Freddy Sample

I started to doze off in the auction barn. My dad dug his elbow into my rib, I reared up and my hat fell off behind me.

“Now we got somethin’,” he said, “take a look at that comin’ in the ring.”

A cowlady . . . she was no girl . . . entered the sawdust ring on a buckskin bundle of dynamite looking like he could blow any minute. He floated across the ring and came to an abrupt halt, I swear, she no more than flicked the tips of her fingers on the reins. Then he whirled and stepped across the ring again like his feet were foreign to gravity. I glanced sideways at brother Bill, his toothpick was not moving, I took it as a sign.

“Bid on that horse, Milt,” my dad said, “I know that lady riding him, she knows how to break a cowhorse.”

The line-backed buckskin was moving like a cat and you could tell it was taking everything the lady had to stay aboard and look calm. There was nothing calm about what was going on underneath her. He was gathered up underneath for speed, his black tail twitching like a fuse. His dark trimmed ears curled toward each other at the tips as they stood fully alert. Each time he whirled, his head swung down and the rest of him seemed to just come churning after, like a line of railroad cars shooting around a curve.

I knew I could ride him.