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South Texas Living

Reminiscing: Horse incident causes reflection on past cuts and bruises

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Julia Castro
Apple Pie and Salsa
March 28, 2012 | 2,461 views | Post a comment

Recently, a 2-year-old great-granddaughter of Henry’s and mine was hurt by a horse. The details are sketchy because it happened so fast, but evidently the horse jumped over a fence, and when it came down, it caught Joslyn on the left side of the face just below the eye. It could have been a lot worse, but thanks to the quick action of her 12-year-old aunt, who pulled her out of the way, she was spared from further harm.

The child had a big cut on the cheek that required many stitches and her eye was swollen shut in the beginning. We saw her two days later after she got out of the hospital. Her face was badly bruised, but her mom said it didn’t look nearly as bad as it did at first. She is healing nicely with no permanent damage to the eye. We thank the Lord for that.

Later, I reflected on the only other incident that happened in our family involving a horse. In talking to my son Leonard, we determined that it happened in the summer of 1972. We had two horses -- a mare named Red-Red, because of her beautiful color, and her offspring, Cinco, so named because he was born on Cinco de Mayo. We also called him Five. Henry had built a pen, with the boys’ help, on the far corner of our property on Plum Street. The boys took turns making sure the animals were fed and given water.

That day, Leonard went out to feed them. The other kids were all outside. I was in the kitchen starting supper. In fact, I was fixing to make tortillas and I had my hands in the masa. Then it happened. Yes -- what I called a blood-curdling scream. One of the kids came running up to the kitchen door screaming that the horse had bitten Leonard. I grabbed a kitchen towel and wiped the dough off my hands as I ran outside. Leonard was running towards the house, blood running down the side of his neck. I told him to get in the car while I went inside to wash my hands and get my purse. I grabbed a clean towel to put on Leonard’s wound. I drove straight to Wilson Memorial Hospital, where they cleaned the wound, put a patch on it, and gave him a tetanus shot. They couldn’t give him any stitches because Cinco had actually bitten off a piece of flesh. It would have to heal from the inside out.

I couldn’t understand why Cinco did that. Leonard was the one who rode him almost every day. Henry has always said that it was because Leonard was teasing him when he was going to feed him. Leonard has always denied it. Regardless of who is right, Leonard has a scar on the right side of the neck.

As the boys got older and added a word to their vocabulary, the others would joke that Cinco had given Leonard a hickey. Leonard says that as bad as that accident was, it wasn’t as bad as the cut he got on the top of his head close to the forehead. That had happened just before school was out that same year. (I have no recollection of this.)

It was off-season, but he and other boys in his eighth- grade class were playing football. He fell on someone’s bony knee, and it caused a gash on his scalp. Coach Garza wanted to take him to the hospital, but Leonard refused because he was sure they were going to shave his head. He wanted none of that because he was planning to go to a big party that night at the River Bridge.

I had to play nurse. I did the best I could by criss-crossing strands of hair over the cut and tying them in knots to close up the gash. I guess I didn’t do such a good job because he still ended up with a scar. It’s a good thing he has always had a full head of hair.

And Leonard says he still didn’t get to go to the party.

Julia Castro, a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville with her husband, Henry.

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