Book Excerpt: Yee Fucking Haw (unedited)

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This picture has nothing at all to do with this post but it makes me laugh so I wanted to share it with you guys.

 

Now that we’ve talked about my mom and dad a little bit, we’re going to talk more about Kevin. Remember the jackass in the first story who wouldn’t bury me dog? Yeah, that dude. I’m taking you guys back to revisit the farm. I don’t tell anyone this, it’s embarrassing, and something that I think back to and go, “What the fuck Misty!?” but back in nine-teen-eighty-five, I was a rodeo princess. I was one of those little girls clad in Levi’s and flannel button-downs, cowgirl boots, and on occasion a little cowgirl hat, I was awesome and tough as nails. Or at least that’s what I thought. In reality I was one of those smelly little farm kids who swam in irrigation ditches with floating horse doody, slept in dog-houses, and was generally covered in filth. At that point my only aspiration in life was to grow up and be a professional barrel-racer, which in the eighties was basically a woman with a lot of blue eye-shadow, super tight pants and a massive belt-buckle which worked to accent her cavernous cowgirl camel-toe. 

 

This was all back when my mom and Kevin were still together, before the alcoholism and the continueous thirty-year decent into depression, hysterics and drug use. He must have been around twenty-three at the time, he was thin, and healthy, and he was a Rodeo cowboy who rode the bucking broncos in the Rodeo. I’d go watch him with my mom where we would sit on the sidelines so I could scream, “Go, go, go!” and he’d get up after being thrown off and wave to us and I’d worry that he was hurt. I’m not much of an outdoorsy type anymore so I know it’s hard for anyone to imagine me yee-hawing it up but I did, it happened, and because of it I can ride a horse which really doesn’t help my life in any way but it could if the world ended and cars stopped working and I needed to get away from zombies, or demons, really fast. Whatever.

 

I learned how to ride a horse by myself around four years old. Back in the eighties before human development classes, baby psychology, and coddling, I was raised the way most American kids were raised: I was told what to do and if I didn’t do it someone would kick the shit out of me. Children did as they were told, we were to be seen and not heard, and we respected authority or we were beat with something ranging from a belt to kitchen tools and once my mom, out of ideas, and unable to find another weapon, beat me with my little brother. I wasn’t abused, just spanked like everyone else. Children weren’t babied the way they are now. Nowadays parents talk to their children as though all of the children are severely mentally damaged. I’ve seen six year olds in strollers, their moms cautiously tip-toeing behind them, cooing, saying things like, “does wittle tommy want some wa-wa?” And I think to myself, I don’t care what little tommy wants, lady, what I want is for is for you to stop talking like an asshole. I have no idea how the shift in parenting happened, and in some ways it’s probably good to work on mother-child communication, and feelings and all that, but you don’t have to make your kid sucky in the process. Maybe I simply don’t understand it because it’s just not how I was raised and it’s certainly not how I was introduced to a massive one-thousand pound animal who I was supposed to dominate and ride about like fucking Sheera. 

 

There was a time in my life where I loved Kevin. He was a cowboy, and he was tough but I learned a lot from him in that period. There was even a point where I preferred him and the farm to my mother. Where I clung to him when the police came to take me and my brother away because he didn’t want to give us back and my mom had sole custody. My brother and I hid under the dinner table while the flashing lights swirled outside and my mother stood on the porch arguing with Kevin, with her new boyfriend, a mean mexican man who beat her and once ripped my arm out of socket by yanking me from the car too forcefully. At this time Kevin’s house was a place of tough love but adventure. A place that helped shape my inquisitive, independent nature and taught me the importance of animal bonds because later in life I’d realize that humans are nuts. 

 

I helped saddle Polky, standing on a step-ladder, I brushed her mane, and cleaned out her hooves. Then, I was picked up and plopped on her back into the saddle. “Take the reigns,” Kevin said, “now, you’re probably going to fall off pretty quick and when you do it will hurt but remember when you fall off of a horse you get right back on it! So when you eat shit I’m going to pick you up and put you right back on. Okay?” I nodded and tried not to shit my pants. 

Only a few minutes into riding my confidence exponentially grew as I sat on top of the mountainous animal, rocking back and fourth as though we were one. I’d relaxed and released the horn with my left hand clutching only the reigns. If I’m being fair, Poky, the three year old Bay Quarter horse, was hardly walking. She was going at the pace of an elderly woman window shopping. She stopped once or twice to nibble some grass, another time to simply stare at the fence. Still, I felt like a professional and wanted to take things to the next level. It was my first time riding but not my first time watching, and I thought, I’m so fucking good at this I should probably take it up a notch and I mimicked the “bump the horses sides with your heels” move. Her pace increased and I still managed to stay on. Why not give it another go? I thought. So I did it again but this time she broke into a full apache attack gallop creating badly choreographed circles in the field. Finally she slowed down to a trot right before she ducked under a low area of the chicken coop, knocking me backwards into a mountain of sawdust. The adults ran over showing mild concern as they picked me up dusted me off, pinned me down and rinsed the debri from my face and eyes. Then Kevin, true to his word, picked me up and said, “I’m really proud of you frog-legs,” and then he plopped me right back on the horse despite my pleas for mercy. 

 

Recently I sat at a park with my husband where we watched a mother try to teach a seven or eight year old girl to ride a bike. The child was all but wrapped in bubble plastic with a helmet and knee pads, elbow pads, gloves, and special shoes. The mom walked with her and anytime the  bike leaned one way or another the child would cry hysterically. The mom would panic and lean down all guilt stricken, the face of a woman who is aware that she’s fucking up her kid at that very moment. “No, but seriously, that kid is a pansy, “I said after watching her cry for the fiftieth time though not once did she actually fall off. “How did you learn to ride a bike?” Francesco asked. “I didn’t. I found an adult bike, tried to ride it, fell down and racked my vagina on it. Bled everywhere. Ran to my mom who I tried to convince for ten minutes that it was from a random bike accident. Once my lady-business healed I just got back on and rode the fucking thing.” He raised his eyebrows as he normally does anytime I tell him anything about my life. “Did anyone teach you how to do anything?” He asked. I remembered Poky and the first time I rode a horse. “Yes, actually, I learned how to ride a horse with adult supervision though I’m not sure there was a lot of teaching involved.” I told him the story and the advice that Kevin gave me, “And that’s why, honey, I don’t fucking suck like that little girl over there.” Francesco shook his head disapprovingly and I’m pretty sure he second-guessed having children with me. 

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