wasn’t about to let anything like freezing weather and snow keep me from riding
my horse. I had thermals to wear under
my jeans, a couple pair of thick socks and a ski mask with the eyes and mouth
cutout making me look like I was ready to stick up the closest convenience
store. Besides, I was going to use the
snow to my advantage. We didn’t have
any decent hills near our home to sled down, so I had the brilliant idea of
pulling my brother through the snow on my horse. I could picture us, Cherokee’s mane & tail flying as he
galloped through the snow. His hooves
tossing up glittering bits snow while my brother was sitting on his brand new
silver flying saucer enjoying the ride.
We couldn’t get off of the school bus fast enough. The snow was deep, the sky was clear and we
were going to have some fun horseback riding and sledding. I was out to the barn in a flash, saddling
up Cherokee, careful not to get any of his long winter coat caught in the cinch. I need to point that out because of all the
westerns I had ever watched on television and in movies when their horses
trudged through snow and blizzards, they looked nothing like the Wooly Mammoth
my horse turned into when the weather started getting cold.
I slid my foot into the stirrup, mounted and walked Cherokee over to
a stump where my brother was standing.
Keith climbed on behind me, holding the round, metal saucer in his right
hand. I brought along about twelve foot
of dog tie-out chain with a good-sized chunk of clothesline rope added to give
us some extra length. We looked like
Gladiators heading across the street to conquer the open field.
We reached the area behind the road-front businesses and Keith
jumped down with his saucer. I uncoiled
the chain/clothesline concoction and he fastened the chain end to the handle of
his saucer. He sat in the center, legs
crossed and I urged Cherokee ahead slowly.
The slack was taken up and I looked back to see my brother with a big
smile on his face as we headed across the field. I urged Cherokee into a faster gait and looked back again at my
brother. It was one of those perfect
Norman Rockwell Americana scenes until Cherokee looked back and saw something
was following him. I was too busy
feeling smug to notice he didn’t share our enthusiasm with our winter
outing. Cherokee started to go faster
without any encouragement from me. He
looked back again and realized he was being chased. He turned a little to get a better look and didn’t like what he
saw. That’s when he started to buck.
I came out of the saddle fast.
I still don’t know if I hit my face on the saddle or on my knee, but it
hurt like hell as I tumbled through the air and landed face first in the
snow. I remember thinking how good it
felt to be lying in the snow. The cold
seemed to caress my face and beckoned me to close my eyes and stay awhile until
the thought of my horse standing unattended in the field with a busy road
between him and home brought me around like a slap.
I sat upright and my brother was walking towards me, asking if I was
OK. I saw Cherokee standing and looking
at me. Instead of remaining as calm as
my two cohorts, I went from being semi-conscious into a state of hysterics in
two seconds flat. I started screaming
at my brother to get my horse before he took off and got hit crossing the busy
road. Keith turned and started running
towards Cherokee and the rodeo began again.
I can still see my horse running and bucking through the field with the
flying saucer bouncing and becoming air-borne behind him.
I gathered myself up and started heading slowly for home, afraid of
what I might find when I reached the road.
Keith came walking back and reassured me that Cherokee had made it home
safely. I had been so concerned for my
horse I’d forgotten about the pain in my face until my bother took one look at
me and advised me to clean off my face with the snow. My cheek felt as if it had somehow managed to get pushed halfway
past my right eye. My nose and mouth
were bleeding and my lip was stiff.
I can only imagine the terror my mother must have felt seeing my
horse gallop through the yard and back to the barn without a rider. I’m very proud to report that she removed
his bridle and put him in the barn before leaving the house to check on
us. A quick trip to the emergency room
proved nothing was broken and no stitches were needed.
I went to school the next day with two black eyes, a swollen nose
and a fat lip. That might have bothered
some teenage girls, but not me.
Fortunately, big sunglasses were in style and they covered up my black
eyes. Plus, I was never much of a
frilly, home coming queen kind of girl.
I liked to compare myself to Calamity Jane. Not the real one that was a drunk and a prostitute. The pretty one that Doris Day played in the
movie. The one that cleaned up really
well, turned into a beautiful woman, got to marry handsome Wild Bill Hickok and
sang “Secret Love” while riding a black horse.
As a matter of fact, I probably owned as many dresses as Calamity
Jane. Besides, this wouldn’t be the
first black eye I went to high school with.
I’m actually surprised that they didn’t come up with one of those
yearbook titles for me “Most Likely to Have a Black Eye”.
I rode through that field a lot before and after the flying saucer incident. It was the safest way to some unpaved back
roads, to my best friend’s home and to some nice trails that ran along the
river. I know when Cherokee made it
safely to the barn he was no longer dragging a flying saucer, but during all of
my travels through that field, I never did see it again. Like most flying saucers you hear about, it
© 2012 Kristie Allison