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Don't Let Your Horseshoe Hit The Plum Tree
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Don't Let Your Horseshoe Hit The Plum Tree
A funny little tale about a country teenager
[854 words]
Seleta V Johnson
[June 2004]
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The Tornado Man (Short Stories) A heartwarming tale about a child's faith in God. [1,060 words] [Spiritual]
Don't Let Your Horseshoe Hit The Plum Tree
Seleta V Johnson

Being a teenager and growing up in the country, I guess I learned the ways of a tomboy, or so it seemed in those days. I never went to the town square to walk around and check out the boys like the other girls did. No, Mama said at thirteen I was too young, so I stayed at home and climbed trees and helped my family out on our little farm.
On the weekends when Daddy was home from work, we would go out in the backyard and pitch horseshoes. Sometimes a couple of his friends would stop by and we would play as teams. Daddy always picked me to be on his team because he knew that I could pitch a mean game of horseshoes. After all, I learned from the best!
I think Daddy started teaching me how to play when I was just barely able to walk. I remember the first rule he taught me. It was, "pitch" horseshoes, not toss or throw. That makes all the difference in the world he would say. At the time I didn't quite understand the difference but later on in my horseshoe years, I began to see what the that term really meant.
So, on this hot and balmy Saturday, a group of his friends from work stopped by to say hello, and my Daddy talked them into staying for a few quick games of horseshoes. Daddy called me from the house where I was sitting on the couch under the fan. It was so hot, all I wanted to do was sit in the house and watch cartoons and sip cold lemonade. But I got up and dragged myself out to the backyard where my Dad was standing there smiling. He told the guys they had better watch out because his good luck charm was there with him, and he never lost a game when I was there. I was so embarassed but I didn't dare say a word. Nope! I just went and took my place beside my Dad at the pitching mound.
My Dad took the first pitch and it was a ringer. "Five points" he yelled! One of the guys tossed his own horseshoe next, and it went flying off to the right side and ended up in the ditch. Everybody laughed so hard as the guy's face turned red.
Then it was my turn. I lined the horseshoe up to be "pitched" just like my Dad had always taught me, and I let it go. It went flying across the ground and hit the stake but, it didn't stop there. It bounced off the horseshoe stake and hit my Daddy's plum tree! My Dad screamed out, "your horseshoe hit the plum tree!" The men were all laughing as my Daddy raced off to the house. I stood there in disbelief and embarassment not knowing where my dad went and why. But only a few seconds later, he came running back to where we were still standing. He held two brown paper sacks in his hands.
We all watched in amazement as my Daddy took a wad of chewing tobacco from his mouth, and spread it on one of the paper sacks. Then he bent down beside the tree and started to wrap the sack around the enormous base where the horseshoe had scratched it. After he had wrapped it neatly and effeciently (like a doctor would do when he was helping to heal a broken leg), he tied twine around it to hold it in place.
His face was red from from working so hard in the hot sun, but he smiled at me and told me the tree was going to be alright now. So he was ready to start the game again. My heart really wasn't in it now to play but at my Daddy's insistance, I knew I had to play or he would be hurt.
My Daddy told me it was still my turn, so I picked up my horseshoe and got ready to pitch it again. Daddy stopped me and told me to look at it from the side just like he had taught me. He then told his friends to watch me because I was a pro. "She never misses twice," is what I heard him say. I looked at the horseshoe from the side and lined it up just right. The pitch was perfect! It hit the stake, bounced off, and where do you think it hit?
I took off running to the house as fast as I could, grabbed up a handful of brown paper sacks and ran back to where my Daddy stood looking at the plum tree. The horseshoe had nicked it once again, and in almost the exact same spot as before! As the men stood there laughing at me, I looked my Daddy straight in the eye while mustering up the courage to speak. In a tiny squeaky voice that was barely audible to my own ears I heard myself say, "Daddy, I hope you have a lot of chewing tobacco because, this is going to be a long day"...



"This is some of my grandmother's best work. If you don't already know, she died about a year ago of cancer. I miss her to this very day. It still bothers me that her boyfriend at the time didn't respect her final wishes because he's a ruthless bas****. I'm sorry... She has written so much in the past that has touched my family and 1 for years. May God rest her soul." -- Emily, TN, USA.
"Seleta was my wife. I am the "ruthless bas**** that was married to Seleta. I was also the guy who took care of her till the end. She died in my arms. Her two daughters refused repeatedly to come to see her before she died, even though she begged them to.This comming month will be 4 years that she's been gone and I've yet to go out with another woman. She was the most wonderful Lady that I have ever known. She was one of the very , very few of us who died with a super clean soul. We are all born with a clean sheet of paper for a soul, but very,very few of us depart with it still bright white and clean. She was one of those that did it. I still love her more than anything else in the world. I still treasure her memory and would never do anything to dirty it. I love you Seleta. Your husband, Willie" -- Brian Burdick, Miami, Fl, USA.


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© 2004 Seleta V Johnson
June 2004

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