My parents offered to give Kurt and me their boat. It’s a beautiful 27-foot Sports Craft called the Cookie Too, named after my mother. Not being able to go on the boat is one of the things that Kurt misses the most about New Jersey. Occasionally he would drive all the way back there, just to go fluke fishing with my father. Eight hours one way just to go fishing when we have a lake right down the block. It’s crazy. But sailing along the Hudson, cruising around the Statue of Liberty, reeling in fluke or bluefish or even sharks, is a little bit different than standing on a bank casting a line. Plus, I know that part of it is the special relationship that he has with Dad.
So they offered us the boat when they got too sick to keep up with it. Even though they could use the money by selling it, they would have liked it if Kurt had the Cookie Too. Kurt is dying to get a boat. We’re walking distance to the lake. We could hop in it and cruise across the lake and park it, go have some lunch or go shopping. We’d catch some fish. No sharks. But maybe some of those country fish like catfish or bass. Do people even eat bass? I don’t know, but it’d be fun. Even without the Statue of Liberty.
But we had to say no thank you. The boat is too big to pull back and forth on a trailer. It needs to be docked. And it doesn’t make sense for us to rent a slip, which is very expensive, and we really can’t afford, when we can keep one right here in our own backyard and just pull it down the block when we feel like going out and not have to pay a dime. It broke our hearts to turn it down. Not only because this was a free boat, but because it was the Cookie Too. Someday we’ll save enough money to buy something smaller.
In the meantime, I’ve been riding that buckskin out there, affectionately called “the Bad Boy.” He’s not really a bad boy but he’ll buck at the blink of an eye. His mode of operandi is to buck. Even if the situation doesn’t call for it. Even if it’s overkill. For example, the other day while eating grass in the barnyard, he farted and scared himself. So he bucked. He’s very flamboyant that way.
But at the risk of jinxing myself, and to his credit, he’s never bucked with me on him. Still. I know he’s got it in him. And so I wear a helmet. I don’t normally wear a helmet. I’m going to be honest here. It’s dorky. I look like a big egg head. Yeah, yeah, I tried those helmets with the cowboy hat attached. I looked like a big egg head with a cowboy hat attached.
Maybe that’s why that chick tried to run me over the other day. Because I was really ugly in that helmet and needed to be put out of my misery.
I wear a helmet when I’m on a new horse, or training a young one, or on one I don’t completely trust. Don’t bother telling me that an accident can happen on any horse, it can be the nicest Rusty in the barn and I’m stupid as well as ugly. I know. I have no defense.
Kelly’s a different story. Kelly is not allowed to ride without a helmet and even if she was, I don’t think she’d do it because I’ve got her brainwashed about it. At least give me credit for that. She’s been wearing a helmet since she was three-years-old and she thinks she looks quite happening in her brown suede Troxel. Even if she thought she looked like an egg-head, and even though I don’t normally wear one and it might occur to her to demand that I practice what I preach or else she doesn’t want to wear one either because it’s not fair, too bad—she’s still wearing one otherwise she doesn’t get on the horse. That’s the rule. She’s lucky I don’t make her wear body armor…
Anyway, poor Bullet. I’ve given him a bad reputation by badmouthing him all over the place about how he’s a bucker and I’ve got to wear a helmet when I am riding him when everyone knows I don’t normally wear a helmet so he must be really bad. And the poor horse hasn’t done anything wrong! He hasn’t even given me a dirty look! Of course he has that gate issue. But that’s why I’m taking him to Ducky, the trainer. Kurt calls him “the Duckster.” Now he’s got other people calling him that. My girlfriend the other day, on the phone: “So, did you bring the Bad Boy over to the Duckster?” I don’t know. Maybe he’ll like that name. It’s much cooler than Ducky. It sounds fast. And barrel racers want to be fast. Ducky is one of the fastest barrel racers around here. He’s like a monkey on a horse and wears a cowboy hat with a big feather in it but no helmet. I did take Bullet to him last week and he gave Bullet a good workout. He never once called him “the Bad Boy.” In fact, he was quite impressed with him and asked who trained him. I looked at Kurt. Kurt looked behind him. When he realized no one was there, he said, “Uh, I did?”
“You did a great job,” the Duckster told him.
I saw Kurt’s chest well up. In that instant, I thought he was actually going to start riding again, being so proud and inspired. But no. He’s still bucking for a boat. No pun intended.