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Get It, Whomp!

It's been four days since I've written a single word and I'm feeling a bit guilty. I don't even know what I will be writing about today, just that I know I need to sit down at the computer with the intention of writing something for those of you who continue to check my blogs daily. I'm sorry to have disappointed you lately, I've been a bit busy elsewhere.

I'll make this one worth your while.

I'll never forget the day my Uncle came to visit and wanted to cook for us. He was a truck driver and hardly ever got time in from the road. He and my mother were extremely close in their youth and very much loved one another even in adulthood. Still, certain things had changed. They no longer believed it was fun to throw chewed gum at one another hoping it would stick in the others hair. Well, Mom didn't anyway. Mom hadn't ridden a horse in many years and my Uncle hadn't had to run from one since then. Uncle Mike couldn't walk on his hands anymore, but he could still ride for a mile and a half on nothing but the back tire of a bicycle. Mom had finally learned how to cook durring her marriage to my father, but still didn't have the patience to teach us too much.

Uncle Mike decided he was going to teach my brother and I how to make Spaghetti. He boiled the water and threw the noodles into the pot after breaking them in half and continued a conversation with my mother about one horse they had as a kid. Uncle Mike wasn't crazy about horses as my Mother was, and in fact, still isn't wild about any animals to this day. I personally believe that's because of his days as part of the road crew who cleaned up road kill in the 70's and 80's - I can only imagine that would numb someone to the emotional experience of loosing a pet, or even loving one to begin with.

The horse they were discussing was Whomp. It's an odd name for a horse, I'll admit, but Whomp, by all accounts, was a brilliant horse. All anyone would have to do is lean over in the saddle, get as close to Whomp's ears as possible and whisper to him "Get it, Whomp!" and the horse would take off like it had been smacked with a dozen switches at once. He tore off through valley and vale, over fences and logs, through brambles and briars, never slowing and never faltering until the reigns were pulled back. Mom had, on many occasions, told us of Uncle Mike begging to go for a ride just down the lane to a friends house. Mom hated having to taxi him around like that because she had wanted to go in another direction. As penance, she would sit my Uncle, her younger brother, on the back of the horse just behind the saddle. She would ride properly for a while, not much more than a walk. Finally, he would say something smart to her about crawling along at the speed of an earth worm, and she would stand up in her stirrups. He always knew then to hang on for dear life. She leaned over towards the horses ears and whispered, and Whomp would take off with a cloud of dust behind him like a thick fog that had gathered dirt. More than once my Uncle was left sitting on the ground behind, hurting from the bottom and bruised a bit in the ego. He would stand up and continue on his way on foot. My mother would begin to feel bad and would circle back around. She would entice him to get back on the horse and he would always turn her down. Once or twice she managed to talk him into it and would give him a proper ride the rest of the way there.

When Whomp was new to the family, he was as gentle as a lamb. The family instantly fell in love with him. My Grandfather was an amazing animal trainer, and had he been known outside of the small town where they lived in rural Arkansas, there likely would have been a book or two written about this small, frail man who embodied so much more than his stature would have you believe. He was what many people today would consider to be a Horse Whisperer. But this Horse Whisperer had threee small children to look out for and wouldn't keep a violent horse or dog on his property. This was widely known.

One day my Grandfather came walking through the field to the house. My mother watched from a distance and when she realized he was limping, she ran to fetch her mother and brothers. All four stood in the window of the living room with the lace curtains swept off to the side, peering out of the window. The smudge marks on the glass from their four matching noses would have made anyone else laugh. My Grandfather limped to the house. My mom's oldest brother ran out to lend him a hand up the creeky wooden steps and my Grandmother held open the door. They walked him to the dining room table and sat him in an old, stained, cracked and abused wooden chair that groaned under his 98 lb body. He began to roll up his pant leg to reveal a horse shoe print on his thigh larger than his own face. Whichever horse it was had to have been huge. Grandma got some ice for the swelling, and the kids gathered around in the other chairs.

"Daddy" asked my mother, all of about 8 years old at the time, "which one done it?" All three kids and my Grandmother sat on pins and needles waiting. They knew whichever horse it was, Grandpa would go shoot it as soon as he could walk without needing a cane.

"It was Whomp" he said. All three kids and even his lovely wife started to cry big, fat tears of sorrow.

"You aren't gonna kill him, are ya Daddy?" My mother asked the question they all wanted an answer to.

"Aw, Hell Naw," he stated in aggrivation. "I kicked em' first!"

At the end of telling this story, my crazy Uncle reached into the boiling pot of Spaghetti noodles and picked one out. He then threw it against the wall and watched it stick.

It stayed there for several minutes before he finally pulled it down and said "I think the S'ketti is done. You know it's done with the noodles stick." Then, he held the noodle up to his mouth and slurped it in. "Yep, it's done."


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