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06 August 2009

Crappy Taxidermy
A well-named website celebrating crappacious taxidermy.

Weird Old Childhood Memories
My brother (a couple of years before he left for HK) had a friend who was an amateur taxidermist. They were both about fourteen or fifteen, although they seemed grown up to me, and the friend was part of a large family which lived in a mansion across the road from a farm we lived in for a very short time. His younger sister was a good friend of mine, so I was in the house a lot; I remember the animal-parts being everywhere in his room - projects in progress.

The family had a very old collie which, once a day got up from its resting place under the piano and made a complete inspection of the house. I've forgotten its name, but do remember that when the family got a Saint Bernard puppy they named it Tenderfoot. Julie and I would hang out in the kitchen with the cook and chauffeur (a married couplewho were very nice), and I very vaguely remember playing poker. The children would have the chauffeur drive them around the property in a jeep for something I've forgotten. My brother almost drowned me (playing around) once when we were all swimming - although I bet he doesn't remember.

Our farm had roads, and my brother was learning to drive in a car with the passenger-side door wired up, as I recall. I hero-worshipped him, and he'd respond as big brothers do with stupid little sisters (i.e. torture-time!). He'd want me to sit in the car while he drove, and I never wanted to; he'd swear he wouldn't drive like a fiend (as he always did) if I got in. Well, that went as expected: I'd get in and he'd take off at a million miles an hour, screeching around corners on two wheels (all I remember, actually, is staring at the glove box).

The farm had high, thick masonry walls, and I remember attempting to make raisins by picking some grapes and putting then on the top of the wall to dry in the sun. Result: small, wrinkled black rocks. We'd make forts from hay bales in the enormous hayloft in one of the barns, and fight with water pistols. I always liked being up high, so I was on the wall or up in the loft, or up in the trees, or on the rooves. I had a horse at that time, Sergeant, that was bad-tempered, and when I had to catch him he'd slyly wait until I was close (that particular field was probably about five acres) then come at me at a gallop with teeth bared. There was one tree - an old pear - and I'd dash for it to avoid being bitten/run over, which usually worked (but I wasn't always fast enough). It hurts A LOT to be bitten by a horse. A LOT. He smashed me against trees when I was riding him, as he was a lot stronger than I could manage in a snaffle. I was just a little, puny thing, but, apparently, must've been hella brave since I just kept right on going. It wasn't done to ever tell anyone when I'd been injured - that was a sure-fire way to be shouted - since if I was injured it meant I'd been "stupid."

I walked to school, which I only remember because I crossed, on the way home, a large field full of (someone else's) horses; one particular horse shielded me from the rest. The sort of lead horse was a black gelding that the owner couldn't catch. He used to get my father to catch it, and my father and this animal that refused to do what its owner wanted (I think they were trying to make it into a show jumper or something) formed a bond; my father wound up buying it cheaply after the owner gave up. Another biter (never bit my father, of course). I had to feed, and I wouldn't feed him when he was facing me, so he learned to turn around and wait. Clever.

We had a roan horse named James Pigg at that time, too. He was a sturdy, roman-nosed cob that fish-tailed when he jumped. I don't remember why we had him - maybe it was my father's before the black, or maybe it was my brother's. I just remember James Pigg as a kind of spare. He was nice to be around on the ground, but a bit annoying to ride.


posted by - 11:25 AM

from the Golden Girls:
[Sophia finishes telling a story]
Rose: Wow, Sophia, that was some story!
Sophia: Yeah-funny, touching and with a surprise twist ending. I wonder if was true. Damn that stroke.
I feel vaguely like you just called me a liar =====:O
ooops - funny kicks appropriateness in the ass again...sorry! now i have to obsess about what is truth for awhile...and liar vs raconteur...and to actually spell racontuer...and if good spelling really matters...omg now see what you did! /me wanders off muttering
My entire life has been so odd that I'm sure people think I'm lying, but in fact I'm not. Who was it who asked me if I'd "really" been to one room schoolhouses? I forget. I leave out some things because I just don't want to explain. Oh, well.
I love the stories of your life... I'm just glad it's not mine :(

/me gives hug

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