Homer rolled his window down enough to flip his cigarette out. It was days like this that he hated his job. A cold wind that chilled you to your toes was blowing in from the north, with a storm not far behind it.. Haydon was late, as usual. Homer was one of those people that was never late, and got a little pissed at those that were tardy, especially when they were late all the time. He promised himself that he'd stall around and come in late sometime, but as yet couldn't do it.
Homer wiped his fingers across the windshield, wiping away the fog from his breath. "Here he comes, finally," Homer thought to himself. Haydon's old white pickup was just coming around Serenity Island, belching diesel smoke. He pulled in tight behind Homer, climbed out, slammed the door twice, and ran to Homer's Blazer. "Damn, it's cold out there. You been waitin' long?" he asked, not really caring.
"Haydon, you're gonna be late for your own funeral. We're already running late, they need this hole by this afternoon."
"Who's goin' in the ground today?"
"Humm, Earl Smallcraft, age 79. He's lucky he made it passed 40."
Haydon stuffed a pinch of chew in his mouth. "What's his story?"
"Let's get busy, and I'll tell you.
The two gravediggers got their shovels, and with their coat collars turned up against the the wind, proceeded to dig.
Homer said, "I was just a little kid when this happened, but the way I heard it, was that Earl fancied himself a cowboy. He was always bragging about how he used to ride in rodeos: bucking broncos and bulls, and whatever else you ride."
Haydon dug the chew out from his cheek and flung it. "I take it he was spreadin' the bull."
"Don't know for sure, but anyway he got into a poker game with some real cowboys, and one of them got down to his socks and bet his Appaloosa horse. Long story short, Earl won the hand, and the horse. A several days later, after a few beers with the boys, Earl decided the ride the big old jug headed animal. He was boarding the horse on the Pinfied's farm, out on road 13. Anyway, all his buddies headed out to watch this cowboy show them what he could do.
"The first thing his buddies noticed was that Earl couldn't remember how to saddle the horse. Luckily, or maybe not, old man Pinfied was there and saddled the horse for him."
Homer turned his back to the wind, cupped his hands, and lit up a Camel. He took a deep drag and coughed. "Earl mounted up, and walked the horse around the field of weeds. Old man Pinfied was a crafty old fart, and he'd dug some ditches across his field so that when the river was high some of the water would fill these ditches, and he wouldn't have to pay for it. Earl was walking the horse around these ditches. His buddies, getting bored, yelled at him to race the horse across the field. I suspect Earl was feeling quite proud of himself about then, so he kicked the horse and away they went. The problem being, he was now running across the field, and with the ditches ten feet apart meant the horse had to jump, gallop a few feet jump again all the way across the field. The first jump Earl lost his hat, then shouting whoa, he was pulling back on the reins, but then he would have to lean forward when the horse jumped. It was like a wild rocking chair, until the horse stopped dead still, and Earl continued on alone.
"They say Earl sailed twenty feet and made a three point landing, both knees and his nose. It's a wonder it didn't kill him. Let's go sit in the car and warm up."