by Jerry Vance

I could tell you tales that would make your hair stand up. I was in the boot of a runaway stagecoach and Ray was going to jump from Flash onto the Coach and stop it. Well, old Flash was too old to catch the Coach and it out ran him. I was stuck stopping six runaway horses by myself and when you only weighed one hundred and thirty pounds, six runaway horses don't really pay that much attention to you. I jumped out of the Boot and picked up the reins. It was like picking up six pieces of string, the horses were having no part of stopping. The runaway road past the bridge turns sharp to the right at the end by the big rocks. Criket was one of the leaders. She was on the left side. I reached down and picked up her rein and pulled back with all I had and started calling her name. People who tell you horses do not think or understand are not really horse people, so please don't pay them too much attention when it comes to horses. I saw her ears go back everytime I called her name, so I pulled even harder. Looking ahead I sawn the large boulders coming up fast in front of the coach about one hundred yards away--that's when I think I got Religion, hee hee hee. All kidding aside, as I pulled on her rein she started drifting into the right leader and pushing that horse toward the bend in the road. She also started slowing down. As we neared the curve, the coach started to tip to the right so I asked her to pick up speed to counter the sway. She responded and her sudden burst righted the stage and we made the curve. After we made it around the curve, I was able to pick up all six ribbons and put my foot on the brake and about a mile from where we left Ray I had the coach under control. Ray came riding up a few minutes later and said he was sorry and we both had a laugh out of the whole affair. Needless to say, Criket saved my bacon that day and I will ever be in her debt. I tried to buy her from old man Spahn time and time again but he would never sell her. I guess he loved her too.