Angie calls the Tennessee Stud, Black Betty, which after all is more appropriate. I am 6 foot tall and the Tennessee Stud’s head is 8 inches taller. He/she must weight 9 thousand pounds. The Tennessee Stud want let me touch her unless I have her nose deep in a bucket of oats. I have about decided to sell this horse, if you are interested and brave let me know. The shyster did say she was spunky. I do have the papers on her and she is registered.  

We have been very busy during smoke school off season. We have been building sheds and fences. We now have dogs, horses, chickens, turkeys, quail, pigeons and wild possums. The dog ate the ducks, after all she is a Labrador retriever. Since then we put up an electric fence and you should hear the chickens, the horses, and the dogs when they get into it.  

I finally took off and made it to Georgetown Louisiana to get some saddles from the most amazing saddle shop in the world. Last Monday I decided it was time to ride the 2 most tame horses- the Old Gray Mare, which later we found out was a male horse and the Amish Morgan Buggy horse. The Indiana Amish horse was named Katie so we knew she was female. Now Katie is about as big as the Tennessee Stud but she will let you pet her. Dave and Larry road Katie bareback, so I do not feel quiet so intimidated by her. The Amish guy had ridden Katie to work. When Larry wrote the guy a check for $1500, the Amish guy asked how he was going to get home now after selling Katie. Larry said with all that money, you can call a cab.  

Well Monday was the day I fell off the horse. On the way home from Georgetown we met a guy who lived in the woods out of Olla and he invited us to his house to pick up some deer meat. I have not had time to hunt in 3 years, so I relished the venison. Say- I would be willing to barter some smoke school training for Venison. The Olla guy said he had killed the yearling while head lighting for deer on his horse. He said you could walk right up to them and stick them with a stick. I noticed the horse standing there with the saddle. The horse was also a Tennessee stud, and I noticed that only the front saddle synch was tight while the back one was rather limp and loose. Then I remembered the only horse I ever had when I was 11. That saddle only had one synch. That horse when I was 11 was named Dolly as if in Parton. 

Dolly was a paint horse and she was simply beautiful but she was as mean as they come. Here is a list of things Dolly did to me on a daily basis:

  1. Bite me
  2. Stepped on my toes
  3. ran away when I tried to catch her
  4. Drug me off on clothes lines that hit me just above the saddle horn- think of the anatomy
  5. Drug me off on tree limbs, leaving me lying face down with my 30-30 stuck barrel first in the mud.
  6. Than leaving me there lost in the woods when she raced back to the barn.

So I sold Dolly, the saddle, bridle, and blanket for $75 and brought a 1957 Chevy and drove it to the levee. But the levee was dry.

I haven’t thought seriously about owning a horse or riding one since then- until lately. I have ridden a horse a time or 2, they were tied to a steak and went around in circles. So last Monday I decided it was time. Robert Parker our newest employee saddled up Katie the Amish buggy horse. I did not notice the back synch as tight, very tight. I just jumped up there on the saddle. I was shocked when Katie seemed a little nervous or something. She more or less hesitated and did not want to move. I gave her a little kick in the flank and she took a few steps. We were walking right next to the new fence. I had forgotten about all of the neighbor kids who were riding the 4 wheeler and the go cart noisily up and down the driveway next to the same fence for hours. I figured that was why Katie was hesitating, so I just nudged her along. I was not aware of the tight rear synch. I was sort of aware somewhere in the back of my mind that the back synch was the one they tighten in a rodeo to make a bucking horse buck. I remember seeing the rodeo clown loosening the synch.

About this time, Katie decided she had about enough of this 300 pound guy biting into her back side. She made a 180 turn real fast like. It all happened in slow motion. I knew that I was going to fall off. I saw the fence and knew that I was going to fall on top of the fence. So somewhere in midair I sort of curved my back downwards and tried to hit the ground on my feet. I hit the fence first mostly with my right arm which is still sore. When I landed I felt my backbone pop and for a few moments was sure that I was parlayed just like Superman. Then I moved my legs and felt like well it ain’t over. But I knew something was wrong with my back.  

In 1998 I was building a barbed wire fence to keep my butcher friend’s cows from messing with my Louisiana DEQ air samplers that I had out in his pasture south of Baton Rouge. It was muddy and pouring down rain. I had built a wooden bridge across a drainage ditch and I was wearing rubber boots. The reason I was working in the rain is because we had been under a drought for 2 years and the ground was hard as concrete. My post hole auger bit just bounced on the ground, I figured the mud would be softer and I could probably dig the holes a lot faster.  

I was toting the wooden fence post on my shoulder when my rubber boots slipped on the wet wood bridge and I landed with a thud in my butt. Three days later I could not stand up, lay down, sit down without terrible pain running down my back and down my left leg.  I missed a month of work. The state tried to force me to go on permanent disability, but I refused. You see, I am a work-a-holic and I love working, always have. 

All I could do is take pain pills and crawl around the house and lay down in the front yard with a computer. This is when I learned how to turn on a computer and use it. I have been writing these funky stories ever since. Well thanks to the American Back Institute and VAX-D, I started walking and standing up 2 weeks after the first treatment. I went back to work and amazed my boss whom had seen me crawling around the house. The pain is still there and always be, but I can live with it without medications. It was a bulging disc over my sciatic nerve. I can say this – I love deep tissue massage- they can go right between the discs into the nerve.  

I said all of that to say this, I lay down there on the fence sure that I had reinjured my sciatic nerve and I felt I was in for another month of pain. Katie left me slivering on ground under her feet and Angie said she was bucking wildly back around the fence towards the barn until she got her front foot caught in the bridle. I lay there and watched Robert remove the foot from the trap. Assured that Katie was ok, and that Larry and Robert would get Katie back in the fence and unsaddled- I made it to the bed.  

Oh my goodness, I forgot about the thorns. Before I fell off the horse, Angie, Larry and I were riding along a country gravel road and Angie spotted some lovely cactus in the front yard of some redneck house trailer. Angie made such a fuss about how beautiful they were until I decided to make a u-turn and go back and steal some of the cactus. Well I knocked on the door and nobody answered so I thought surely they want miss just one little cactus. I saw a pair of work gloves next to me on the truck seat, but I could not bother to put them on. I just reached out and grabbed and broke off 3 little cactus pieces. Then I noticed the thorns- thousands of itty bitty invisible thorns in both hands.

I rubbed my hands roughly on my jeans hoping they would come out. The thorns naturally went deeper. Then I stopped at a gas station and got some duck tape. Duck tape can do anything. I taped up all of my fingers and wrapped it around my hands and tried to yank out the thorns. Then I stopped at the Dollar Store and got a grinding stone and tried to grind the thorns out. Amazingly some of them, most of them did grind out, but some of them went a lot deeper.  

Three days later Angie and I did another double appointment with DR. Dollar in West Monroe. There actually is a sign above the scales that says you only get 3 complaints per visit. The nurse asked us what was wrong this time. Angie said she had a sinus infection and I said that I was going to break the rules. I have more than 3 complaints; I have the falling hands disease. I held my hands up above my head and said it hurts here, letting my hands fall slowly covering the entire body and said here and here and here and here. Well, I said, I also have a sinus infection, a thousand thorns in my hands and I fell off a horse. She was laughing and I could hear the doctor laughing down the hall. They gave me a shot of something right in the buttocks and I forgot about the pain. Oh, they could not get the thorns out either. Thank the good Lord Angie got them out with a needle and thread later that night. She do take real good care of me I guarantee. If you think this story is tragic you should read about the fishhook.

It ain't over until the fat cat sings

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