Caleb stepped out onto the back porch and took a deep breath of the cool late afternoon air. It had been a long hard day, but that was farm life. Only one chore left to do. He looked around and saw his cousin Ed standing down by the fence staring off into the distance.
Poor Ed, he was having trouble adjusting to life on the farm. He’d come to be with the family for the summer thinking it would be a good experience and it would be if only he’d stop fretting so much.
Caleb didn’t have to think twice about what was on Ed’s mind. It was always the same. He shook his head and headed down to the fence.
“Hey Ed, how’s it goin’?”
“Oh, hey, Caleb, it’s goin’ all right I guess.”
Caleb grinned. These city boys were so easy to see through.
“Sure it is. Least ways it would be if you could get your head straight about Bess, wouldn’t it?”
Ed blushed and looked down.
“It really shows, huh? I don’t know Caleb. I really want to get it right but she doesn’t seem to want me anywhere near her. I guess I really screwed it up big time. I wish I could get the hang of things.”
Caleb patted him on the back and chuckled.
“You’re just over thinking it, Ed. She gets nervous on account of she can tell you’re nervous. You lack confidence boy, that’s your problem.”
Ed looked down again and kicked at a dirt clod. He was at a loss for words.
“Look, Ed, you don’t have to do it, you know, it’s no big deal.” He couldn’t look Ed in the eye. He didn’t mean a word of it.
Ed cast a pleading look at Caleb.
“But I want to, Caleb. You know how it is.”
“Yeah, I suppose I do at that. Look, it’s not so different to learning to ride a horse. Remember when you first got here and you couldn’t ride for love nor money? Now look at ya, you’re tall in the saddle every day.”
Ed grinned and nodded. Maybe he was just over thinking things.
“Well, okay, so you think I should give it another go?”
“Boy, I sure do! You got to make it work for you, son. Don’t be a quitter.”
Ed felt better and resolved that he was going to give it another go with Bess. He just needed to approach her with confidence. Show her he was the man, that’s all. He was being foolish. He felt much lighter and they walked back to the house and got some iced tea and sat on the porch admiring the fading light.
They talked about what they might do that weekend and about what still needed doing the rest of week around the farm and then Caleb lifted his chin toward the barn.
“I just seen her walk in, Ed. Now’s the time. Go on boy, you can do this. I know you can. Tell you what, I’ll walk down there with you. I won’t interfere nor nothin’, I’ll just be standing by for moral support. What do ya say?”
Ed nodded and stood up. It was now or never. He headed down to the barn with Caleb right behind him. When he got to the door he took a deep breath and walked in.
Bess looked over at him, her big brown eyes hard to read, but Ed didn’t hesitate. He walked right over and reached out for her. A minute later he was grinning at Caleb.
“I’m doin’ it, Caleb. Look at me! She’s lettin’ me have at her!”
Caleb gave him a big thumbs-up and Bess turned her head and looked at him.
“Moo.” She went back to swishing her tail at the flies on her back.