Monday, August 4, 2008

Memior- Rodeo Clowns

Though none of my siblings or I have rode a bull, we have experienced the thrill of jumping on an animal four times our weight and holding on for dear life, hoping to survive the ride and be crowned the rodeo king or queen.
Growing up we had four big sows’ (pigs) that peacefully resided in a muddy bog where they rolled and slept lazily all day. Talk about a life worth envying. My poor siblings and I would be slaving away at our chores, glaring at the pigs as the squished down a little deeper into the mud, oinking contently, their little eyes looking up at us mockingly and laughingly. They truly lived a life of ease and one day we decided that there carefree life was about to end…
On the morning that we had been pushed to the breaking point, we had finished our chores and had the whole day to play. The sun was shining that day but it had rained the days before so the ground was soggy but that didn’t matter, the more mud, the more fun. That was our motto.
As we decided what to play, one of us (I don’t remember who, it might have been Captain or Marshall) thought it would be fun to play rodeo…with the pigs. There were four kids and four pigs, the rules were simple: We each picked a pig, on the count of three we jump on the said pig; whoever stays on the longest (or survives) wins the rodeo title. Like the brilliant kids that we were, we weighed the consequences of our actions:
Good-There was soft mud to land on if we fell off
Bad- We were jumping on the backs of 400 lb pigs
Good- The pigs had it too easy, they needed a taste of real life
Bad- 400 lb pigs’ vs. less than 100 lb dumb kids
Good- It would be a good game, our old games were getting boring. We needed a new adventure.

The good won out and so like true rodeo cowboys we each pulled a pig’s name out of a hat. I pulled Miss Minnie who contrary to her name was the largest of the pigs. That’s ok; I was the eldest after all.
We quietly snuck around the electric fence surrounding the pigs, when we were all in position; I raised my hand and counted down to rodeo time. Three, two, one…We vaulted onto the backs of the sleeping pigs and grabbed onto what ever we could to stay on. There were a few things working against us that we hadn’t thrown into the pig rodeo equation.
1. The pigs were muddy which made them slippery and impossible to hang onto.
2. The pigs weren’t going to lay still enough for us to get a good seat, riding a bull would have been easier.
3. The pigs were fat and if they hadn’t been muddy we still wouldn’t have been able to hang on because our arms weren’t long enough to go around them.
4. That damn electric fence.
Need I say more?

The seconds between the countdown and the unseating of the four cowboys are still a blur to me. I remember landing on Miss Minnie, sliding to her side, trying to pull myself back up and then sliding back to her side. The moment we landed on the pigs all hell broke loose as they jumped up and began slipping and stumbling around the pig pen. I remember as I was holding on with all my might, my eye became level with Miss Minnie’s squinty, angry eye and I could see her little brain thinking of the worst way to make me suffer for interrupting her morning mud nap. Have you ever heard a pig squeal? It’s a high pitched, piercing, shriek; I have never heard anything to compare to the squeal of a pig until that day. The squeal of a pig will disturb you but the squeal of a kid landing on an electric fence will haunt you for the rest of your life. For on that day Miss Minnie decided that revenge wouldn’t be complete without the help of the electric fence. In a language that only pigs can understand, she told the two other pigs to head for the electric fence. Logan had already fallen off by this time, had rolled out of the way of the stampede and was trying to wipe the pig muck out of her nose and mouth. In a smooth motion that isn’t common in pigs, Miss Minnie sharply turned to the left and with a yelp; I landed hard on the ground and sunk into the deep mud. The air was knocked out of me as I lay on my back try to gulp in mouthfuls of oxygen and thanking my lucky stars that I was still alive. My moment of thankfulness was short lived as I felt a jolt of pain hit my back and run through my body. Unknowingly, I had been bucked off onto the electric fence with my feet lying in a puddle of mud and water; I had the perfect conductor for an out of body electrocution. Captain and Marshalls screams mingled with mine in an eerie harmony of pain. They too were trying to get off of the electric fence before another pulse of power, meant to shock a horse or cow, coursed through they're bodies. The mud was so thick and deep, it took two or three pulses before we were able to pull ourselves out of the suction from the mud. Our little bodies, quivery from the effects of being shocked, were so tired from having to fight so hard for our lives. We laid on the outside of the pig pen covered in goo (a combination of mud and pig crap) for about 20 minutes as the pigs rolled in the mud and relaxed in the shade, their eyes once again looking at us, laughing and daring us to try again. We never did. There was no rodeo winner that day, only four broken cowboys.


gigi said...

I'm still amazed that each of you lived to adulthood. Your stories scare and amuze me. Thanks.

I need to know how you met Nate.

Jocelyn said...

I love your memiors! I wish I had time to sit down and write a few of my own, though my life certainly hasn't held as much adventure as yours --except maybe after I met you!

As much as I love your memiors, I thought you got a camera? And I thought you were going to start posting pictures besides pictures of bruises you got at a rodeo. I'm waiting!

Washington Cowgirl said...

I have a camera but not a computer to download pictures. I can't use my work computer (the one I'm currently using), so for now I'll just post other peoples pictures and what I can get off my camera phone.
Love ya!

Cindy Judd said...

I love your stories, Haley. I'm with Gigi, how did you survive your growing up?

Betty Jo said...

I would like to know how your parents made it through!!!