Among the adventures that fell before me in the summer of '79 was learning to ride horseback. The ranch was up in the Berkeley Hills, perhaps fifty rugged acres that were well suited for a stables.

        From the corral Bill and I guided our horses over several sharp gullies, then through a deep woods where it was virtually impossible to see beyond the next stride. Eventually we came out on one of the slightly graveled trails. Bill was just behind me when I decided to see what my mare could do.

        She responded like a cross between a Lincoln and a Jaguar, and in less than two seconds I was galloping due West. I heard Bill hollering at me to “Stop!”

        About half a mile down, a steady pull on the reigns quickly slowed my horse to a stop. Seconds later my pal skidded to a stop, swearing furiously .

        I think his last words were something like, “You could've fallen off and busted your fool neck, goddammit!”

        I was welded to the saddle with a two-inch belt that was cinched tight, but I considered Bill's concerns. Leaned forward, stroking Molly's neck. “Can't know what's around the next bend,” was all I said.


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Copyright 2001, Gary Kline