Saturday, April 25, 2009

Shoshone The Magic Pony

Reposting This because I found it and it is vey personal. I hope you enjoy it again.

In 1953, when I was about five years old, my parents took me to see Shoshone the Magic Pony.

That was also the year that my brother drown in the Pacific Ocean off the Oregon Coast. That same year Hank Williams, along with Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, had checked out of the mortal motel, quite possibly unaware that the other party had been there to begin with. Hank fried his brains and heart and other internal organs for our sins, using eleven different herbs and spices. Julius and Ethel, charged with spying for Russia, were fried by our government and died declaring their innocence and their love for each other. Hank's songs declared his love and his innocence, inexplicably, for people. It is doubtful whether Hank or the Rosenbergs had anything in common at all, except that a small boy in Texas had not cried when each of them had died. He had cried when he learned that he would never see his younger brother again.

The boy had not cried the year before when Adlai Stevenson had lost the potato-sack hop at the company picnic to good ol' Ike, the Garth Brooks of all presidents, who turned out to be the most significant leader we'd had since Millard Fillmore and remained as popular as the bottle of ketchup on the kitchen table of America, even if Lenny Bruce and Judy Garland, who were destined to die on toilets, like Elvis, remained in their rooms for the entire two terms of his presidency. The kid seemed to cry alot back then, because of the absence of his brother, but fortunately, the other human tragedies of this sort never cut into his otherwise happy childhood.

When he grew up, he continued to cry at times, though the tears were no longer visable to the naked eye, for he never again let human tragedies of this sort cut into his cocktail hour. But during his childhood, it is very likely that his parents noticed the tears. That may have been the reason they took him to see Shoshone the Magic Pony.

Now I find myself looking out at the cool spring evening and dreaming in the daytime like Lawrence of Arabia. At last I could afford to daydream. I looked out over the evening and my mind went back to 1953. Shoshone the Magic Pony had just been announced over the loud speaker of the little rodeo arena near Wellington, Texas. My mother, my father, my uncle and my grandparents were all sitting on splintery bleachers. Suddenly, all of our eyes were on the center of the arena. Shoshone came out prancing, led by an old cowboy with a grey beard. He took the reins and Shoshone began to bow several times to the audience.

The old cowboy stood back and music began, it was "Waltz Across Texas" and Shoshone the Magic Pony began to dance. It was apparent from the outset, even to us children in the crowd, that there were two men inside of Shoshone. You could tell by the clever, intricate soft shoe routine she was performing, by the fact that she often appeared to be moving in two directions at once, and by the funny and very unponylike way she now and again humped and arched her back to the music. I was laughing so hard I forgot for the moment about my brother, and Hank Williams, Adlai Stevenson, the Rosenbergs, and myself. Whoever was inside there was good, I even forgot that they were inside there. Then "Waltz Across Texas" was over. Shoshone took a deep theatrical bow. Everybody laughed and clapped and cheered. The old cowboy took off his hat. Then he took off his beard. Then he took off the old cowboy mask he was wearing and we saw to our amazement that the old-timer was in reality a very pretty young girl. She took off Shoshone's saddle. Then she took off her saddle blanket. And there, to my total astonishment, stood only Shoshone the Magic Pony. Shoshone was a real pony.

"So you see," I said to know one in particular, "there is a lesson in all this." "Nothing is what it appears to be and no one is who they appear to be." "And sometimes a dark and lonely street is just a dark and lonely street."


  1. I remember when you posted this the first time... sweet story!

  2. Who posted this?

    A similar story (almost verbatim)is in Kinky Friedman's "Guide to Texas Etiquette".