Sunday, March 03, 2013

This is Home, Part 7 - Plowing with Japie, Little Tony, Grandpa, Buster and Rowdy, Tony

This is part 7 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

Plowing with Japie

The garden near the ice house was the one where I "helped" Daddy plow sometimes when I was little. Daddy had a single plow and was walking behind it with the reins (long ones) fastened around behind his neck. He would have to remove a hand from the plow to pull the reins and try to keep Japie (Jap-ee) off the rows of garden plants. Japie came to us with that name. Daddy always asked the names of horses he bought so they would hopefully respond. I think he had Japie for a long time. I keep thinking she was around thirty. I might be wrong, maybe she was only in her late twenties. She was old, didn't hold her head up very high, and didn't really care where she slowly walked. Daddy was back there yelling "Gee!" (go) and then "Haw!" (stop).

When I asked if I could ride, he put me on her, put the ordinary reins in my hands and said to pull on the opposite rein to keep her off the garden.

I didn't have a lot of luck, but I helped some. After awhile I told him I was hungry, so we both went in for a peanut butter and cracker snack. Then back to the garden.

Little Tony

Daddy bought me a little Shetland pony when I was little, probably around seven. There was a bright red buggy with him and a little saddle. His name was Tony, so we called him Little Tony, because Daddy already had a saddle horse named Tony. Little Tony was so beautiful. He was white with black spots. He had tiny little feet, and white eyelashes. He was also really stubborn. I did better with him when someone was there.

One time I rode him when no one was around. He took me up the road and refused to turn when I tried to turn him. He only turned his head. Daddy, Uncle Doc and Charley came home for dinner (lunch) and Charley came running up the road after me. I was almost to the neighbor's house when Charley came and turned him around. I was really worried by then. I was wondering if I would break anything or if the pony would walk on me if I just slid off.


Grandpa must have noticed. He was staying with us for awhile. He was the only grandparent I ever knew. He was Henry Albert, Mom's father. Her mother died when Mom was eleven and Aunt Opal was a young baby. Mom said her mother had to stay in bed for a long time. Her mother died with kidney failure. Mom's older sister had married and moved to Colorado, so Mom took care of her two younger sisters, Edith and Opal. Mom said when she went to school, she had to carry Opal along, because there was no one to watch her. Mom had a hard time. She washed clothes, fixed meals, took care of the house and helped raise her sisters. Aunt Opal always called Mom her "sister mother."

Grandpa had a mustache and was a very kind man. He used to sit on the back porch and talk to us.

Buster and Rowdy

When the pups got larger, Daddy or someone gave part of them away, but Jean kept one and I kept one. We couldn't think of good names. We showed them to Grandpa. He came up with names. Jean's dog was Rowdy (it looked like a police dog) and mine was Buster. Buster looked like Old Yeller in the movies.

Grandpa died when I was in the sixth grade. He didn't survive an operation at Kirksville to restore kidney function.

My Aunt Joann died in her forties from kidney failure, also. She was Daddy and Uncle Doc's sister. She died before I was born. She had not married and lived at home with her parents and brothers. There was another sister, Mollie, who married a Dean and moved to Jacksonville. Mollie also died before I was born.


Oh, well, back to Tony, the saddle horse. Daddy went walking over in the pasture every night after the milk cows. I wanted to go, too. I was little and it was fun. However, my legs ached every night, and Mom was up rubbing them a good part of the night.

Then Daddy bought Tony, a saddle horse. No more leg aches. Every night we went riding on Tony. He had such a nice gait -- about as easy as a rocking chair. Tony had definite ideas, though. When Daddy put him in the barn and gave him food and water, he tried to kick the barn door down. Daddy turned him loose in the pasture next to the barn lot. That's the pasture where we had cute little colts every spring.

Anyway, it had two or three other horses in it. Tony went over, backed up and kicked them. Daddy had to move the other horses out into the big pasture. There was only a well there with a big wooden trough, while the pasture where Tony was going to be staying in solitary splendor had a nice big pond.

We went along for quite a few weeks riding Tony after the cows.

Then one day, Daddy got a different horse for us to ride. It was not a saddle horse and didn't have the nice gait. I kept asking for Tony, and saying he rode nice and this one didn't.

After about three nights, Daddy and Uncle Doc got in the car to go somewhere. I asked them where they were going. Daddy said, "Down the road a piece." I wanted to go, too, but they wouldn't let me and drove off.

That night when we went after the cows, Tony was back. I was delighted. I found out later that Daddy had sold Tony to the man who frequently bought livestock from us. I think Tony was going to be auctioned off. Anyway, Daddy had gone and bought him back. He had to pay more than he had received when he sold him. Wasn't that nice of him to get him back? I had a really special Daddy.

Years later, after we moved to the farm by the highway, Tony came to the fence one time. Stephen and David wanted to feed him and we didn't have anything with us, so we pulled out some grass and they gave it to him. He died on the farm when he got old. He lived longer than both Daddy and Uncle Doc.

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