Worzel writes…I did marry a fine cowboy when in my youth, I was shy and worked in a library. A lover of books and a horseman is he, a better partner I could not have wished for, and part of our lives was my friend, the vagabond Godfrey.
Tell us a story, Garnet, asked Godfrey, we had just returned from a frolic, at the beach, a long, sandy stretch of a walk at low tide. “I long to hear of your life in The Rockies, and the horses you used to ride”. The two chaps never had to compete, for a seat in my old turquoise chair, always the chosen story teller sat there. Well Garnet thought a bit, and grumbled a tad, then selected a cushion he called a “Kidney Pad”, for only Godfrey and I loved my chair, and he told us the story of Walter- a gelding his old dad raised, born of a tough pack-horse mare.
“A mud colored bay he was, as a curious colt calm and friendly” “We kept a string for work on the place, and my old man nailed a sign, “Trail Rides,”‘ by the road on a tree, left us in charge, my siblings and me”. We had Coaly, Queenie, and the chestnut Tio, that everyone loved as she was pretty” We had Declan the stout, shaggy Cobb, we had wall-eyed Roany, and the mule Oddjob”. “And Walter in the horse corral stood apart, always chosen last because, Walter,well, he did fart. “I did not know why”. “he loved to go out, pined when we tacked up and left, he’d run down the fence line, the trail routes starting, if anyone rode Walter all we’d hear down the long row of riders was, “Walter quit farting!”
“Walter please quit farting, we put him last in line, he bit Declan’s plodding flank, we put him in the middle of the horses, we put him behind mine, it bothered him not what rank he was in, Walter still broke wind”
The Rockies are glorious, “oh I miss the hooves clink on the shale, the creak of leather” The view of emerald lakes from the pass, as we paused, the giggles and complaining, Walter, quit farting, as my bay trail horse friend passed gas”. “He was kind to all riders, the nervous, young or old, never shied at Pikas when across his path they would dart, yet always chosen last or not at all as it became widely known that the whole trail ride he would fart.
Guests wrote in our comment book, back at the home place over hot-dogs, coffee and tea. “One wrote- “To see the high country is a wonderful thing, sadly all I heard on my ride was “Walter please quit farting” And, “Oh stop farting, you silly beast”, in a shrill British accent, ruined my ride wrote a chap from back east. “Charcoal Biscuits in his feed, a little less bran, for the horse that farts wrote a learned young man. All my life it has been my dream, to journey on horseback, for glacial stream, to venture in the wild off map or charts, not to hear loud complaining of an old horse that farts!, wrote another……”Walter is bad for business griped my dad, siblings and mother”.
Godfrey sat silent, rapt with the story, but I could see a tear in his eye, he usually cried till he laughed but not this time for I knew that he knew, a horse of Walter’s age may be judged of little value. “Garnet continued, “I re- schooled him in secret to pull sleigh and pony cart, for those too young to trail ride. .With no one on his back, Walter ceased to fart, we did summer weddings, we did hay-rides in fall, seemed like every weekend we had a family group or birthday party. “Now and then an old customer would ask, is that not Walter? the horse so loud and farty? “Walter was my bay boy, and when I left home for my own place, he came to”. He lived, retired to a noble old age, crossing green Elysian Fields the year before I met Worzel and you”. And when I miss the mountains, the trails of my youth, and my horses in a long line departing, still resonates in my heart, still makes me laugh, the shrill cries of Walter, do stop farting!!.