Bootsie and Roarco the Pony
I don’t know what inspired me to write up this post except today a patient told me about their favorite pet they had as a kid. So, I thought I’d tell you about mine. If you had a favorite one, I’d like to hear of them. I write this at the risk some of my readers might label me as the “Syndicated Sap of the South,” but I am serious. I had several I thought of as family.
The first was Bootise. She was a little dog who was part Cocker, part Pekingese and Lord knows what else. I don’t remember how I came about Bootise, but she was my first pet. When I went off to the first grade we had to lock her up every morning, cause she’d follow me to the school house.
One day my mom let her out too early, and she took off through the woods. There was a shortcut there we’d take to play ball on the weekends, and it was a faster route. Anyway, when I got to school there she was right by my desk. The principal, Mr. Wilson, came in the room and tried to get her to leave and she bit him on the leg. This didn’t go over well with my mom, and we had to take the dog out to grandma’s farm to stay. I was gonna get to visit on the weekends.
We stopped on the way home to get a bite to eat, and when we got back to the house the dog was sitting right there on the front steps. Mom didn’t have the heart to take her back out to the farm, so she got to stay.
Sometime after Bootsie, I got the notion I needed a pony. I had some grandiose plan I was gonna ride in the County Fair and win the pony race, which was beyond absurd for a little boy. I nagged everyone so long we ended up with one. I named it Roarco. I have no idea why.
The plan was the pony was gonna live out on the farm and my cousins would ride it weekdays and I’d come out with my folks on the weekend. My grandfather would take care of it and my dad would buy all the feed and supplies. It wasn’t much of a deal for anyone but me- all I had to do was ride.
Boy did I love that pony. If you’ve never ridden one, Roarco might have invented the phrase “a horse headed for the barn.” That animal was plum sluggish as we went out, but when we got to the south end of the pasture I’d turn her around and she’d take off headed for home. You had to watch out for the clothes line- if the sheets were out she wouldn’t go through there, but if they weren’t she’d try to run under the clothesline, and I had to work to be sure she didn’t go that route.
It all went along fine for a while but my cousins lost interest and my folks couldn’t get out there every weekend. She got to where she wasn’t used to a rider and got rambunctious except with me. One day my Uncle Jimmy decided to go for a ride. I tried to tell him, but he got on anyway, and she ran him into the mailbox then threw him off and he broke his femur. After that she got foundered. The next thing I knew Roarco wasn’t there anymore, and I never was told where she went except Uncle Jimmy said something about the glue factory in the sky. Even at that age he warn’t fooling me, but I got over it in time.
Maybe those animals have to do with why I wound up so idealistic as an adult. How many little boys dream of a pony and wind up with one? My guess is very few are so lucky. I’ll have to tell you though I never see a tube of Elmer’s without thinking of ole Roarco. She was a fine pony. I wish they hadn’t let anyone but me ride her though- I was the only one she trusted.
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