Life, Liberty, and .…. Horse trading?

Almost everybody who knows me knows how much I love horses. Back when I was rodeoing and throwing my money into jackpot steer ropings, I had some pretty good horses.

I had some idiots, too. Don’t get me wrong, I only bought one horse when I knew ahead of time that I was buying an idiot. On the other hand, that was only one of two horses I ever bought and sold for a profit.

Yes, folks, I paid $150 for that horse and sold him at auction for $425. I used the proceeds from that sale to buy a Gibson Epiphone guitar, which I still have. The other profitable horse trade I made was on a pony I bought from Hank Vonier for $50 and sold for $475.

Every other horse I’ve had I either kept it until it died or lost money in the sale.

One spectacular idiot I bought, I paid $550 for and got from Mr. Wayne Whiddon. I called that horse ‘Charlie’ and he had less sense than most horses I’ve seen. Mr. Wayne was actually good enough to sell him to me on time, and I had whittled my debt down $150 when I came to the conclusion that Charlie belonged at the sale barn, too.

So, when I lit out for the auction, I knew the horse was going to have to bring at least $200 in order for me to be able to pay off Mr. Wayne the money I still owed.

Like so many events of my life during that time, my companion was my friend and team roping partner, Glenn Miller. I say that merely to set the scene, because all the way to Hazlehurst, Georgia, I kept telling Glenn over and over how I had to have at least $400 for the horse.

Obviously, I had to pay off Mr. Wayne Whiddon, and just as obviously I had to have a little seed money for my next horse. What with the seller’s premium at the auction, I was really hoping for more than $400.

As I unloaded Charlie and was leading him to the check-in station, a pen hooker approached me. “What ya go there, big man?”

“Well,” I went into horse trading mode. “He’s an all around using horse. Good in the pasture, pretty good in the arena, but just a fun horse to ride.” This was all true. If you like to ride a runaway horse, he was a fun horse to ride.

“What are you thinking?” Asked the pen hooker.

“I was thinking $400,” I allowed.

“How about $375?” Countered the pen hooker.

I thought that over. The pen hooker went on, “If he has half a brain, I’ll give him a good home.”

Obviously, this was a match made in Heaven. Sold!

We went to the office and they wrote up the sale and, less the sellers premium, I made out with $337.50, which, after I deducted the $150 I owed Mr. Wayne, left me with $187.50 and we bought almost $20 worth of beer on the way home.

When I pulled into Glenn’s yard to let him out, he looked at me and said, “Let me ask you something. All the way down there you said you had to have $400 for that horse and you sold him for $375.”

I thought about it for a second and then said, “Glenn, damn a man who won’t come off $25 on the price of a horse!”

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My daughters have reviewed my bio material and declared it lame....Therefore, be it known that I grew up (a work in progress) in South Georgia. For most of my life, I confined my writing to letters, discussion questions in school, email, and case documentation for the government agency where I worked. For the past four years I've published a humor column in the local fish wrapper, The Cordele Dispatch, based on Americans' inalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. So help me.