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Buckets of Berries for Grandma by Kevin Pourier
 

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  • Way back when I was a kid I would spend my summers living with my grandparents. There would also be 5 or 6 other cousins there as well and then a few others that lived just down the creek a ways.
    Grandma would always have something for us kids to do (pretty sure thinking back now that it was just to get us outta the house..ha!) Grandpa always had us get the horses in everyday and ride. There was always something going on..... getting the milk cows (ones name was Meanie) in. Going out riding to the river or up the creek or the bull pasture or east.... no wonder we had good horses back in those days we use to put the miles on em!
    One day grandma wanted some berries to do her canning. There were 5 of us and we all were given big buckets and off we headed on our shetland ponies. I had the orneriest pony of them all! His name was Coco, a little round bellied grey and white paint. He was ornery from the day we got him..... could be he remembered when he was a colt and my dad and uncle tried to break him in the front yard..... not sure who won that day but they all were pretty beat up!
    Anyway, us kids headed for the berry patch down by the swamp. It was about a mile or so from the house. I wasn't all that good of a rider anyway and was kinda scared of Coco because I knew he was gonna pull something.
    We found a huge patch of currants and went to picking...... we ate as much as we put in the buckets. Finally, we headed back for the house with our buckets full! It was going good until my one stupid cousin wanted to trot.... well, on a shetland trotting carrying a bucket of berries was not a smart thing to do..... berries were going everywhere! So, then it was decided to gallup and it would be smoother....... ha! Then someone yelled RACE! Coco took off as fast as he could even thought I was pulling back on him as hard as I could!
    We hit the freshly laid gravel the National Guards had put down on the road and were within sight of the house when Coco pulled his classic move....... the dreaded SUCK BACK! He stuck his head between his front legs and stopped and went backwards and I kept going...... berries and all! I landed on my head. My cousins all laughing at how funny that was and how funny it was that I lost my fine bucket of berries. Well, there was also no crying back then either especially when it came to horses or being a cowboy..... which I wasn't but I think it hurt so bad anyway I couldn't cry. I remember looking up and being able to see my forehead...... yikes! I got back to the house and there was a water tank that had cold water running into it constantly from the live spring that run through the yard. Holy... I held my head in that tank the rest of the afternoon..... wow! Coco...... yup, that horse gave a few people stories to tell and that is mine!
    It's a wonder we survived...... makes my head hurt just thinking about that now...... damn!
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