Fred stepped down off the saddle and walked behind his mare. He knew her disposition but was tired and didn’t care.
He’d been sitting in the saddle since early morning sun. Now standing right behind her, he had no place to run.
The old mare’s ears were laid straight back. Fred knew his plight-to-be. Her kick was swift and made its mark, one inch above his knee.
Fred knew he had a broken leg. He’d felt it snap in two. He now was in an awful fix but knew what he must do.
Fred wished right then he had his gun to fire a warning shot. The men at camp would find him. He would not be left to rot.
He thought about the old cowboy, bucked off on one cold night. They found him frozen by a tree. Fred vowed, “I’m gonna fight.”
He thought about his faithful wife, the daughters he adored. He’d raised them in a two room house. ‘Twas all he could afford.
Fred wouldn’t ever let them down. They meant the world to him. He’d make it back to be with them, no matter life or limb.
He thought about those years ago while working on a ship, when he slipped and fell some forty feet. He said he’d lost his grip.
He broke both legs and ankles then. They said he’d never walk. But Fred knew well he’d make it. He ignored that kind of talk.
He started in a wheelchair, then on crutches right away. It wasn’t long ‘fore he could walk. He beat the odds, you’d say.
Now, how could he get on his horse, the one that caused this strife. That witch that tried to kill him would now have to save his life.
He tied a splint around his leg and hobbled to a rock. He grabbed the horn and pulled on up. She didn’t even balk.
The darkness made it tough to see. Fred gave the mare her head. He knew she’d find her way back home to camp, where she’d be fed.
Fred thought about his best friend, Jack, who wouldn’t wait too long. He’d be saddled up and on the trail to find out what’s gone wrong.
He thought he smelled the campfire smoke, then saw a flashlight glare. The mare had brought him back to camp. I guess that made them square.
Well, Jack was waiting there at camp. He’d hoped Fred would come in. They’d been best friends for all their lives and closer than most kin.
Jack said, “Hey Fred! A broken leg and two hours late to boot! Why did I even worry? You’re sure one tough old coot!”
Well, Fred was laid up six long months. He said it felt like ten. But not a soul could keep him down. Fred up and walked again.