by Sable HunterI have a hole in my leg, a small round depression about the size of the head of a thumbtack. It’s not real deep and it sort of reminds me of a small pox vaccination spot, like I used to see on people. The infamous hole is located on my right shin about midway between my knee and my foot. There is no pain – now. When Jess was small, he would irritate me by putting his finger in the hole and pressing. It didn’t really hurt, but I always expected it to hurt. So when I would fuss, he would just do it more and more – it became a game with him.
When he got old enough, he asked Big Sister – “how did you get that hole in your leg?” And I made the mistake of telling him the truth and now, every time I recount some tale of oddity, he’ll laugh at me and say – “Likely story. Sounds like the time you got the hole in your leg.”
But the story was true. Just because he doesn’t believe me, doesn’t mean the story wasn’t the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
So, let me tell you the tale of how I got the hole in my leg.
At the time of the ‘incident’, he and my mother and I were staying at the lake house in East Texas. The property has about twenty acres and he and I and the other cousins, were privileged to keep horses there for our riding enjoyment. And we did. We rode up and down every dirt road and out in the pastures and down by the lake. It was an idyllic time. Most of the time I rode bareback, the saddle was always just a little too heavy for me to hoist up on Comanche’s back. He was tall, but I was lithe and could bounce up there with no problem – then.
We loved to ride around town, down to the little store for soft drinks, around by the post office to get the mail, over the rail-road track and down the church-row, as I called it. Most of the streets in town were dirt roads and there were more hound dogs than traffic. A lot of times, I rode alone. Comanche was used to traffic. Eighteen wheelers and log trucks didn’t faze him. He was a good horse, but one day something did startle him. And me.
Comanche and I spent our days together. At the time of this story, Jess was probably two and I was eleven or he was one and I was ten, I can’t remember. This particular day, Comanche and I had gone on a jaunt and we were on our way home. Right in front of the lake house was a steep gravel road and we were heading down it at a trot. When out of nowhere there came this horrible, grinding, rushing, screaming noise! I thought the sky was falling. The only thing I have ever heard since that even rivals the noise I experienced that day was when the shuttle fell over our house in 2003, which was the largest rescue effort – bigger than 9/11 because it covered a huge amount of square miles. When the shuttle fell, it scattered debris over our lakehouse land and the deer camp. Remains of the astronauts and much wreckage were found scattered on our property. But the moment I heard that shuttle tearing through the sky, I thought the world was ending.
Looking back, this was the sort of noise I heard. Now, you can imagine what Comanche did. Even before I realized what had really happened, he went crazy. He reared up, he bucked, he kicked, he screamed and he ran. I was in shock, trying to control the horse and trying to tell where whatever was attacking us was coming from. And what it was – was a plane – a jet – a fighter jet. Barksdale Airforce base was only about an hour and a half away by car – probably only a few minutes by fighter jet and I know – I know – he was higher than I imagine. But as far as Comanche and I were concerned, it seemed like he skimmed the top of our heads. We were buzzed by a damn big plane.
And that’s not all – as the plane was screaming away and Comanche was panicking, he veered off the path and must have stomped a swarm of bees because in the midst of all of this chaos – bees started stinging us. One stung me in the leg and damn! It hurt. By this time, I was sobbing. I was scared. My horse – at that very moment – pitched me high in the air and I landed on that gravel and didn’t have the good sense to turn loose of the reins and I got dragged down the hill on the gravel. Obviously, I also did not have brains enough to wear jeans, I had the habit of riding in a little skimpy sundress – the same type garments I wear now, so my legs were unprotected and they got scraped and tore up – and stung.
I will tell you that I thought I was dead. I screamed and balled and sobbed and hollered. The whole county knew I was in dire straits. And my leg hurt! When my mother came out to see what all of the hell was about, and I tried to tell her – she laughed. She, like Jess, to this day does not believe that Comanche and I were attacked by a fighter jet while minding our own business. And to cap it off, when she looked at my leg, the bee’s stinger was still lodged there. And after she got it out and doctored me, a hole formed in my leg where the stinger had been.
And that is how I got the hole in my leg.
Now, I can tell a story. I love to tell stories. My books are a huge part of my life. Tales of the McCoys and the Cajuns and the Hill Country Good o’le boys are my imagination – mostly – ha! But the tale of the Hole in My Leg is the gospel truth.