This Article is About
riding a horse
first horse
seeing stars
universal law
no doubt
bad idea
Mama's Mink
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Mama\'s Mink

And that’s when my head hit the tree. And I mean hard. Seeing stars hard. Bad headache hard. Hard!

Lying there—face to the ground—head hurting—I remembered thinking that this bad idea started a year earlier. I could not have been more than fourteen. A girl just a few streets away had a horse and I learned to ride. Well at least I thought I learned how to ride. And I fell in love with it—riding. But that meant that I had to have a horse.

“Dad, can I have a horse?”

No doubt you guessed his reply. “No! They cost money and keep costing money and then more money and then more.” Then Mom stepped in. Remember this was still the sixties….so Mom thought it through and asked Dad if he was still going to buy her a Mink coat. “Of course, he said, I promised.” She said buy a horse instead.

And so my first horse was named Mama’s Mink. She was supposed to be a Tennessee Walking Horse but I did not even know what that was. I also did not know that she had yet to be ridden….broken. Oh, of course I was told. But how hard could it be. You get on and tell the horse (her) what to do—and done. It should be that simple shouldn’t it?

So it began.

Luckily, one of the people at stables strongly suggested I wear a hard hat. I asked what that was and was told it was something you wear “just in case.”

I saddled up and got on. The next thing I remembered was the tree. A pine tree. Quite a large one actually. And it was the only thing between me and flying through the air for another one hundred feet.

You see Mama’s Mink took off at a Gallop. Bucking, Kicking, Twisting and Turning and then galloped some more……….and then stopped dead in her tracks.

I, of course did not.

Momentum seems to be a universal law of science that has nothing to do with riding a horse. But an object in motion—once in motion—does not stop until another law of science, like gravity, interferers.

Or a very, very large and very hard pine tree.

Mama’s Mink one—Jim Zero.

So now you know why I am as stubborn as I appear to be in my stories…I took a hard blow to the head…really hard. And I had a decision to make. Give up!! I had obviously never “broken” a horse before and it was doubtful that my head or hard hat could survive another blow.

Or I could try again.

Everyone watching was telling me to do the former. After all, I could hire someone else to train Her. Dad said that a horse would cost money and then more money and then more. And everyone said: Give Up!!

Or I could try again.

Or I could try again………

Boy, that tree was hard. My head hurt, Give up!!

Or I could try again.

I really could not make up my mind. So I looked Mama’s Mink straight in the eye. “I have to feed you—I have to clean your stall—I have to clean and brush you—I have to take care of you—and I am damn well going to ride you. So it’s up to you”…and we stared at each other…and stared some more. And then I got back on.

Some times when you fall off a horse you have to just get back on. And I have a box full of Blue Ribbons from years of Horse Shows to prove that at least sometimes getting back on works.

Mink never threw me again. Oh, she did kick me once or twice just to remind me she was the boss—but she never threw me again.

Some times when you fall off a horse you have to just get back on.

Some times when you fall you just have to get up, dust yourself off and go on.

Or you could just Give Up!!

So what’s it going to be…it’s always your choice…

Pray for me. Ill pray for you.


To tell you the truth—after forty something years of getting back up and going on……the tree wasn’t all that hard.

Street Talk

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