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Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

Lindy, the Flying Horse

By Jamie Fields, Crossville , TN

 

August 2012 issue

 

      I grew up on a farm in Tennessee during the 1930s. Our farm was located fifteen miles east of Crossville, the county seat of Cumberland County . My parents raised a large family of six boys and four girls.

     We had a barn, and though we needed more buildings, the constant routine of clearing land and raising livestock and chickens kept everyone busy. It was difficult to find the time for building a new corncrib.

     Besides doing housework, my sisters and I were always needed to help with planting and harvesting.

     Dad had a sorrel gelding named Lindy. Dad named him Lindy after Charles Lindbergh, the aviator who made the first solo transatlantic flight in 1927.

     Lindy was appropriately named. This obstreperous sorrel seemed to have a talent for jumping the highest fence or hedge.

     In spite of Lindy’s wild ways, Dad favored him over his other animals. At first, Dad thought the solution to the problem was to build higher fences. However, when Dad made the fences higher, Lindy simply jumped higher. Lindy was also skilled at opening stall doors. Dad patiently made better latches, but Lindy seemed to open them with the greatest of ease.

     Trouble really began when our new corncrib was built and filled with newly-harvested corn. The door to the crib was inside the cow lot where Lindy spent every night with the milk cows. The first night after the harvest, Lindy easily opened that door and invited himself and all the cows to a corn banquet.

     Dad got busy and constructed several much stronger latches — some at the bottom, some along the top, and some down the side of the door. However, the next morning, it was discovered that Lindy had managed to push all the latches and again enjoy a corn feast!

     Now, Dad called an emergency meeting. He took off from farm duties and made a special trip to town to purchase a mechanical door latch. It took two hands to operate and open the door. It was guaranteed to be horse-proof.

     That evening, when the chores were finished, Dad shook his finger at Lindy. “I’ve out-foxed you this time.”

     The next morning, the whole family followed Dad to check the corncrib. Much to our chagrin, Lindy had managed to operate the mechanical latch again.

     These nightly corn raids had to be stopped, Everyone agreed to double up on their chores so that Dad could make another emergency trip to town.

     This time, he purchased a thick chain and a big padlock. That night, when the corncrib door was secured, Dad showed Lindy his key. “This is what opens the lock, but I’m keeping it with me tonight.”

     After supper that night, Dad reassured all of us that we could get a good night’s sleep. “You won’t have to worry about Lindy opening that lock.”

     Dad got up earlier than usual the next morning. All of us children were still in bed and Mom was stirring around in the kitchen, cooking breakfast. When Dad arrived at the barnyard, he was relieved to see that the corncrib door was still shut.

     Lindy was standing in a corner of the lot under a tree. He nickered and showed his teeth. Dad smiled. He was just starting to say something to Lindy when he saw Sam Durham, our neighbor, standing by the fence, frowning and glaring at Lindy.

     “Bill,” Sam said, pointing at Lindy. “That horse of yours got into my corncrib last night! Are you going to pay me for what he ate or replace it with some of your corn?”

     “But, Sam, Lindy was in my cow lot last night,” Dad protested. “And he was still here this morning!”

     “Well, he jumped the fence and then jumped back into your lot when he got his belly full!” Sam insisted.

     “Look how high that fence is,” Dad said, gesturing with his hands. “Did you ever hear of a horse that could jump that high?”

     “I don’t know how he did it,” Sam replied. “Maybe he just flew over that fence. All I know is, I saw that horse eating my corn last night.”

     “Are you sure it was my horse?” Dad asked.

     “Yes, I’m sure. Tonight I’m sleeping in my barn with my shotgun. If your horse shows up at my place, he’s going to get a load of lead.”

     When Dad told Mom about the incident, she said, “I think you better sleep in the barn tonight to make sure that Lindy stays home.”

     “But what if I fall asleep? What if Lindy manages to slip out? I don’t want him to get shot.”

     “Maybe you could put a cowbell around Lindy’s neck tonight,” Mom suggested.

     “A cowbell?”

     “It’s a good idea,” Mom replied. “If Lindy tries to jump that high fence, the bell will jingle pretty loud. That should wake you up.”

     Dad agreed with Mom’s suggestion. After supper he went to the barn and searched until he found a big cowbell. Then he fastened it around Lindy’s neck.

     Lindy was very angry. He did not want that contraption around his neck. He snorted, backed his ears and shook his head. He tried in vain to shake off the bell. He did not like the noise it made, so he stood very still under his favorite tree.

     Dad found a place in the barn where he could rest and have a clear view of the cow lot. After a couple of hours, Dad fell asleep.

     Around midnight, Lindy decided the coast was clear, so he put his plan into action.

     Suddenly, the loud clanking of a cowbell jarred Dad awake. He woke up just in time to see Lindy flying over the fence.

     “Lindy, come back here!” he cried. “Lindy! Come back before you get shot!”

     Dad took off running after Lindy hoping to save him from a fatal dose of lead poisoning. Lindy kept running pitching and bucking. The cowbell got louder and louder!

     When he arrived at Sam’s barnyard, the gate was closed. Dad lost all hope for Lindy when he saw him jump over Sam’s fence.

     The racket roused everyone in the Durham house as well as in our home. Lights were lit and everybody was running outside in their nightclothes demanding to know what was going on. Dogs were barking and chickens were flying in all directions.

     By the time Dad arrived at Sam’s barnyard, his neighbor was standing in front of his corncrib, guarding it with a shotgun. Lindy was running around in circles, kicking up his heels and shaking his head, trying to get rid of the pesky cowbell. Everyone from both families had gathered to witness the sight. Dad was the only person who was not laughing.

     “You were right, Sam,” Dad said, gasping for breath. “I saw Lindy flying over both our fences tonight. You can come over to my place and get all the corn you need to replace what Lindy took from you, or I will pay you for what it’s worth. Just don’t shoot Lindy!”

     When Sam was able to stop laughing, he said, “I don’t want your corn or your money. The show he put on tonight was well worth the price of the corn!”

     Once Dad had regained his composure, the two men shook hands. Then Sam said, “I have a suggestion. At night, you might try putting hobbles on that flying horse so he can keep his feet on the ground.”

            Dad agreed and followed Sam’s advice. We became good friends and neighbors with the Durhams. We often had Sunday dinners together, and had a lot of good belly laughs about Lindy, the flying horse.

 

 

Copyright 2012 Rocky Mountain Rider. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Reproduction of any editorial material, artwork and photos is strictly forbidden without express written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights, please contact the editor; editor@rockymountainrider.com.

 

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