Friday, April 30, 2010

A New Horse Didn't Help

My mother has passed away since writing this but I’m posting it so you can catch up. Lots of strange things have been happening and though I’ve never been very religious, and this might be pulling at straws, I feel that something mysterious has been at work here. I call it God on one shoulder and my mother on the other.

There are two things going on in my life right now that are so completely unlike each other, so yin and yang, so dark and light, so heaven and hell, that I think I’m going to hit the lottery. Or be in an earthquake. Something’s going to happen. One is so sad, I can hardly take it. That is my mother. The other one has to do with a horse.

In the midst of what I shall refer to as my own great depression, which has since dissipated in response to my cigarette smoking (sad but true), I bought a horse.
The reason why I did it was two-fold. First, we needed one. Who doesn’t? No, we really did need one. Since retiring the old guy, Doc, Kelly swiped Kurt’s horse like most children swipe a cookie. The brainwashing, which I have inflicted upon her since birth (Look at the horsey! The horsey’s nice…) took. My horse, Harley, has headshaking syndrome and is retired for all intents and purposes. Basically, he’s shot. And Minnie, who looks like a My Little Pony come to life, is a little too small for either Kurt or me, about as high as the top of my thigh where I was thinking of getting Kurt’s name tattooed in pretty black script. Maybe in another language just to be trendy. Not Chinese though—that’s getting old. (He thinks it’s hot. Tattoos. Not foreign languages. I don’t. He does. But it’s the least I can do for him since he’s been building me barns and run-in sheds practically non-stop since we first laid eyes on each eighteen years ago in the Halfway Bar.)

So we actually needed two horses. One for Kurt and one for me. And since sooner rather than later is the best time in my book to get anything equine, I jumped right on the idea of rewarding myself for not smoking. That was the second reason. I thought it would help me stay off the cigarettes. Even though reward didn’t work as a motivating factor to keep me off them when I bought the horse trailer.

But an excuse is an excuse. If it works, I go with it. Therefore we went to the Great American Trail Horse Sale where I found exactly what I wanted: a young, small, green-broke Quarter Horse gelding with color. The fact that this guy has tons of racing blood was icing on the cake. I never imagined I’d find a Quarter Horse with running blood at the trail horse sale, or my favorite color, grulla, but there you have it.

However, it didn’t cheer me up. I tried to talk myself into being happy, told myself I should go out there and ride him so we’d be ready to run barrels in the summer, but something always came up. I can’t ride today; it’s too windy. I can’t ride now; I have to bake a cake. Truth be told, I could care less. I had a new horse out there, a beautiful horse, and I might as well have had a suitcase in the yard, that’s how much motivation I had to go and do something with him. Which made me feel even worse.

In addition to my malaise, I worried that I made a mistake and he was a little too small. I like a small horse. That’s what I was looking for—a small horse. But once I got him home, this one looked really small. Almost pony size. Which normally would not be a problem. Some of my favorite mounts were large ponies, 14 hands or so. Great to just hop on and tool around the property. But I needed a barrel horse. In barrel racing, as in Thoroughbred racing, every pound counts. We consider the weight of the saddle, and the stirrups; even the weight of the shoes. I knew he’d be fine for regular riding, but how fast was he going to be able to go hauling my fat ass around the barrels? It would definitely be a handicap.

Then I had an idea. The new one, who we named Steel, could be Kelly’s horse. Kelly is sixty pounds lighter than me so they’d be a better fit. Kurt could repossess his horse from the kid, and the second new one we got would be mine. But not now. I wasn’t ready for the additional expense and work of two new horses at once. Plus, I just wasn’t into it. I was too worried about my mother. So I’d keep riding Steel, make sure he was solid for Kelly, and if all went well, we’d make the switch in the summer and buy another one for me then.

But, as my mother always says, God works in mysterious ways…

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Frances (Cookie) Kelly

My father Bob Kelly, mother Cookie Kelly, and family friend Johnny See

I lost my mother on April 19. I thought I knew what sad was. Turns out I never really felt sadness. Not quality sadness. I’ve felt depressed, down, anxious, worried, horrified, sorry, and bad. But now I know I’ve never really felt sad. Until now.