"???? JD watch out. You kicked my toe crawling in the chair."
"It's okay, heavy sigh."
"Can we tell about Uncle Josiah's really dumb horse now?"
"Bubba isn't really dumb JD. Uncle Josiah was trying to ?????? him."
"Look the computer don't know that word."
"I believe Vin means redeem not ???????."
"Thanks Uncle Ezra."
"You are most welcome Vin."
"I ???? talk now, please?"
"Hey is didn't know what ???? is."
"That is because ???? is not a word. The correct phrase is, I want to."
"It knew before."
"Yes but I have changed the grammar filter. It will help Vin with his phrasing."
"Oh, so can I?"
"Yes go ahead JD."
"Well what do you think?" Josiah asked indicating the horse he'd just unloaded. "His name's Bubba."
"He's got good conformation." Chris said, walking around the golden buckskin. He stepped close to the horse's right front shoulder. Running a hand down the well-muscled leg he gave a tug. Bubba obediently bent his knee allowing Chris to check the hoof. When Chris stood up the big horse turned and rubbed his head against Chris' chest leaving tiny white hairs from his blaze all down the shirt front.
"He seems real friendly." Buck laughed.
"Okay so what's wrong with him then?" Chris asked as he tried to brush tiny hairs off his shirt. They showed up well on the black.
"Why would anything be wrong with him?" Buck asked.
Chris didn't say anything just shot Josiah a 'tell him' look.
"I paid $800 for him." Josiah looked uncomfortable.
"Whew." Buck whistled under his breath. A big strong horse like Bubba, still fairly young should have sold for at least $1500. More if he had papers. "So what is wrong with him?"
"The girl selling him just said she was desperate." Josiah looked at his new purchase thoughtfully. "I rode him for an hour. Drug stuff around, waved my coat over his head, even shot my pistol off. Nothing bothered him."
The three men studied the placid horse suspiciously. The slamming of the back porch screen door could be heard heralding the arrival of JD and Vin. Finally Bubba showed some interest in the world around him. Stretching out his nose towards the two boys he nickered eagerly.
"Hey Uncle Josiah."
"Hey Uncle Josiah."
The boys skidded to a stop. Ringo and Elvis plopped down at their sides panting happily.
"Is this your new horse?" JD was dancing in place. He thought the golden horse was beautiful with it's black mane and tail.
"Yes JD, this is Bubba." Josiah indicated the buckskin who was trying to reach the boys.
"Thank you. Vin, what do you think?"
"Are you getting rid of Qunicy?" Vin asked cautiously.
"No." Josiah hastened to reassure. "I just thought it might be nice to have an extra horse for when we go camping and stuff. I got a really good deal for him."
Vin relaxed, smiling now that he knew Quincy wasn't going anywhere. "He's nice."
"Do you and JD want to ride him to the barn?" Josiah asked.
Chris opened his mouth to object even as Buck was swinging JD up onto Bubba's back. Seeing the huge grin on Vin's face as he waited to be lifted he stopped. More and more he and Buck were raising normal little boys. The old Vin would have waited to see if it was okay with everyone first. This Vin just reacted. Chris didn't want to discourage that. Once the two boys were on Josiah led off towards the barn. Buck and Chris walked along side ready to grab the boys if they fell. After a careful sniff of both boys Bubba followed Josiah's lead placidly. Elvis and Ringo brought up the rear rolling and playing as they went.
At the barn the three men subjected Bubba to a more in depth inspection. Finally Chris stepped back, shaking his head. "I can't find any physical reason why he went so cheap."
"Guess we should stop looking a gift horse in the mouth." Buck grinned at his tiny joke.
"Does that mean we can ride him again?" JD asked eagerly. He had waited more or less patiently while the men examined Bubba. Vin had Peso so JD thought the new horse should be his.
"Sorry Lil Bit." Buck scooped him off the stall door. "Until we know him better, only adults ride Bubba."
JD pouted a bit until Vin wanted to play on the swing set. Boys and pups happily ran off.
Bubba was turned out in the small corral. The next day being Saturday plans were firmed up for a group ride and Josiah left.
Nathan and Ezra greeted the new horse with varying degrees of interest the next day. Nathan thought he might make a nice mount for Rain the next time they went riding. Ezra agreed with Chris that for $800 something had to be wrong. Despite that the ride went well. It was on the way back that the first of Bubba's quirks made itself known
At the upper end of the horse pasture there was a small but deep pond. Going out they had ridden by it on the low side. Coming back the group headed down the other trail that ran along the top of a small hill overlooking the pond. As Buck and JD started down the small rise intending to circle the pond Josiah and Bubba topped it. The only warning Josiah got was when Bubba threw up his head and snorted. The next thing everyone saw was the big horse loping off the top of the rise, diving straight into the pond. Horse and rider made a huge splash.
"JOSIAH!" Chris yelled, the vision of the older man going under the water horse and all was rather alarming. His brain immediately came up with several scenarios, all bad. Urging Pony down the hill at a less than safe pace he could hear Nathan behind him. Ahead JD was screaming something about angels. Chris reached the lower bank to find Bubba swimming for the bank Josiah miraculously clinging to his back. Climbing out the big horse shook happily, almost unseating his slightly dazed rider. Chris and Nathan dismounted hurrying over to steady their slightly drowned friend.
"Josiah, are you all right?" Nathan urged the older man off glaring at the now placid Bubba. As the others gathered around Nathan checked him over. Chris moved back to stand next to Peso.
"I don't want Uncle Josiah to go to the angels." JD wailed from Buck's arms. He'd had a front row seat for Josiah's plunge and disappearance. A terrifying sight to young eyes.
"It's okay JD. Josiah isn't going to the angels." Buck tried once again to reassure. It was clear that JD was to far gone in his fear to hear.
Vin still hadn't said a word just stared with wide eyes. Chris wrapped an arm around his waist feeling the slight tremors. Tightening his grip he pulled the slight figure into his arms. Vin still didn't say anything but he did accept the comfort, burrowing closer to Chris. Head on Chris' shoulder he watched Nathan and Ezra check Josiah over.
If anything could help Josiah shake off his dunking quicker, the sound of JD's sobs did. Brushing off Nathan he moved a bit shakily to Buck's side. "It's okay JD, see I'm fine. Just a little wet." It took a couple tries before the words sunk in. When they did JD raised a tear stained face to study Josiah. With a glad cry he launched himself from Buck's arms.
"I'm glad you aren't with the angels Uncle Josiah."
Chris brought Vin over who, in a surprising display of emotion, reached out with one hand to touch Josiah's face. With a small smile he asked, "Heavy sigh Uncle Josiah?"
The words triggered a chain reaction through the adults sending them all off into laughter. Vin and JD shared a look sometimes there was just no understanding grownups.
In The Good Ol' Summertime (Index)