Rudy the Red Rocking Horse

        Years ago my children had a red rocking horse we named Rudy.  Rudy had a hard life.  Not only my young’uns but all the neighborhood kids didn’t think twice to hop on the horse’s back and spur him on without mercy.  Over time the coat on that poor paint pony cracked and peeled, and he lost the lower half of his right rear leg in some long forgotten accident.  Rudy was suspended on a couple of rusty springs, and he became quite creaky with age.  I guess he had a bad case of wear and tear arthritis, ’cause he strained with a God awful noise.

        Back in those days, Neuse River practiced at my house.  Whenever we’d crank up, the kids never failed to jump on and rock to the music.  Man did Rudy make a racket.  As long as I live, I’ll never hear “Reuben” without Rudy’s eek eek eek eek sound track in my head.  My boy is a fine bass player.  He keeps perfect time, and I think it is from all those years of rocking on Rudy while Moose picked ‘Reuben’ on the banjo.

        Moose thought the same.  (So much so that I’ve often thought he built his picking barn where we now rehearse to escape Rudy.)  One day he was by the house, and noticed the horse was gone.  “Hey Doc. Whatever happened to old Rudy?”

        “Gone to the great glue factory in the sky, Moose.”

        Moose laughed at the memory.  “I gotta tell ya Doc, that pony like to have drove me crazy.  Eek eek eek eek.  Mercy.”

        “Yeah Moose.  That was one bad animal, no doubt.  But you gotta admit- a man who can keep time on ‘Reuben’ while the kids rock on a horse with bad springs is a player.”

        “I reckon.”

        One day Neuse River had a practice scheduled at the picking barn. I got there early so me and Moose could set up the sound equipment.  We opened the door and a familiar sound drifted out of the barn.

        “Oh, no,” said the Moose.  How could it be?

        Eek eek eek eeeekkkk……

        “Daddy, Daddy.  Look what Dr. Bibey brought us.  He’s just the horse I always wanted.”  Little Janie was in love.

        “Honey, you don’t understand.  We can’t keep up a horse.  Who’ll feed him….” Moose began to protest.

        “But Daddy, look- he has a hurt leg.  Dr. Bibey says if a family
doesn’t adopt him he’ll end up at the glue factory in the sky.”  Her lip pooched out.  “Pleease…?”

        Moose is a hard bitten bluegrass boy, but there ain’t no way to say no to a tow-headed blue-eyed cherub like that.  Janie brushed a ringlet of curls out of her eyes, held back a tear, and awaited the verdict.

        “O.K. Sweetie.  O.K.”  Moose knew he warn’t gonna win this battle.

        “Oh thank you daddy, thank you.”  Janie ran over and hugged the Moose’s leg, then hopped back on Rudy and began to rock.  Eek eek eek eeek.

        I handed him a small can of three-in-one oil.  “He don’t squeak so bad if you oil him once a month,”  I advised.

        Moose started to respond, then gave me a disgusted look and muttered a few words about how my mama wore combat boots.  We proceeded to get ready for practice without another word.

        Years went by and Simpkins, our bass player, got married.  (The last one to fall- see ‘Bluegrass Bachelor Party.’)  He hadn’t been married two months when the Moose called.

        “You know Bibey, I guess now that Simpkins is married they’ll have some young’uns someday.”

        “Yeah, I guess so, Moose.”

        “Don’t you reckon they’d want to adopt Rudy?  My kids are fixing to go to college you know.”

        “Why don’t you just send him to the glue factory, Moose?”

        “Are you kidding?!  Janie would pitch a fit.”

        “Hm. I understand.  Yeah, I think Simpkins would make Rudy a good home.  We need to raise some more good bass players.”

        I called my kids to let them know- Rudy lives on.  They were pleased.  I always was a good Dad, and I think the last thing they want is that dang squeaky horse at their place.

Dr. B

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14 Comments on “Rudy the Red Rocking Horse”

  1. Cindy Carter Says:

    Dr. B,

    This was a wonderful story to share! I could just see ole Rudy getting a workout. Myself, I had a black and white spotted rocking horse that had real rockers. I loved that old horse. But we had to shoot him and put him out of his misery when my brother rode him right off the porch and broke his front legs.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    I had a real pony for a while, and was very attached to him. When he got old, he just “disappeared.” Nowadays I guess everyone would call it denial, but back then I think the folks couldn’t bear to hurt my feelings.

    Dr. B

  3. Bibey Jr. Says:

    Happiness really is a matter of perspective. What’s music to one man’s ears is noise to another…. (Moose should have taken you out back for that little stunt though.) Love you Daddy and miss you so much! Hugs and Kisses!!!

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Bibey Jr.,

    You are so right. You can come back and rock on that horse any time you want. It is still music to my ears, and the perfect rhythm track for ‘Reuben’ to this day.


  5. pandemonic Says:

    What a cute story!

    My mother-in-law used to deal in antique toys. She was always giving the kids something from her shop. Of course, at the time, they didn’t appreciate it (not as cool as cheap plastic I guess) but this last time Mr. D Jr. was in town, he went up into the attic and showed his girlfriend all his “cool” toys from when he was a kid.

    Just goes to show you that the classics never die.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    They may shoot horses in some circles, but I’m glad my people like old horses and old doctors. I am happy some things do not go out of style.

    Dr. B

  7. katkmeanders Says:

    Classics never go out of style, nor do they fade away so long as there are beloved memories held by us.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Kat,

    Ole Rudy was a classic for sure. My son called me today and was glad the horse was O.K. (but he didn’t want it back- Sqwueak. eeek eeek eek!)

    Dr. B

  9. Amber Says:

    That was the cutest story. I just loved it. Gawd you are so bad! That is exactly what I would do! I love it. Sometimes the horse just needs to rock on……………

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Amber,

    I guess I won that round, but the Moose lies in wait. He’ll get me back. If nothing else, one of these days we’ll have grandchildren.

    Dr. B

  11. Amber Says:

    I so was gonna say that… make sure the old snare drum discarded by a band member really is discarded… little boys just LOVE drums don’t you know….lol

  12. drtombibey Says:

    Lord have mercy Ms. Amber. If a snare drum shows up at my doorstep I’m gonna figure you are behind it somehow!

    Dr. B

  13. […] day is a winding road whether we are Flying the Farty Skies or Rocking the Rudy the Red Horse.  Sometimes things can get so busy that we forget to savour those little moments in life like […]

  14. drtombibey Says:

    Yep, there is sanity in the little things. Both my kids called to say they’d never forget Rudy, so the post was worthwhile from that perspective alone.

    Dr. B

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