This partic-ular evenin’, me’n and the big boys, Lawrence and Linc, we near missed it. Daddy’s mount, ol’ Jeb, or Jebadiah when he’s feelin’ ornery, he went and threw a shoe whist we three was runnin’ ’em out ‘fore puttin’ ’em in for the night. Ain’t no “run hard and put away wet,” sitiation, though. Know better’n that, we do. And that’s not what we done. We take right good care o’our stock, we do. Lot’s o’ reasons. It’s the right thing, number one. Number two, horses is an investment in work and loyalty. These here mounts ‘r near almost comrades.
‘Course, number three is, Daddy’d like to tan our hides, we don’t treat ’em right.
So, way I see it, ol Jeb must ‘o caught his hoof on some root or clump. Could o’come up lame, way he pitched and stumbled. I give him his head and he self-corrected, like a good horse is apt to do. We got hisself tucked in and dried off and calmed, but findin’ the shoe in all that stiff grass, then a’hammerin’ it back into something like right, well, that took a spell.
Wouldn’t do tellin’ Daddy we’d near lamed up his horse without at least attemtin’ to make things right.
We salved and cupped Jeb’s foot in a mercenary boot, laced clean to his knee or thereabouts, right good protection till morning and we could, one of us, do a proper job of re-shoing the ol’ feller.
So when we boys made our way back inside, troopin’ one behind t’other, Grandpap and the whole rest of the Goodwell clan, they was cozied up in the front room, givin’ us not even a glance.
First thought, they, all them Goodwells less Linc and Lawrence and me, was gathered ’bout the RCA Victor radio Grandpap treasured, listenin’ to one o’them dramas we enjoyed so, ‘er maybe the ‘Opry. I’d promised myself, in one o’them chest-expandin’ moments of deep in-tro-spection, I’d be one of them singers a’croonin’ or a’wailin’ on the other side o’ them tubes one day. And I will, jest you wait and see!
But I digress.
‘T wudn’t not radio show this evenin’. No. We was havin’ our reg’lar family enclave and for this, I plum near jumped fer joy, ‘cept I didn’t.
Reckon now wudn’t the time to tell Daddy. That would just be rude. And Grandpap, he was already pitchin’ fore and aft in his rocker, rockin’ like a house afire, eyes blazing and racin’ hot.
Don’t know ’bout you, ‘r Linc and ‘r even Lawrence, but it just felt like interuptin’ to me.
“Boys.” he acknowledged us finally. We nodded, then found our favorite spots, mine just behind the back edge of the divan saved for company come. Daddy follered us with a suspectin’ squint. He always could sniff trouble, but lucky for us, Grandpap took back control of the situation.
“There here is the time of year, yes sir, all wet fall leaves and cold heavy air a’mistin’ here and ever’ place, when Dep’ty Meyer P.D. Higham come rushin’ up the hill to the house, a’shoutin’, leapin’ nearly out the po-lice car ‘fore the wheels stopped a’spinnin’!”
The rockin’ commenced faster and stronger, like he was a’headin’ for glory! Eyes all glazy, lookin’ back at a picture in his head 20 some odd years prior.
“Remember it like ’twas yesterdee, I do,” then, focusin’ on all o’us kids, one by one, “I ever give you that ex-po-sition? ‘Bout ol’ P.D. hightailin’ up to save our ‘shine from the revenuers?”
Mama n’ Daddy, they jest shook they heads, still with smiles ticklin’ the edges of their mouths. And Daddy, after all, he was there, and could easy as pie tell his own side of this tale, this tale of loyalty and illegality and a race against the tragedy of the potential loss of self-proprietry.
No, he’d leave the tellin’ to Grandpap.
Sidelong glances over to Linc and Lawrence decided it for all of us. Now was clear not the time to tell Daddy ’bout ol’ Jebadiah.
And Grandpap, praise be, he commenced to the tellin’.