The Rest of Gypsy’s Story
Those who read my “Hot Girlfriend” post might wonder what happened to Gypsy. Those who read my “Lost and Found” post know what happened to Sugar’s Apache. Here is the rest of Gypsy’s story.
For two summers during high school, Gypsy and I worked at the Lazy H Dude Ranch for Kids, a camp where each camper was matched to a horse that was theirs for the week. We had about 50 kids each week. As the boys’ counselor, I was automatically cool by virtue of my position. And riding Gypsy didn’t hurt none either! She was an impressive steed.
Allow me to digress. Gypsy was the product of an illicit liaison. I used to ride her mother, Flicka, who was half-Arab and half-Quarter Horse (which is not the same as 1/8th). Flicka was very pretty because she had a refined head with a dish face like an Arabian, yet better size than most Arabs, with a big Quarter Horse butt. Gypsy’s sire, a Thoroughbred, came to Uncle Jack’s barn the night before a parade he was to be in for Pioneer Days. My cousin knew that Flicka was “in season” and arranged a secret meeting. They were married without benefit of clergy. Uncle Jack did not know about the midnight rendezvous and commented the next spring that Flicka was looking fat. Surprise, surprise, she had a baby in May — Gypsy.
Gypsy got her beauty from her dam and size from her sire. She was tall, with longer legs than Flicka. She was a “blood bay” — a deep red horse with a black mane and tail. She also had white socks on her back legs and a white star between her eyes which extended to a snip of white on her nose. I was not the only person who thought she was gorgeous, everyone did, including horse show judges. As a foal, she was Reserve Grand Champion in Halter Class, which is a beauty contest, at the county fair. Not too shabby! Later, when I could ride her, she did well in barrel racing and pole bending and reining classes. She still won halter class too. Very hot horse! Red hot! When I rode her in the Pioneer Days Parade, she would prance around and people watching the parade would point to her because she stood out. No brag, just fact.
Meanwhile, back to the ranch … we worked at the Lazy H the summers when she was three and four and I was fifteen and sixteen. The campers would watch the horses come in from the pasture each morning and Gypsy always led the way. It was impressive to see fifty horses running after her as the leader. The kids would talk amongst themselves, like kids do, saying that Gypsy was the fastest and they wished they could ride Gypsy. Like I said, I was cool due to being Gypsy’s owner and rider.
So, like Sugar, when I was fixing to go to college, I sold Gypsy. I sold her to a family whose kids had gone to the camp and admired her there. Also, their daughters were friends of my younger sister. Also, as part of the deal, they invited me to come visit Gypsy whenever I wanted, which I did. Gypsy’s new family had a nice farm and other horses.
I went to college in another state and did not get home much during the school year. In the summers, I took advantage of the offer to come ride Gypsy. Like Sugar’s Apache, Gypsy came running to me when I called her and clapped my hands. (Here is a tip I picked up from Uncle Jack — if you clap your hands when you feed horses, they come running and associate clapping with eating.)
The summer after I graduated from college, I was at my parents’ home for a few weeks before moving to Washington D.C. My sister, Judy, and I decided to go out to see Gypsy. I could ride her and Judy could visit with her friends.
Before we went up to the house, I stopped by the pasture fence. I could see the other horses, but not Gypsy. I called her name and clapped. Gypsy did not come.
So we went to the house. The girl who came to the door saw us and her expression got sad.
“I guess we should have told you,” she said. “Gypsy is dead. We had a storm this spring. The horses were standing under a tree. Lightning struck the tree and a big branch broke off and hit Gypsy in the head. We don’t think she suffered. I am sorry to have to tell you this.”
I was sorry to hear it. I maintained my composure because I am real tough. We talked a bit more, about school and my up-coming move and stuff. Then Judy and I left.
We drove away, but not very far. Even though I am a very tough cowboy, I pulled over and sobbed and sobbed.
I warned Judy to never tell nobody that I cried and I am warning you all too, dear readers, to not tell nobody neither.
P.S. Uncle Jack was a talented artist. When I graduated from law school, he gave me a painting that he did of Gypsy. It is hanging in my office.