Riding Our Horses

My siblings, first cousins and I all worked on my grandparents farm, from the time we were old enough to do anything useful. For me that was about 6 years old. This was in the mid-1960’s.

When I was a kid we weren’t called that. We were children (sometimes pronounced chillen), young’uns or chaps. It was a while before I  learned (from television) that children were “kids.”

There was always a large gang of us chaps on the farm and once the barn was full we were free to play. When we were playing, we usually were riding our horses. Not Champ, the giant Clydesdale who pulled the slides of tobacco from the fields to the barn. We rode him of course, but not during our play time. When we were playing, our “horses” were tobacco sticks with corn-twine reins. We straddled the sticks and drug them around, pretending that we were riding horses.


A tobacco stick. The tobacco leaves were tied or sewn together and hung over the sticks, which were themselves hung in curing barns.

Sometimes we raced. We’d build racetracks in the dirt and push smooth stones around the track, pretending they were race cars, driven by Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, Buddy Baker, David Pearson and the other NASCAR heroes of the day. Better yet, we’d race Dr. Pepper bottle caps, collected at the the nearby country store. They had numbers in them, and the ones with numbers that matched those of the famous (to us) race cars were especially prized.

That was 50 years ago. Good memories.