The Hicks

The Hicks owned the farm next door to ours when I was growing up. They had 6 kids and their mother was legally blind. Red haired George, the second oldest, showed up for the school bus most days needing a good scrubbing. He had thick glasses, and I always wondered if the blindness wasn’t some sort of genetic disorder passed down partially to George.

Both of our farms had frontage on the same two lane highway, which didn’t mean much except people would throw all manner of junk out their windows, and it would land on our properties. I also felt people might be screwing at the bottom of our driveway, and soon as they were about to get it on, our crazy dog would catch wind of it, and charge down there. And maybe you’re thinking I didn’t have much to do on the farm and liked to make these tales up, but when Dad and I cleaned up the front, we found stuff like black bras and panties, as if someone had to leave in a hurry and leave their clothing behind.

The Hicks property had the same problem with the loose clothing as we did. We were first on the school bus, and then it stopped to pick up most of the Hicks’ brood. One morning, George found one leg of a lady’s hose lying in the culvert by his mailbox, like some sort of gift from God-da. George brought the dirty stocking on the school bus and put it on his head. He wore it like a cap for a few miles, and then he pulled it down over his face, like a bank robber. He wore the hose like that until the bus driver yelled back at him, “George, get that thing off your face.” At which point, he pulled the stocking off, and threw it out the bus window.

I want to say all Shetland ponies are mean, but to be totally honest I’d have to say all Shetland ponies have a Napoleonic complex and part of the complex makes some of them mean. The Hicks had the meanest Shetland pony I ever met. His name was Little Bit, and Little Bit was also one of the smallest Shetland ponies I have ever personally known. He was a black and white bugger with popped out eyes.

Robin, the Hick’s second youngest child, was the runt of the litter. I always wondered about her, kind of in a medical sense. I wondered if she had a pituitary gland problem or maybe her mother couldn’t see she was becoming a midget while everyone else grew.

At any rate, our farms were separated by a wire fence and a wet weather creek. Our house was closer to the Hicks’ barn than their home, and none of their horses ever strayed onto our property until one summer day, there was Robin in our North field with Little Bit. Some of the grass was high enough at that point to almost hide the two of them. I walked to where they were, and Robin was standing there, crying holding onto Little Bit’s mane. She was trying to ride Little Bit. Bareback. The ornery shit was bucking her off as soon as she got on. I watched a few rounds of that and went back to the house and told my mother. Her response was to let them be. They migrated all over our field with their battle of wills, and finally at dark they disappeared.

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4 Responses to “The Hicks”

  1. worldphotos Says:

    Loved it. I wonder what George is doing now. What do you think?

  2. Before my Mom died, she said she saw George and didn’t recognize him, except for the grin. My Mom has been dead about 10 years so it was before that. She said he was sweet, like he always was, but he didn’t have any glasses. At the time, she found out what he did and I remember thinking that’s odd. I don’t know about him now.

  3. Old neighbors, isn’t it strange how they stay in our memories. The neighbor I remember was Walter, he used to climb the tree in front of our house and call my sister’s name to see if she could come out and play. He was a doffy lookin’ kid, he had a bad habit of wetting himself. He’d be playing, or running, or climbing a tree and all of a sudden he’d pee himself. I wonder where is he now?

    Another neighbor I remember growing up was Chuck and Carl, they were cousins, they lived across the creek from us. What made them memorable was Chuck’s dad died in a mining mishap, he was dumpling ore and his truck went over the cliff, it was the first time I was old enough to see the effect death had on the survivors, I remember seeing Chucky holding his face in both hands, sitting on the wooden stairs of his house, crying. It was sad day, I’ll never forget the sadness.

  4. You know, AZ, it is really odd that our neighbors get stuck in our memory. Wonder why that is? I don’t remember some things that happened at my own home but I remember the neighbors. That is horribly sad about Chuck and Carl’s dad and seeing little Chucky crying. Images like that are burned in memories forever.

    And another similarity. My cousin lived across the creek from me, with my grandmother in what we called The Big House. Funny how our lives have identical details.

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