As I watched America’s Funniest Videos (AFV) the other night, I began to think of all the funny situations in my life that would have qualified as prize-winning entries. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, nobody had a video camera to capture each hilarious scene.
I told you about one of them a couple of weeks back. You will remember that I sat just behind the dashboard in a buggy. The horse who had recently gorged on green feed, lifted his tail and covered me with manure. Horses often embarrassed me in my younger days.
When I was about 8, Mother bought a horse and buggy. On a beautiful summer day, with Mother at the reins and my sister and I seated each side of her, we went visiting. Nearly at our destination and without warning, the kingpin fell out, freeing the horse, shafts, and front wheels from the rest of the buggy. We landed three in a row on the dirt road, shaken but unhurt. The old horse, happy with the lighter load, just kept going until a farm boy on a bicycle stopped him and brought him back. We shook off the dirt, put back the pin and continued on. Although we didn’t laugh, that episode would have caused a riot on AFV.
Fast forward a few years; in my early teens mother bought us riding horses. Brother Harry got a saddle with Daisy. I got stuck having to ride Tony bareback. On our first ride, Harry led off. Returning to the barn, Daisy broke into a gallop and Tony matched her pace -straight toward the open barn door. I hung on, low on Tony’s neck, with my hand twisted in his mane. Terror gripped me as he ignored my pleas to stop
If Tony raced through the door it would knock me off. As I prepared to jump for my life, Tony suddenly stopped spilling me on the ground. I landed on my back beneath him, my feet in the air tangled in the reins. People watching that on AFV would have laughed. I didn’t, but to this day I’ll swear Tony did.
We sold Tony, but kept Daisy. One day I rode her to Charlie Wiseman’s place. That branch of the family trained and raced thoroughbreds, so I felt a touch of pride riding up to their gate. I dismounted, opened the gate and led Daisy through. To demonstrate my skill in case someone was watching, I took a running leap into the saddle, but misjudged, overshot, and landed face first in the dirt. I’ll swear that horses laugh.
After we left the farm, I bought a 1951 Austin. One day I stopped to pick up Mother who was approaching down a grassy slope toward the car. In the two seconds that I looked away Mother vanished. In the next instant I heard a sound beneath the car. Leaning across the seat, I threw open the passenger-side door and looked down into Mother’s face. She had lost her footing, slid down the slope, and became wedged under the car with just her head and shoulders protruding. The strange sound? She was laughing almost uncontrollably.
That time I laughed, thankful for a mother with an infectious sense of humour. She would have been a hit on any TV show.