Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 15

This entry is part 15 of 19 in the series Crazy

Chapter 15

It was Saturday morning. A week had gone by since Jim had taken Elly May up Dead Horse Gulch. A lot had happened this last week and a lot more could happen in the next. He might even get married!

He was doing his morning chore taking care of the water on the meadow. He stuck the shovel in the ground and sat down on the ditch bank. He had just finished plugging that gopher hole again. The next time he came here he would bring a trap.

He had worked up a sweat. A few minutes rest seemed to be in order. He spread his lanky frame on the grass and looked up at the sky.

It was as blue as Elly May’s eyes. Funny, he thought, every few minutes something come up to remind him of her. Now it was the sky.

He had a sample of what married life would be like and found it delicious and refreshing. She would make him a wonderful wife. This afternoon he was going to town and buy her a ring, a good one. She deserved it

His mother was also making plans. She could see the handwriting on the wall. All her life she had longed to travel. She wanted to see what was on the other side of that mountain. She had a lady friend, like herself, a widow who also yearned to travel. Together they made plans.

When her husband died Shirley Green found herself financially in good shape. The ranch was out of debt and there was a large insurance policy. With her one and only child married there would be nothing to stop her from doing as she wished.

She and her friend planned on buying a motor home. They would do a lot of traveling. They would stay in Alaska in the summer and Arizona in the winter.

Jim glanced at his watch. It was almost noon and he was hungry. Time to go eat. The faint sound of a galloping horse came to his ear. He glanced up and saw it was Elly May on Old Spot – they were coming toward him.

He grinned; she had surely been giving that old crow bait a workout these last few days. Jim recalled the first time she had climbed aboard. He had saddled the horse, shortened the stirrups and helped her on. “Now take it easy,” he told her. Old Spot was as gentle as a dog, but there was still plenty of life in him.

At first she had been scared, holding the reins tight, guiding him around in a circle. Gradually the look of fear was replaced by one of confidence. There was a smile on her face.

“Are you okay?” he had asked.

She nodded, “I am fine, just trying to get the feel of the critter.” She raised herself up and down a few times keeping most of her weight in the stirrups. Then she had leaned forward and patted the horse on the neck. Then without warning she had let out a yell and buried her heels in Old Spot’s ribs.

Old Spot was a quarter horse and had the acceleration of a jet propelled rocket On the second jump he was going full speed. Only an experienced rider could stay on his back.

Jim had been terrified. He should have warned her that this was not just some old plug. Then a look of astonishment spread over his face. Elly May was leaning forward bent low over the saddle urging him on. They covered about two hundred yards and she reined him to a stop. Then she wheeled him around and came racing back. She brought the horse to a sliding halt. She had dropped the reins and slid off in front of him. There was a big smile on her face. “Boy that was fun!”

He had been scared stiff. He picked up her hat which she had lost on the first jump and handed it to her. “You seared the hell out of me!”

She was all smiles, “You shouldn’t have been scared. Wasn’t it you that told me that I stuck to a horse like a cockle burr?”

He had decided right there he had better be careful what he told her she could do. Dancing was one thing, riding a horse was another. She had been Queen of the Little Britches Rodeo a couple of times, but she could have forgotten a lot.

Elly May rode up in front of him and brought Old Spot to a halt. “Want a lift?” she asked

“Sure why not? This old nag used to carry double. I guess he still will.”

He stuck the shovel in the ground, borrowed a stirrup and swung up behind the girl. Old Spot snorted and pranced around for a few seconds, then settled down to a fast walk.

A strong breeze was blowing Elly May’s hair, whipping it about.

“Where’s your hat?” Jim asked.

Elly May laughed, “It is lying in front of the barn. Just where this old crow bait, as you call him, made his first jump.”

The honey colored hair was tickling Jim’s nose. He moved his head to the left. Now he was looking straight down at the side of the girl’s head. A gust of wind caught her hair blowing most of it to the right side.

A pink scar ran across the side of her head. It started at the hairline, just back of her temple and ran almost to the back of her head. In the center was another crossing it. It ran from just above her ear to the top of her head.

Where the two crossed there was a bald spot about the size of a dime.

Jim stared in amazement. He couldn’t remember any scar. She certainly didn’t have it before the school picnic. She had gotten it since then!

Did it have something to do with her loss of memory? He would surely ask her about it later. He didn’t think that the proper time was while riding double horseback.

They rode up in front of the barn and dismounted. Elly May picked up her hat. Jim took off the saddle and bridle then looked around for the oat bucket. Old Spot deserved a treat.

In the big red barn there were many things. One side was packed full of machinery. There was a tractor, a disc a harrow and many other items.

Back in the far corner was something that seemed to be of interest to the girl. She was looking it over.

Jim gave Old Spot the bucket of oats and walked over to where she was standing. “Got it figured out?” he asked. She shook her head.

Jim walked over to the wall and flipped a switch. The room was flooded with light

There were four posts set in a square. Two heavy ropes were stretched around them. They had been wrapped with some kind of soft material. Outside the roped off square was a heavy bag hanging from an overhead beam. It was a punching bag. Another about the size of a football was hanging in it’s frame.

“This is my gymnasium,” Jim explained. “Many years ago my dad built it for me. He said he didn’t want his kid growing up to be a sissy. He was plenty handy with his fists. He taught me a lot. I even won a couple of metals while I was in college.”

She stared at him, “But Jim, You don’t look like a fighter, and you are not a bit mean.”

Jim laughed, “You don’t need to be mean to be a fighter – just the opposite. Learning how to defend yourself gives you confidence. It is the coward that is mean.”

He walked over to the light bag and jabbed it a couple of times with his left hand. It hit the rail on the opposite side and came bouncing back only to be hit with the right hand. Faster and faster he struck the bag. Each time it returned, it met a doubled fist. The rattle turned to a roar. Dirt came sifting down from the platform. For about a minute he kept this up. Suddenly he backed off. The bag bounced back and forth a few times and then came to a stop.

He dusted off his shirt and turned to her. “How was that for a demonstration?”

Elly May laughed. “You sure made a lot of racket, and you made the barn rattle and shake, but what has that got to do with fighting? The other day when Clyde and Oswald tried to put me in the truck I fought them. I scratched, screamed and even bit one of them. Now that is what I call a fight.”

Jim looked at the girl. He couldn’t think of a word to say. He shrugged his shoulders. “Oh well, you can’t win them all!”

 

Series NavigationJust a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 14Just a Little Bit Crazy, Chapter 16

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