For those who’d like to donate to a worthy charity, may I suggest the MFTTF, the Misfit Farmer’s Tractor Tire Fund. All contributions go directly to my bank account, which has been depleted this summer by the disintegrating structural integrity of rubber on my farm. It’s got to the point that I now look at the Amish’s horse-drawn implements with envy, and I have a lifelong fear of horses.
Of course, my wife dismisses equinophobia. Years ago, when we purchased her old family farmstead, she was actually excited that Ringo, a Missouri Foxtrotter, was thrown in for free and ridiculed my general life philosophy that “All horses should be feared, and free horses should be feared always.”
Haunting me were childhood memories of my cousins’ lunatic steeds: Red, Pepper, and the pony (I forget the pony’s name, though its memories are largely the most traumatic). But I do remember the pony rearing and galloping full speed toward a barbed wire fence with my wailing cousin atop. She looked like a miniature Annie Oakley. At one point, her cowboy hat, attached by chinstraps, fully deployed like a parachute and was the only thing slowing the runaway pony. Soon thereafter, my cousin toppled off the side, and the pony skidded to halt in front of the fence, which at that point was the best possible outcome.
I’m not sure whatever happened to that pony—I lost touch with it after it nearly killed my cousin, but I suspect it was probably donated to another family who needed a good free pony.
Unlike the pony, Big Red and Pepper occasionally proved trustworthy enough for excursions outside their pasture. Though I have no particular horror stories of Pepper, the frequent warning “Never walk behind Pepper” still reverberates in my mind. So much so, the pepper shaker stays hidden in a cabinet, lest I walk past the kitchen table and flinch.
Once, my family took Pepper and Big Red on a horseback-riding trip to Sugar Loaf Mountain. Sugar Loaf was really more mound than mountain, but being in the coastal plain where everything was flat, the abnormal increase in elevation achieved mountain status. I viewed much of the surrounding countryside while performing a full split atop Big Red who was intent on wandering wherever he pleased, his jockey experiencing too much paralysis to control the reins. To continue his journey unencumbered, Red eventually reared up and dropped me off on a pine tree.
I’ve never been on a horse since, but at this point horse shoes seem a lot cheaper than tractor tires.
10 thoughts on “Never Walk Behind Pepper”
Inquiring minds want to know: why NOT walk behind Pepper?
Well, from the stories I heard, pepper would have made a good kicker for a football team.
Most of us are having an out-of-money experience, too. When you go to the store things are 3x the price you paid 2 years ago.
So I started residing my house two years ago (still not finished, sigh). When I started osb was 7 a sheet. Now it is 44. 6x higher, ugh.
That is insane!
I knew we had more in common than just writing blogs. As a teenager working on a farm, I was shoveling out a horse stall when a big corn snake crawled in. The horse went out of its mind and it was between me and the exit. My friend had to help pull me through the hay doors. I laugh about it now, but I got banged up pretty good. As one non-horse fan to another – funny article.
That sounds like my worst nightmare–a snake and horse with me in close quarters.
Don’t the things work horses pull also have wheels and tires? I’m not sure you’d be getting away any less expensively!
Point taken. Also, I’m pretty sure horse-quality hay costs more than diesel, so maybe I should just stick to tractors.
Any animal that’s bigger than I am generates a vast amount of wariness. All right, let’s call the emotion by it’s true name: sheer terror.