Originally published October 30, 1986, this story is one of many my uncle loved to tell about his favorite of my grandfather’s horses, Old Georgia. The author and Old Georgia are depicted in the photograph. I’m also pretty sure that’s my oldest brother watching from his perch atop the lott fence.
I suppose everyone finds a certain amount of pleasure in looking back over their past. When my eight brothers and I get together we always remember the past and tell over and over again the things that happened when we were boys growing up on the farm in the years of the great depression. One of the things I remember most is the horses (and mules) we had to ride and plow. There was Old Kitt, Old Nell, Old Elix, Old Crip and last but not least was the queen of the horse lott, Old Georgia.
Old Georgia was the only mare horse we had and the one my daddy gave me to plow. She was the only horse I ever knew that could get one foot out of the traces and stomp up one row of corn while eating another row as she went along. I was a lad of only ten or eleven years, and about all I could do was cry and beg her to do better.
Old Georgia was not a plow horse; we only used her when we were trying to get the crop laid by. She was a trained catle horse, and one of the best. When I got the saddle on her and climbed on, she was no longer Old Georgia, but suddenly to me she became the great horse Silver, and I the Lone Ranger.
I remember once one of my brothers and I had to go after some cows on the horses and we had to go through a small colored community to get them. My brother had taken an old black jacket and cut out a black mask, put it on, and I had a large rubber band with a chicken feather placed in it around my head.
We were the Lone Ranger and his faithful companion Tonto. We raced our horses through the little community at top speed crying at the top of our lungs Hi ho Silver, and get um up Scout. Of course everyone came out to see what was happening, and nothing pleased us more.
Once, while racing Old Georgia at top speed, we tried to jump a narrow ditch which was about four feet deep. Old Georgia slipped and fell into the ditch and lay there with all four feet up in the air. She could not get out. We had to go get help to pull her out.
I have heard about lots of young men turning their sports car over, but I am the only one I know that has turned their horse over.
Today I have three daughters that grew up in Jacksonville and never knew the joy of having a horse and playing Annie Oakley. I know this sounds foolish to young people today, but I wish every boy and girl could experience the joy that we had, poor as we were, playing Lone Ranger on the farm.
Postscript: This particular uncle was quite capable of weaving fact and fiction to the extent necessary to enhance a story. This fact was well known in the community, and people soon gave up guessing and accepted all his stories as truth. One undisputed truth if even half of the stories were true is that Old Georgia lived a charmed life. She came through many a scrape and lived to a ripe old age. Another truth is that animals were kind of important to all of us who were lucky enough to have grown up on a farm. I have my own Old Jack the mule stories as indeed you probably harbor your own favorite animal stories.
It’s a charming story. Even though, being a city girl, we never had any animals I think we used to play Lone Ranger and pretend we were on horses. My favorite game was “Perils of Nyoka.” A chapter was shown every week at the movies. I was a real tomboy and there weren’t too many female heroes to look up to. When Wonder Woman came out in comic books it was amazing.
Thanks Ruthe! I used to play Roy Rogers and Dale Evans with my boy cousins. Of course I was ALWAYS Roy Rogers! I insisted on it, and being a few months younger they let me. Age does have certain privileges, you know, then as now! They were Gene Autry or whoever, but nobody wanted to be Dale Evans ’cause all she seemed to do was stand by and wait for Roy to kiss her at the end of the movie. (I don’t know if that’s accurate, but I already had the picture–well formed by that time–that if you want to win or accomplish anything you had to be the boy.)
I grew up in a small town, and all our neighbors had horses. We had chickens. LOL
I grew up a city girl, I have to admit. Still: this is lovely.