By Jack McCall

My late mother told me many stories of her growing up in the Brim Hollow. One of the most memorable involved a horse named “Old Hurry.”

Herod Brim, her father, was a curious fellow. He was eccentric, and somewhat distant as a father. I think my mother lived much of her life never quite sure of how he felt about her. He referred to her as “Son” until she was almost 7 years old. That fact alone should have given her reason to wonder.

I only knew him for my first 12 years. Personally, I think he adored her. But I was seeing through my eyes, not hers.

My mother loved to tell about Old Hurry. Before I finish the story, you will understand why.

Across the Miles
Jack McCall

It seems there was no shortage of horses and mules in the Brim Hollow in the 1920s and 1930s. There were riding horses; along with horses trained to pull the buggies, and mules for doing the heavy work. As a little girl, my mother knew all their names. The horse she remembered best was Old Hurry.

Most of the horses and mules were kept “up close” in the big lot which surrounded the house and feed barns. Oftentimes, they rested under big trees just outside the yard.

“As a little girl, I was always suspect of Old Hurry,” she told me. “He had a mean look in his eyes. When he was near by, I never took my eyes off him.”

One day, as she was walking to the barn, Old Hurry made his move.

“Suddenly, I heard hoof beats; and out of nowhere he came storming toward me, his teeth bared and his ears laid back,” she told. “I ran for my life!”

Fortunately, my little, skinny-legged mother made it to the safety of the barn. She later earned the nickname “Killdeer” (pronounced “kill-dee”) because she had skinny legs and was fleet of foot.

Later in the day, she told her father of how Old Hurry had chased her.

“Well, let’s just see,” was his reply.

So, the two of them devised a plan to expose Old Hurry’s mean streak.

As her father hid behind the smokehouse, he sent her on a walk to the barn right out in full view of Old Hurry. And, sure enough, here he came; his ears laid back, his white teeth flashing!

“Papa came out from behind the smokehouse hollering and throwing rocks and Old Hurry ran for the hills,” she beamed.

But that’s not how the story ended.

“The next morning when I went out to play, Old Hurry was gone. I never saw him again. And I never asked what happened to him,” she told me.

She speculated that Old Hurry was sent to the stock sale or traded, even though she was never sure. But two things she knew for certain. He was dealt with overnight and he never chased her again.

My mother loved to tell that story. In it, she was shown how much her father valued her.

I have learned over the years that a child’s greatest need is to feel valued.

And when they are shown that someone considers them valuable, they remember it for a long, long time.