FEATURE — I know we’ve told our kids several times: There were only three stations on our TV set, and that’s only if you had a good antenna. But it is true. Our programming was severely limited, though at the time we had plenty of other things to keep us busy. And not the PlayStation or the Xbox.
After our chores were done, we spent our summer days fishing at the pond, catching crawdads at the creek, making some modification to one of the many tree houses we had in the neighboring woods or playing some type of sport.
One of my favorite shows growing up was “The Lone Ranger.” He ranked right up there with Batman and Superman. The closest thing we came to riding a horse, though, was mounting our pigs and riding them through the mud. There was also an older girl in the neighborhood who participated in local rodeos as a barrel racer. We thought she was pretty awesome.
Then it appeared one day. The field next to the pond in our neighborhood became the new home for the saddest-looking horse on the planet. The horse was old, had that deep sag in the middle and was clearly put out to pasture by whoever owned it. But one look at her, and we saw opportunity.
Soon our devious planning began. Scott, of course, was the ringleader. We involved the two Seymour boys, with Steve participating begrudgingly. And of course Jeff came along too. We did not have a saddle, but we had all seen the various westerns where the Indians would ride without saddles. We figured we could be just as successful.
So one Saturday evening we set out. Scott went first and rode the old nag for a few minutes. Others rode too. I can’t remember who or in what order, because nothing of note happened. I remember it was grand though. It wasn’t an old nag to us. We were riding Silver or maybe Trigger.
Then it was Steve’s turn. Now Steve Seymour was more often than not the voice of reason in our group. It often took several attempts to get him to participate. So getting him up on the horse was a major feat. Perhaps seeing the others ride without incident encouraged him.
Scott helped Steve up on the horse. Then something happened that had not been done with the previous riders. Jeff slapped the nag’s rump with a switch. All of a sudden, Steve was going much faster than any of the previous riders. He got about thirty yards before he landed with a thud on the ground.
It did not take long for us to catch up to him. He was groaning. He said that he thought that his arm was broken. Scott did his best to convince him otherwise, but the evidence was pretty clear: There was a bone protruding from the skin.
Now we were faced with another dilemma — creating a story that would be convincing enough to explain a broken arm. The only thing we could come up with in the short time it took to walk back to the Seymours’ house was that Steve ran into the garage while we were playing hide and seek. What?!? We were not sure Steve’s parents would fall for it. There was no interrogation, however, as they rushed Steve off to the hospital.
Fast forward 20 years later. We finally came clean to Steve’s parents. It turns out that their explanation of their son’s injury raised eyebrows. Doctors told them that this was not the kind of injury one would receive by “running into the garage.” But Steve didn’t crack. He stuck to the story. Steve’s mom was never completely convinced though.
We never rode the old nag again. She lived out the rest of her days in peace. It wasn’t exactly the “Hi-Yo Silver” that we expected, but it was a great adventure nonetheless. Except for Steve’s broken arm.
Darren Cole is a developing columnist and otherwise sports writer for St. George News. Any opinions given are his own and not representative of St. George News.
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