Friday, May 10, 2019

I Always Learn the Hard Way.

It was a nice evening. Dusk had eaten the shadows and all but the last bit of color over the peak. There was no wind, the birds had quieted down, the dogs were tired and the monotone from the  fence charger was flat and gray as the twilight.

I still limped from a smacked knee earlier in the week, but overall I was feeling pretty frisky. The day was about over, everybody was fed, and once I turned off the water, chores were done. It was hard not to dawdle, morning and evening animal care was about my only break from caring for my husband, Jim. I leaned against the stock tank and enjoyed the cool down as the night deepened. Brockle sat next to me, and nudged my leg a bit to remind me it was time for my meds.

The horses flew around the corner of the barn and about ran into me. They snorted, bucked and farted as they whipped past, then ran to the back corner of the corral and huddled together.

"Look at them watching the barn," I told Brockle, "I wonder what got them so riled up."

Right then my two littlest dogs broke out with their shrieking, yowling, godawful bark, and my peaceful interlude was done. They didn't quit, if anything, their yappy howls went another four or five octaves closer to glass shattering pitch. Good God, they must have the cat trapped in the barn. I cut across the corral to go pull them off, still walking, but kicked up to what I consider a jog these days.
I came around the back of the barn and started to yell, the damn heathens were tearing at something between them.

"Leave it you little bastards! If you kill the cat I'm having me a squeaky dog barbecue, that's for sure." Then, I walked up to scruff them and yank them off the cat when instead  I walked right into a rattler of respectable size coiled in the dust. The cranky thing struck at the sound of my voice.

I'd love to tell you I yipped, whipped out my six shooter and shot him, but instead I jumped at least eight feet backwards. I might have yipped  bit, oh all right, I screamed like my little brother at eight, when I caught him with a Penthouse. At the top of that jump, I managed to take a moment and admire how agile I was. Look at the air I'm getting, damn, I've still got it. Then, of course, I landed. I heard felt something give in my knee, it buckled and I fell flat on my face, not two feet from that damn snake. Dammit.