My Funniest Day

My funniest moment was the day I made a cowboy angry. It was a couple of years ago, when I still lived in Texas. I was helping to move a pile of wood at the ranch I rode at. The mares loved to climb and trip over our pile of wood that we needed for the upcoming project, a new tack barn. They loved even more to taunt Lakota, our eldest stallion, and prance around his pen. The logic behind the wood pile was that the mares would not try to get near Lacota if the wood was in their way.
Since the mares decide that they could do anything, including hurt themselves, the task for the ranch hands that day was to move the pile, again. Big Ashley and I worked well together; she would tell me what to do and I would do it. Big Ashley was lovingly called “Big” Ashley. She actually had a thin frame, but she was the tallest of the three Ashleys at our ranch so she was dubbed Big Ashley. The other two were Ashley, and Midget.
It was during our fourth, and final, load of wood that I saw Jamie, the soldier- cowboy home on R&R (Rest & Relaxation), just standing there. I stopped, grabbed a small piece of wood, and threw it at his chest, saying “Help us” as it flew. When I say ‘at his chest’ I say that loosely. I do not have the greatest aim in the world, and throwing wood against a breeze, even a calm one, is not best of ideas. When that piece of wood hit his chin, I knew I had gotten the cowboy angry. I walked quickly over to him, apologized a lot, and asked him if he was ‘okay’. He waved me off, not ready to talk yet, whether out of anger or pain, I do not know. I then rushed back to Big Ashley and the wood. If I learned anything on that ranch, it was to not stay nearby an angry cowboy for too long. I have never felt bad for hitting him, but that lesson taught me not to stay near him.
Once the wood was in its new location, Big Ashley sent me off to check Lakota’s water. I willingly did as I was told. His water was clear, excluding some horse slobber, and three-quarters of the way full. I was concerned because it was a hot day, so I called him out from under his shade. I was not allowed in his stall, so that was the best I could do. When he had gotten close, he stuck his wet, slobbery chin through the fence and gave me a large slobber spot on my cheek. When he decided I was thoroughly covered, he drank some water.
As soon as I was satisfied that he drank enough, and had refilled his water bucket, I walked away from his pen towards the people pen. At this particular ranch, the horses run free, excluding the stallions, and there was a pen set aside so that people could sit, or stand, in the shade without getting thoroughly examined by the curious horses. The head instructor, Ms. Tracie, was five feet tall, my height, and pudgy. Her size did not account for her attitude, when she was certain of something she would let you know, and she was typically right. In my opinion, that was one of the things that made her one of the best riding coaches I have had in my life.
As I neared the gate to the people pen, I saw Ms. Tracie, Big Ashley, and Jamie sitting on the benches, with Chalupa, a tiny Chihuahua and local ranch dog, at their feet. All of them, including the dog, were grinning. I could tell something was up, but I let it go because their smiles were contagious and I was smiling right along with them. My smile soon faded.
Before I could even close the gate behind me, I was attacked! Ms. Tracie and Big Ashley had a hold of my arms, but Jamie could not get a hold of my feet. I stood my ground well, until Jamie came up with the brilliant idea to tickle me. He knew me too well! My legs buckled as I started to laugh, ad before I knew it I was being carried out of the people pen and around the other side. As soon as the commotion started, Chalupa began yipping, yapping, and barking in our direction.
“What are you doing?” I yelled between breathy laughs.
“You’re goin’ in the trough, Aggie.” Ms. Tracie said, adding the nick name she had given me on the end. I knew that a head dunking in the pool was the ‘punishment’ for saying the “c” word (can’t or cannot), but it was not camp week, and I had not said the “c” word. I don’t deserve this, I thought.
Once my punishment for accidentally hitting Jamie with wood on his chin was revealed to me, Jamie had a tough time keeping a hold of my kicking legs. He lost his grip of my left leg once, and I purposely aimed for his chin this time, but his regained his grip before my brown leather boot connected with his black stubble chin. Almost right after that, we made it to the trough. I yielded to Big Ashley, and gave her my silver flip phone and black wallet. Then time froze, although just for a second. I splashed down into the cold water. It was refreshing at first, that was until I got some hay in my mouth when I went up for air. The horses may have liked it, but old, wet hay does not taste good.
When they decided I was thoroughly soaked, I was allowed out. I was not very quick walking up the hill to the ranch house, due to the fact that it felt like I was walking through a shallow pond with thick mud at the bottom. Jamie stuck behind, joking around with me, which made me happy he wasn’t bad at telling jokes (don’t tell him though.) While the comedian cowboy stuck behind with me, Big Ashley and Ms. Tracie went ahead to get towels and to start the truck. Since I was still soaked, I was told to get in the bed of the truck. After Jamie and I were sitting securely on the toolbox, him with his cowboy hat and me wrapped in a towel, Ms. Tracie drove down to the gas station at the end of the long, hilly road.
I was forced to wait outside, in my towel, in the shade, on the toolbox, still soaking wet. Although it was still sweltering outside, I got a single shiver down my spine. Just then, the trio came out with a grocery bag of ice cream. We all rode back in the same positions. When I tried to get out of the truck, I had to get help because my jeans were not stretchy at that point. Of course, it was Jamie that came to my aid, and led me to the bench at the end of the sidewalk. His baby talk told me that I was forgiven, so I threw a light punch at his chest. That almost sisterly love could have hurt a girl, but he brushed it off, literally. We had become almost like siblings in the time we had gotten to know each other, so this had become normal.
He walked in and came out with ice cream in a ceramic bowl, and gave me a plastic spoon and a plastic water bottle over filled with water. Then I watched the sun begin to move lower in the sky on that odd and funny day.