Roy and I have a sister.
She grew up next door and had a different last name, but if fighting, laughing, playing, and suffering boredom create a family, then we were a blended one. Still are.
Susie had abilities early. She was at ease wearing Levi’s, her red hair in pigtails, throwing a basketball or throwing punches. The next thing you knew, she’d be in a gown heading off to a Rainbow Girl’s meeting. If you didn’t know she had a thick scab on her knee, you’d take her for a lady.
In the 1950’s, a favorite get-away for Kingman folks was the Hualapai Mountain Park. Fourteen miles into the mountains up a steep, narrow, winding dirt road. But once there, the picnic benches under the pine trees made fried chicken and potato salad taste better than any food on earth. There was a private lake deep enough for swimming and catching small catfish that the owners opened to the public. There was also a lodge for all sorts of social amenities including horseback riding.
I have a lot of fine memories of being in the mountains, and a splotchy one. In fact, I confessed to Susie that because of the freeze-frame scenes I recall, I didn’t know if I actually witnessed the event and was traumatized, or if someone else related it to me. She said I was there.
The first scene has Susie and Roy racing their horses down a hard-packed dirt road. The decomposed granite that makes up a lot of the Hualapai Mts. is like concrete.
Susie is in front, the sound of galloping horses and thousand pound animal bodies hurtling along comes to mind. She is grinning.
Jump to the next scene. Susie is a ball, still in the saddle, underneath the horse’s belly. She is a boxer’s punching bag for flying hooves. Her cinch was loose and the saddle slid. A least one steel-shod hoof clipped her head. She was getting her peanuts shelled.
She said when she came to, I was looking her over to see if she was breathing. Roy jumped off his horse to check on her, then instead of remounting and riding, ran two miles to the park where Susie’s mom was. Susie’s head was a bloody mess. She got up and walked to the cabin her folks owned while I rounded up the horses.
Her mom had to take her to the hospital. I think stitches held her together for a few months.
She’s still torqued that she didn’t saddle her own horse and, Heavens Sake, she broke her glasses.
It’s a good thing she had the cool-headed Voss boys there. Neither one of us was hurt.
How do you protect your sister? Leave a comment.