Friday, February 3, 2012

One Tough Cookie

I don’t talk about my mom much here. I don’t know why. Probably because thinking about her makes me sad, and knowing that the world was robbed of such a giving person much too early makes me angry. Don’t even get me started on universal healthcare….

She was the best person I’ve ever known, and I don’t say that because she was my mom. She was so generous. She couldn’t give a lot when it came to possessions or money, so she gave her time. She was a scout leader, an EMT, a 4-H leader (of several different types of clubs), a church teacher, a PTA parent and president, a secret Santa, an endurance ride coordinator, a rodeo club advisor, gawd – whatever. If something needed to get done, she did it.

I didn’t realize this until I was an adult, but she didn’t have health insurance for, I don’t know, forever. Because of pre-existing health conditions, she was un-insurable. If anyone needed health insurance, it was her. (I’m getting riled up just thinking of this.) I don’t ever remember her going to the doctor – EVER – until I was 20-something. And, there were plenty of times when she should have gone. Take, for example, Maple.

Maple was my mom’s colt when I was about 12 years old. He was young, and she was training him on her own. (She could do that because she was the horse whisperer of Sanpete County, you know.) What a good colt - and pretty! Sweet horse, but a bit skittish as young horses will certainly be.
Well, we were riding to the area for 4-H practice when he got a mind to be a bit rambunctious. We were slowly loping along, and he started to buck. Usually, she could handle it, but this day she was thrown off. He stepped firmly on her right calf. How her leg didn’t break is beyond me.

I was instructed to catch him and bring him back to her. (She was lying on her back while giving me this instruction, by the way.) So, I did because, well, you did what she told you to do. She then took the reins in hand and walked the remaining half mile to the arena. She conducted the practice with twenty 9-15year olds for an hour, a friend helped her re-mount, and she rode home. I don’t remember who un-saddled Maple – probably her – and then we went inside for dinner. It wasn’t until then that she took off her boots to attend to her wound. And, wound is an understatement!

Through the jeans and the boot leather, her calf had an 8” long gash that had bled the entire time. Her boot was LITERALLY filled with blood. She disinfected it, wrapped it up, and went on with her evening.
In the coming days, that wound got so disgusting, and it seriously looked like hamburger. I couldn’t understand why she didn’t go to the doctor. Even I could tell that it needed stitches! But, she continued to care for it herself. (Of course, she continued to ride and train Maple, too.) She had the gnarliest scar.

Another example: Casper. That horse was the most skittish thing I have ever seen. And, willful! One day, we were training for a 50-mile endurance race when her bridle broke. Casper took the bit in his teeth and bolted. We were going so fast that I couldn’t keep up and stay atop my own horse. She eventually came off of him onto a rocky path where she broke two ribs.

When I asked if she was OK, she asked me why I was just sitting there. “Go get my horse!” He had such a good time out and about that it was a week before a hunter found him in the hills and brought him back to us. She walked the five miles home while I was driving around looking for that damn horse.

What did she do not two weeks after breaking her ribs? Complete the 50-mile race, of course. We had paid to do it, and I had a shot at winning my age group, but I needed to be accompanied by an adult. She wasn’t about to let me miss that opportunity. I don’t remember how I did in my age group, but I placed in the Top 10 which was even better.

My mom. She freakin’ rocked. End of story.

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