Baxter Black: Lesson from Bud’s dad
December 3, 2010
It is not uncommon for me, as a windy storyteller, to be asked, “Is that really true?”
“Well, of course,” I begin, “it’s true…I think.”
Mark Twain had a quote that seems to fit some of us elaborators. He said, “I have reached the age that the things I remember most clearly…never even happened!
Bud’s dad was a good horseman and he taught his boys to be good horsemen, as well. The boys rodeoed. As time went by they made their own lives but came back to Montana often to visit the folks. On one visit Bud and Dad went out to look at the horses. “Did I tell you about that paint horse I got from Buster Walls?”
“I don’t think so, Dad,” said Bud, “Does it have anything to do with your limpin’?”
“Yeah. It was the strangest thing. I had just made a little circle through the pasture and was comin’ round that gate by the creek and danged if I didn’t just slip off! Lit on my butt. Left a big ol’ bruise. I couldn’t believe it. Maybe I’m gettin’ old.”
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On Bud’s next trip home he and his dad were settin’ on the porch waitin’ for supper and Dad said, “Did I tell you about that paint horse I got from that dadgum Buster Walls?”
“No, I guess not,” said Bud, humoring his Pop.
“Well, I was trainin’ on him. I had him wore down and was bringin’ him back to the corral when we swung through that gate down by the creek when a pheasant spooked him and that spotted sucker pitched a fit! I wasn’t expectin’ it, of course, but, I mean, he throwed me into the post! Thank goodness I was wearin’ my hat or I’da been hurt a lot worse!”
Bud came home for Christmas and he and Dad found themselves mid-morning having coffee in the living room by the tree. “Did I tell you about that rank paint horse that Buster Walls fausted off on me?” asked Dad.
“No,” said Bud, feigning interest, “what happened?”
“I’d only had him a couple weeks but we were getting’ acquainted. I rode him out to check the well and when we were comin’ back, right down there by the creek where the gate is, KERZOWIE! That spotted snide bogged his head and blowed up! I mean it was Casey Tibbs all over! I hung in there but I got sideways and he pitched me into the board pile! I mean splinters went everywhere! Lucky all I hurt was my ribs. Yeah. And you know I can still ride’m, but he got me that day.”
Bud was back for the branding in April. Dad drove him out to see the cows.
“What’s new?” asked Bud.
“Did I tell you about that man-killing’ bronc, that paint horse Buster Walls stuck me with?”
“Yeah, nearly broke my hip, I had took him out to the junipers, gave him a good work out and we were comin’ in but when we hit the creek by the gate KERZOWIE! He came unglued! I mean he stuck his nose in the dirt and went to buckin’! Well, I laid into him, you know I can, but he bucked across the creek like he was auditioning for the Finals! Then he wiped me off on the gate post, left me in the mud. I’ll tell ya, Son, he’s one crooked booger.”
Dad sat back with a sigh and took a sip of coffee.
“Well, one thing for certain,” said Bud to his dad, “you keep tellin’ that story and one of these days you’re gonna get him rode!”