|"Boy I was real scared when Uncle Josiah went under
"I don't know JD, it kind of looked like fun. I think you'd have to take the saddle off first though. Uncle Josiah is still trying to get his dry."
"I want both of you boys to promise me you will not under any circumstances try such a ride."
"Ah, Uncle Ezra "
"No argument Vin, I want your solemn promise."
"I promise Uncle Ezra."
As a result of the dunking Bubba was deemed off limits to little boys. Chris and Buck were taking no chances. If JD or Vin had been on the big horse when he jumped it could have been really ugly. In order to remove any temptation Chris turned the buckskin out with the cows before heading into work on Monday.
About two o'clock that afternoon Chris got a call. The others happened to be in his office at the time. When busy Chris had a habit of putting calls on speaker. Once he identified the caller he either picked up or let the others hear. Gloria Potter's voice immediately had everyone's attention.
"Chris, I think you'd better come home."
"Gloria, what is it. Is Vin okay?" Chris dropped his pen leaning closer to the phone.
"The boys are fine, it's the cows." Gloria's tone sounded strange.
"What's wrong with the cows?"
"Well I thought he'd get tired and leave them be."
"Who'd get tired?" Chris gave the phone a frustrated look.
"That big horse in with the cows." Gloria paused and voices could be heard in the background. "Vin says his name is Bubba."
Josiah groaned letting his chin drop.
"What is he doing?" Chris asked, shooting a glare at Ezra and Buck who were both grinning like loons.
"He keeps circling them, the cows I mean." Gloria was no rancher she didn't really understand what she was seeing. "He won't let them eat or go anywhere. I tried to catch him, but he wouldn't let me near."
Josiah was now resting his head in his hands. Buck and Ezra were both having a hard time suppressing their laughter. Even Nathan thought it was funny.
"Someone will be out soon." Chris assured the worried housekeeper before hanging up. "Josiah."
"Yes Chris." The profiler looked apprehensive.
"Go get your cow herding horse out of the pasture. Put him in the barn for now."
"Uh sure Chris."
Over the next two days Bubba proved to be a very strange horse indeed. You couldn't leave him anywhere near a cow because he'd immediately try to herd the poor thing. Let him anywhere a large body of water and he was observed splashing in it like a kid. He loved kids, hated women and liked to chew on the fence. But it was his final bad habit that turned out to be the worst.
Josiah had come out to work with Bubba Wednesday evening. He had been riding the big horse around the upper pasture. They had been working together for about an hour when Bubba decided he'd had enough. Letting out a huge sigh he simply laid down, barely giving Josiah enough time to get off. Josiah stood and stared while Bubba indulged in a good roll, further damaging the barely dry saddle.
Chris having witnessed the entire thing started running toward the downed horse yelling. "Josiah, sit on his neck!"
Used to obeying his team leaders orders Josiah didn't hesitate, planting his not inconsiderable self on Bubba's neck. He then waited for Chris to finish crossing the pasture.
"Chris I don't think he's injured, why shouldn't I let him get up?"
Chris surveyed the horse with grim eyes. "Because if you let him decide when to get up he's won. So get comfortable, I want you to sit on him for a while. Once he's had time to think about it, you can let him up." Bubba didn't look too pleased. He now wanted up but couldn't lift his head.
Josiah looked thoughtful as Chris helped him to get in the best position to hold Bubba down without hurting him or getting Josiah kicked. He then pulled out his pocket bible and started to read. Seeing Josiah had it under control Chris started back toward the pasture. Buck, JD and Vin met him half way.
"Is Bubba deaded?" JD asked fearfully from Buck's arms. The expression on Buck's face said it all. JD was again worked up. Vin hadn't spoken but his eyes showed his own concern. Chris also noticed he was standing mostly on one foot, favoring the broken toe. With a deep sigh he reached out toward the son of his heart if not blood. Vin accepted the boost clearly happy to have a hug even if he wouldn't ask for one.
Making sure he had both boys attention Chris summed it up in a way both would easily understand. "Bubba is fine, he's in a timeout." He then glared at Buck who was having a hard time not laughing at Chris' phrasing.
"Was Bubba bad? Peso rolls in the dirt all the time." Vin didn't know horses could have timeouts.
"Peso doesn't do it when he's wearing a saddle or your riding him." Chris explained. "Bubba has to learn that when he's working he can't goof off. Come on, lets go back to the house and make some coffee for Uncle Josiah."
"I think Uncle Josiah would like a brownie too." JD said as they walked back. Vin snuck one more glance at where Uncle Josiah calmly sat reading.
"Bubba must have been really bad."
"Hey Vin look, the computer typed one word then changed it to another. Why's that?"
"I don't know JD. Uncle Ezra why did the computer do that?"
"Must of is bad grammar, the proper phrase is must have."
"Okay, Bubba must have been really bad cause Uncle Josiah made him take a long timeout."
An hour and a half hour later, Bubba was back in the barn, no worse for wear. Josiah had kept him on the ground for a good fifteen minutes before riding another hour. It seemed the timeout had worked. Bubba didn't try to lie down again. Josiah left pretty quickly after he got unsaddled. He still had a very thoughtful air about him.
Buck and Chris dealt with the evening ritual of baths, hugs and a story before meeting back in the kitchen. Buck waved a beer at Chris in a silent question. Neither man drank as much as they had before the boys entered their lives. But a cold beer sounded good that evening. Settling down at the kitchen table both men sat quietly for a bit, playing with their drinks more than anything. Finally Buck looked over at Chris.
"Heavy sigh, huh pard."
Chris' lips twitched slightly at Buck's use of Vin's new slang. "Nanu nanu to you to Buck."
Both men chuckled at bit.
"We can't keep him around the place." Buck finally voiced the fact he and Chris had been avoiding.
"I know, but how do I tell Josiah that." Chris sighed, running his hands through his hair. "He's not a bad horse for an experienced rider. If we didn't have the boys ."
"Yeah but we do have them and they're attracted to that big shiny goof." Buck pointed out. "What if it'd been JD or Vin on him? What if it's more serious next time and Josiah or Bubba gets hurt? JD's already had two pretty good frights. Even so, I caught him in the barn talking to Bubba yesterday. "
"It's gonna upset them if we sell him too." Chris sighed again. "But you're right, he's too dangerous to have around kids. I'll talk to Josiah in the morning."
The next morning Chris put off the discussion until almost lunchtime. By then the profiler had disappeared. When he returned after lunch Josiah was smiling. Hating the fact he had to do it, but resigned Chris was about to call the older man into his office when Josiah popped his head in.
"You got a minute?"
"Sure." Chris leaned back in his chair. "I needed to talk to you anyway."
"Yes," Chris leaned forward, trying to find the right words. "It's just, with the boys."
"Say no more." Josiah held up his hand. "I've been doing nothing but think about those boys since last night. Bubba has to go."
Chris felt the tension melt away. "You don't mind? I would normally never say anything, but."
Josiah again gently cut him off, "I saw how scared JD was last night. We both know that Bubba is never going to be safe for kids. I've already found him a new home."
"You did? How?" Chris was surprised.
"I called an old friend last night." Josiah explained. "He lives up in Loveland and is a member of the Sheriff's Posse up there. I remembered Jack saying that he needed a new horse. We had lunch today and I told him all Bubba's bad habits. He doesn't care, says that the horse is probably bored. He was more impressed with how Bubba reacted to the tests I ran before purchasing him. Especially the gunfire test. Says as a posse horse it's more important to be steady and big then anything. Pretty don't hurt either."
"What about the lying down?" As an experience horseman, Chris knew that was the most serious problem Bubba had.
"I told Jack what you had me do and he figures that probably broke him of the trick. If it didn't a couple more sessions should." Josiah sat back, smiling. "Bubba will have a useful and pleasant life with Jack. He takes good care of his horses, retires them to a pasture when they get too old to ride."
"I have to tell you I'm relieved." Chris said. "When can he come get Bubba?"
"Tomorrow night. Since that's Friday, I thought we could have everyone out to the ranch for a barbeque. Make it a going away party for Bubba." Josiah stood up. "Make his leaving less traumatic for the boys."
"That's a good thought." Chris agreed.
"Ezra came up with it."
"I'm gonna miss Bubba. Heavy sigh"
"Boys our equine friend is going to a very good home. In fact if you want to say goodbye it's time to wrap this up."
"Okay Uncle Ezra. Bye computer."
"Owe! JD you kicked my toe again."
"Are you alright Vin?"
"Yeah Uncle Ezra. It's just a heavy sigh, you know."
"Yes Vin, I am well acquainted with heavy sigh days."
Next: Head & Shoulders, Bees and Toes...
No horses were hurt in the creation of this fic or in real life. Yes there is a big ole buckskin named Bubba, but the only weird thing he does is play in the water.
The other accidents are based on real experiences that either happened to me or to someone I know.
I've seen the pond where, as a young man on a very cold morning, my Dad got the surprise of his life. He was riding the kid horse at a cousin's ranch not knowing the horse had been trained to dive off into the pond in the summer with kids on board. Both horse and my Dad survived the icy dunking with no complications.
I broke my Shetland pony of rolling using Josiah's method. I'd read about it in a book and at 10 was too stupid to know how dangerous it was. But hey she never rolled with me again.
The Larimer County Sheriff's Posse is a very cool organization. I know a couple of posse members and they are always looking for a good horse. Since I needed to get rid of Bubba at the end I decided he might as well go be useful. I do want to point out that my Jack is pure fiction.
In The Good Ol' Summertime (Index)