Fremont County, Iowa

John Kellison Spins a Yarn
at the Knox General Store
by Jerry Birkby

View from the Attic ~ A Weekly Series
Fremont County Historical Society
Week of July 6, 2009

Thursday, March 3, 1960

“You remember that little yaller mare Charlie Orr had, Ham? She could just about do ever’thing but talk. You remember her?” (Ham averred that he did indeed remember her.)

“Well, one time we was all down here to the store a-loafin’, fightin’, and a-carryin’ on--it was on a Sunday and we was fixin’ to have a horse race.

“Well sir, Charlie was a-standin’ there with his mare when he looked up and seen the horse doctor from Sidney comin’ round the bend, so he laid for him.

“Now Charlie had that little mare trained to act like she had the belly ache and it was the damnedest thing you ever seen to see her go through her act. She’d just fall down like she’d been pole axed and roll over on her back and moan--Oh, it was terrible.

“So he waited until Ol’ Doc was up close and he give that little mare the signal and she just went down all in a heap.

“Course Ol’ Doc, he pulled his horses up, jumped out of his rig and came runnin’ over to where Charlie was a-standin’, lookin’ down at his mare with the most surprised look on his face.

“’My God, Charlie,’ Doc says, ‘What’s the matter with your mare?’

“’Dunno, Doc,’ Charlie says. ‘She was all right a minute ago. I was just getting her ready for the race when all of a sudden she just seemed to go down.’

“Well, the Doc, he looked her all over as she was a-layin’ there in the dust and he says, ‘By God, Charlie, she’s got the colic, I do believe, and its going to be touch and go to save her.’

“Well, Charlie never said nothing, but when the Doc wasn’t lookin’ he give that little mare another signal of some kind and she went to drumin’ on her belly with her front feet and a-kickin’ out with her hind feet and pretty soon she just stiffened out all over and went to quiverin’ and then she went all limp and her head lolled over--Oh, it was pitiful, I tell you.

“’She’s gone, Charlie,’ the Doc says. ‘Oh, how I hate that. If only I had come by a minute or two quicker I might have been able to save her.’

“Charlie said he hated it too. He said she’d been a mighty good horse. Said he could look a hundred years and never find one half as good.

“Doc said a fellar could sure get attached to a good horse.

“Charlie said it was so and while he was a-carryin’ on like that he reached out and kind of nudged that little yallar mare with the side of his shoe and she just jumped up and shook herself off and stood there bobbin’ her head up and down.

“Well, right away Doc seen that he’d been had and he was kind of huffy about it, but that kind of thing never bothered old Charlie none.”

Charlie Orr was a real person--quite a character. This Attic shows how the good ole boys used to tell stories and the “lingo” they used. All tongue in cheek.

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Page updated on May 10, 2017 by Karyn Techau