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I Will Never Be a Cowboy
by Elaine Littau
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The average person may think that by the time a man has passed his fiftieth year all childhood dreams would have dissipated. Not so. I have discovered through the thirty-three years of marriage to Terry that old dreams die hard...very hard.
Since we have a few acres of land relatively close to town, a couple of friends asked if they could board their horses on our place. We were happy to do it. Our hopes were to learn a few things about caring for horses along with learning how to ride them.
I was a little sceptical when I heard the term "green broke" but the horse seemed docile when he was fed so we grew attached to the beautiful paint. Terry learned how to put the hackamore on him and rode him bareback on several occasions. Tramp is an old horse that really never finished his training but we felt relatively safe on his back. He did not want to go any faster than a walk. One evening the owner was out to work with Tramp. Her eight-year-old son had finished riding and she worked with Tramp on turns and put him through his paces. The sun was getting low on the West Texas horizon and Tramp was ready to be fed. Our friend asked Terry if he wanted to ride a little and he jumped at the chance to ride with the saddle.
Everything was going well and he waved at us on his third or forth lap around the pasture. Suddenly we heard shouting. We quickly stood and saw Terry going off the back of the horse. He got up on his hands and knees and fell down flat on his belly. Tramp ran wildly to the stable. I ran to Terry and he was up on his knees again looking for his glasses. In his thick southern accent he said, "Where are my glasses? They're my livelihood!"
I grinned as I looked on the ground for his glassed. "Your livelihood?"
"I gotta find my glasses, they're my livelihood."
"O.K., I'll help you find them." I said.
He then began asking questions and repeating the phrase about his glasses being his livelihood. "I'm confused. Did I fall off the front or the back?"
"The back." I said continuing to look in the tall dry grass.
"I gotta find my glasses. They're my livelihood!" He said the statement more frantically.
"Well, it's getting too dark to see anything. Go get a flashlight and we will leave it here to mark the spot you fell and we can look for your glasses in the morning." I said.
He went to his eighteen-wheeler that was parked at the edge of our property and retrieved a flashlight. He turned it on and began searching for the lost glasses. "I gotta find my glasses. They're my livelihood!"
"You have the safety glasses we got last month. You can wear those until we find these or get more." I reasoned with him.
"I do not have safety glasses!"
"You do too!" I said finally looking up at him in the dark.
"I'm confused. Did I fall off the front or the back?"
"I told you fifty times! You fell off the back!" I yelled jerking the flashlight from him and putting the beam up to his face.
"My glasses are my livelihood! I gotta find them!" He yelled.
My heart stopped when I saw blood all over his face. His nose was bleeding and I didn't know where the rest of the blood was coming from. My friend came running after she had unsaddled the horse and got him settled into the stable and fed.
"Terry, are you alright?" She asked.
"I'm confused. Did I fall off the front or the back?"
"Would you like to go get a coke in town?" She asked.
He grinned and said with a chuckle, "Sure!" He paused and said, "You are trying to trick me aren't you?"
"We just want you to come to town with us." I said.
"I just want to know if I fell off the front or the back." His bloody face was stern.
"At least let me wash your face and see what the damage is." I pleaded.
He finally went into the bathroom where we managed to get the blood off his face. It came from his nose-bleed. He had smeared it all over his face in his frustration. I asked him to go to the emergency room. He refused saying."I'm confused...."
I began to cry and didn't know what to do. Terry is a big muscular man and no one could get him to do anything he had his mind set against doing. I asked my friend to phone the pastor to come and help us reason with Terry. Fifty more times he posed the same questions. The eight-year-old was getting alarmed. He didn't understand why Terry wouldn't take the answers provided to him.
Finally the pastor and another man arrived at the door. When Terry saw them he began giggling like a school-girl. After asking them several times if he fell off the front or the back, they persuaded him to go to the E.R. with them.
The doctor looked into his eyes with a light and Terry asked, "Did I fall off the front or the back?"
The doctor smiled and said, "You have a concussion. You will be better by morning and you might have a bad headache, but you will be alright."
The next morning we were getting ready for church. He had almost quit asking the question. We went to the pasture and looked for the glasses that were his "livelihood" and after some time, found them perched on a high weed. Terry turned to me and said, "I guess this means that I will never be a cowboy!"
I had to laugh. I thought, "What are you, a five-year old?"

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Member Comments
Member Date
Judy Wilson 12 Apr 2008
This is wonderful, aside from the concussion part! 1 really enjoyed reading this. It brings back a lot of memories of when i first learned to ride.
Connie Allen 12 Apr 2008
Great story, held my attention all the way through. Thanks for sharing this. GOD BLESS YOU


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