Monday, November 24, 2008

The Quirky Cuzin Rodeo

I think I mentioned before my quirky country cousins. They were and still are great. They had/have these huge imaginations. Yeah I have one too but mine is all about the really weird horrible outlandish things that could happen. They have these great artistic and useful imaginations. PLUS they are really great people and a heck of a lot of fun to be around.

They had the type of imagination that was fun. Like one time when I was about six years old they got the great idea to dress me up like Marylyn Monroe. No it wasn’t Halloween; they just thought it would be funny. So they put false eyelashes on me and dug an old peignoir out of the rag bag and fluffed it up and made adjustments then they drew a mole on my face and put a load of jewels on me. They thought this was great fun and honestly so did I. I loved being their doll to dress up and made to go out and put on a show for the grown-ups.

When I was a little girl it was always our big treat to go stay at our cousin’s ranch for a couple of weeks every summer. Now what I didn’t know was they really would have rather come to the city but they put up with us coming to the country. They had so many great things to do in the country and the city was just well, boring. Now there was an upside to this for my aunt and uncle instead of having 3 ranch hands they got to have 4 ½ ranch hands. You see I was too little and my brother had asthma so we weren’t of much use. My uncle didn’t let us get off that light I mean my brother still had to go ride fence with them and well I got to sit around and look cute. See I got an early start on being a slackass.

One summer my cousins decided we needed to have our own rodeo. Without a second thought there was an all out production in motion. First it was mine and my Cousin Wendy’s job to make the ribbons. You know the ribbons that you win for competing. Next Yob and “B” put together pens and animals for the different competition. My brother and sister were also enlisted in getting the “arena” ready. It was all of our jobs to set up the grandstand and talk my Uncle J.C. into officiating for us.

Finally after much preparation and promotion it was time for the rodeo. There was the goat riding contest. That was where my sister and I because we were the two youngest had to ride goats like you would a bull and see who could stay on the longest. There was the calf race where they tied a ribbon on the calf’s tail and we had to chase it all over the arena until you grabbed the ribbon off the tail and run it back to the judge’s box. Then there was the team barrel race where the older cousin actually steered the horse and it was our job to sit behind hang on and not fall off. Then there was the rescue race, this entailed one of us balancing on the barrel, the horse and rider would come out of the gate as fast as possible round the barrel slowing down long enough for us to jump off the barrel onto the back of the already hyped up horse and then race back to the gate as quickly as possible. All the while we, the rescue-ee, had to hang on for dear life while the rescurer spurred the horse as hard and as fast as they could. Needless to say we often had to be rescued from the rescuer.

Oh the rodeo wasn’t my cousin’s only production. Oh no! Remember the old Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland movies where something would come up and they would look at each other and say “Let’s put on a show!” and the next thing you know there would be a full blown Busby Berkley musical show? Yeah that is what it was like around my cousins. Only one of them constantly engaged in some sort of art project, the other some type of agricultural project and another in some type of sewing project. We had our own little production company.

They also had something called the “Mountain” which in reality was a hill but to us it was huge. On top of the “Mountain” was a tank. No not the military type, the type from which livestock drink. On really hot days my oldest cousin would fire up the old Willis Jeep load all of us in it and tear off for the tank. We would have our swimsuits, our towels and our floaties and off we would go. The road up the “Mountain” was not a gradual climb nor was it full of switchbacks it was pretty much straight up and in order for the old Willy to make it up the hill “B” would get going as fast as she could coming across the field and as soon as she hit the incline would double clutch it downshift and give it all it had. There were a couple of times we didn’t make it and would roll back down the hill but usually she would maneuver the “mountain”. I swear I don’t think there is a machine in this world that “B” couldn’t operate. Once we reached the top and made it to the tank we would pile out literally jump from the jeep into the water. Now that I’m older I think about the ook factor of that. What’s the ook factor? The fact that the tank was full of snakes, snapping turtles and cow patties today would ook me out. We were kids and it was an adventure snakes, turtles and poo be damned.

Now you see why I’m a little warped and why I have the sense of humor I have. I was raised that way. It is a shame we didn’t have digital cameras and digital movies way back then because I’m sure it would be a hoot to watch them. I do however have some pretty awesome memories.

Oh and my quirky cousins are still quirky and I love each and every one of them. They all grew up to be artist and philosophers in their own rights. They are truly “good” people.
I love you guys! Thank you for all the great memories.

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