A True Short Story, by amy elizabeth
We were all a special family who shared one thing in common, a passion for horses. The less common, but certainly worth the mention were the other passions responsible for the unforgettable secret scandals.
Our stories and history of those days gone by are now permanently buried beneath the concrete of an industrial park. Be Lazy was not only a place where horses were boarded, but where many families lived, worked, and raised their children. It was a place where people from all walks of life gathered for a moment in time to be a part of an old west tradition. Colts and fillies were born there, babies were conceived, love was found and lost, and over the years even tragedy struck and took the lives of loved ones. At least one dog I know of is buried there, Red, I think.
There were the wealthy, the less fortunate, those who sacrificed everything just to be there, and even one gal who was homeless. An abandoned camper shell was her home for the summer that I first joined the ranch family. She coaxed me into taking that giant step of buying a horse and keeping it there. Although leery of the expense, two weeks later I had a green broke mare hauled to the ranch. It had been a long time since I had a horse and apparently it slipped my mind that not all horses were created equal. I bought way too much horse for my not enough experience, and to make it worse, paid too much. Which quickly lead to the introduction of those capable of teaching me just what the term cowboy up meant.
Be Lazy was a home away from home for all of us that boarded our horses there. Some were professionals in the horse industry, but most were recreational horse owners. There were roughly seventy horses on the property at any given time during the eight years I was there. Behind the reins on most of them was the unavoidable drama that makes a family, well… a family! It was the small clan of about ten that actually gave a rat’s ass about keeping order, and peace I might add, to a business that was often teetering on financial havoc. Managers came and went, help was here today and gone tomorrow, but everybody pulled together when the going got rough and volunteered a hand at the drop of a hat. The ranch was originally purchased as a land investment, which was the one and only interest of the absent owner. So it was a do or die situation to not allow the ranch to become a money pit, a difficult task in a market that considers a horse business successful if it merely breaks even. However, the time did eventually arrive when a buyer’s offer changed the ranch’s bottom line to an attractive asset.
Over the next few months it was hard to imagine there wouldn’t be Mexican music blaring in the block barn. However, nice that people such as the belligerent Drill Sergeant boarder wouldn’t be complaining about it anymore. I remember the make shift camper where the hired help shared his dwelling with a pet rooster. The goofy chicken actually slept in a box atop his toilet tank before they both flew the coop.
I thought it impossible that the mobile home out back would ever be at peace without the spousal arguments of gigantic proportions. But it was, and when it stood empty the quiet was even more disturbing than the constant bickering.
The heart of Be Lazy was the main house, where”family” took on a whole new meaning, at least to me. It was more than just where the manager lived; it was a place that welcomed everybody who knocked on the door. There was always amazing food cooking on the stove and an unorganized clutter everywhere that was somehow comforting. But what I remember most were the BBQ’s, coffee, and oddly enough, Christmas. All the holidays were a celebration, but Christmas was crazy with decorations, and the gifts under the tree were absolutely astounding, maybe even insane!
There are many great memories, but now that ten some years have passed the bad ones are indeed worthy of a chuckle. I thought I’d at least touch on a few.
The charming old lady who we later found out… wasn’t old at all, maybe her skin was just too big? Can’t forget the asshole in the green truck who earned his name many times over, but was at least deemed an honest one. Then there was the less than honest, who were caught on camera in the middle of the night with their hands in the fire. But not even cameras were successful in stopping all the wrong doings. One gal would wait until dark every night and actually climb a gate to steal pine shavings for her horse’s stall. If there wasn’t any, she’d just shovel them out of another boarder’s stall! I can’t believe an entire tack room disappeared in one afternoon, but it did, and it’s still a mystery who on earth would do such a thing. The commercial airline pilot who owned “it’s just a small horse” looked ridiculous riding what I knew better than to call a pony. But it didn’t matter, I think he just liked to brush that pony’s long beautiful tail. At least until the dreaded night when my horse stalled next to his chewed every single hair off that tail leaving nothing but a bald nub. I hid for a week.
I can’t possibly leave out one guy because even though some [most] of his adventures in playing cowboy were not funny – they were. He was an accident waiting to happen on any given day. He had a number of horses in attempt to find one he could ride, but that never happened. He’d take his horse out on the trail packed up for what looked a month’s ride. Usually he’d come back bleeding from being bucked off, dragged, stomped, or who knows what, and once his horse came back alone. The last and most memorable incident [disaster] happened in the arena when he decided that spurs were a good idea in one of his not a clue training attempts. That ended in the dirt and he laid there after his testicle was detached by a collision with the saddle horn. He still has horses so I hear; I sincerely hope he finally found that one gentle mount willing to take care of him.
The muddy ruts in the driveway after every rain are forever beneath a parking lot, and the bees hovering the wash rack have moved on down the road to mine. The coyotes all been run off, and I gladly bid farewell to the late night bats in the arena. But what really matters is all these good, bad, and sometimes ugly remembrances are what made the ranch an era in our lives that will be cherished forever.
Be Lazy may be gone, but after all these years the family we built there has never crumbled.