I wanted a horse. This was long after
we sold the work horses, and I was feeling
restless on the farm. I got up early
to help my father milk the cows, talking
a blue streak about TV cowboys
he never had time to see and trying to
convince him that a horse wouldn't cost
so much and that I'd do all the work.
He listened while he leaned his head
against the flank of a Holstein, pulling
the last line of warm milk into
the stainless bucket. He kept listening
while the milk-machine pumped like an engine,
and the black and silver cups fell off and
dangled down, clanging like bells when he
stepped away, balancing the heavy milker
against the vacuum hose and the leather belt.
I knew he didn't want the trouble
of a horse, but I also knew there was nothing
else I wanted the way I wanted a horse—
another way of saying I wanted
to ride into the sunset and (maybe)
never come back—I think he knew that too.
We'll see, he said, we'll see what we can do.