Dad never owned a car long enough for him to learn how to drive, or for that matter, long enough for me to learn to drive. Until we moved to Temple, that is. Dad was the odd man out, never having an interest in cowboying or even getting on top of a horse like the rest of the Dennis’.
Dad tried to ride a bull once. Maybe it was a low point for him. For for me it was anything but. We were living at the Dennis ranch when Dad came home drunk and decided it was time to act like a real rodeo star. I was standing outside the corral, where we kept one of our two-year-old bulls. Dad saunters over to me and slurs, “Cono, grab that bull o’r yonder. Hold’em still ‘til I get on. I’m gonna ride that son’a bitch”
“Sure I will, Dad.”
It was better than watching a picture show. While I was putting the rope around the bull’s neck, Dad went over and fixed Ike’s spurs to his shoes! Not to his boots because he didn’t even own a pair of boots, but to his shoes! Then he slapped on Ike’s chaps. I helped him get on top of the bull and stood there holding his rope.
“Whenever you’re ready,” I said.
“I’z ready,” he Slurred.
I let go.
Dad put one hand up in the air and said, “High, ho, silv……”
That bull didn’t even buck. He just turned around real slow like he was trying to see what kind of idiot would sit on his back. Well, that slow turn was all it took. My Dad fell right off that lazy bull and straight into the dirt, Ike’s spurs dangling from Dad’s shoes.
I turned around and looked in the other direction. I didn’t want Dad to see my shoulders quivering from laughter.
Dad got up and staggered back to the house mumbling something about killing steak for dinner.
Some things sure were funny back then, but other times? You couldn’t find “funny” anywhere you looked.
Excerpt from No Hill for a Stepper