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Rated: 13+ · Assignment · Western · #2136947
Vignette ~ Four
Vignette - Four - First Crisis ~ Internal

Frustrated, tired, and angry, Jodie sat in the corner of Kit's stall with her knees bent up and her forearms resting on them. With clasped hands, she stared at her thumbs as they went round and round in circles. She could feel the sting rising in her eyes, as the tears begin to form.

"Stop it!" she yelled at herself. "Tough Cowgirls don't cry!"

Jodie felt herself being drawn into a world of uncertainty. Kit touched the top of her head with her nose. Jodie raised her tear stained face, "It's not my fault, Sierra has just reverted back to her spoiled bratty ways." Jodie cringed at that thought because deep inside she knew—she knew that it was she who failed. It was she who was not communicating with Sierra. She couldn't admit that she didn't know how to bridge the gap—a gap that she helped create. "God, how I wish that I had not over estimated her and secretly entered her in the upcoming Junior competition. I was sure that she was ready and I wanted to surprise her!"

For the past three months, Sierra had made little to no progress. Jodie had done everything possible to get her ready. She had explained the course pattern, walked her and her horse through it, and encouraged her to complete the Cloverleaf pattern that she would be expected to follow in the competition. Instead, at the third and final barrel, Sierra would freeze and pull the horse up short and stop him. Jodie just couldn't understand, and Sierra couldn't or wouldn't explain.

There was a lot at stake for Jodie. The purse was big and Jodie would be entitled to half, and if her first student was disqualified for failure to complete the Cloverleaf, Jodie's reputation as a teacher would become questionable.

She shook her mind free and began to sift through her options. It was too late to dump Sierra and pick up a new student. The competition was three months away. Asking her family for help, to her, was equivalent to throwing in the towel, and Sierra had become unreasonable and uncooperative after Jodie had lost her temper on the last lesson. Sierra had resigned herself just to sit in the saddle with her arms folded across her chest and pout. Unable to think of any more—Jodie knew that she needed help. That mean't that if Sierra won, the purse would be split three ways instead of two, but her reputation would remain undamaged. Jodie felt the only option left open to her was to put word out on the Barrel Racing circuit that she was hiring for help.

The sun was just beginning to hit the east side of the house. Jodie was sitting out on her bedroom balcony sipping her coffee and reading the newspaper when her phone rang.

Jodie stared at the out-of-state number. On the third ring, she answered.

"Hello? Is this Miss Jodie McDonald?" The female voice on the other end was audible but raspy.

"Yes it is, may I ask who is calling?"

"My name is Mary Ann Langdon, and I am calling in regards to the add for help in training handicapped children to horseback ride. Is the position still open?"

"Yes it is, do you have experience, certification, and references?" Jodie felt strange asking that question because she, herself did not. She knew that she would need to get them if she desired to open her academy.

"Yes I do. I am also a member of PATH Intl. That's the Professional Association of Therapeutic Horsemanship International which focuses on teaching riding skills to people with disabilities, and I have my certification all my reference papers with me. Could we meet?"

Jodie felt a twinge of jealousy rise up from her gut. The uncertainties, her family's reactions, and possible consequences raced through her mind. She reminded herself of her Pa's favorite advice to her and her brothers. Move out of your comfort zone. You can only grow if you are willing to feel awkward and uncomfortable when you try something new.

With that thought in mind, she swallowed hard and answered. "Yes is a place in town called Coyote Bar and Grill. Are you close enough to meet me at two this afternoon?

"Yes, I'll see you then."

Jodie arrived at The Coyote early. She wanted to see what she was hiring as she walked through the door. Jodie finished her second beer when the door opened. In walked a tall, thin girl dressed in tight, black leather pants with a matching vest. Her black hair was cut short and spiked to stand on end. She wore black lipstick and heavy black make-up around her eyes. Both arms were covered with tattoos, and she had multiple body piercings. Under her left arm, a motorcycle helmet was tucked and with a firm grip she held an envelope in her right hand. She gave the appearance that she would be more at home in a cat house or riding shot-gun for The Hells Angels.

Jodie's jaw dropped,OH MY GOD! What have I done! Pa is going to have a cow!

Mary Ann approached the bar. "Two beers please. Is Miss Jodie McDonald here yet?"

Manny pointed across the room at Jodie. "Thank ya partner." Mary Ann grabbed both beers and approached Jodie.

"May I sit down? I am Mary Ann, however, my friends refer to me as Big Mama".

Still in shock, Jodie motioned for her to sit.

Big Mama took a seat and shoved a beer and her envelope in Jodie's direction. "I think that you will find everything in order and to your satisfaction."

Jodie thumbed through her papers, smiled and nodded her head.

"Now, Miss Jodie, tell me about this student that is causing you so much grief." Jodie didn't know how she could have known that. Jodie told her all about Sierra, her problems and her personality. She also confided that she had entered her in an upcoming competition that now she doesn't think she is ready for.

Big Mama leaned back in her chair. "You know Jodie, that in all walks of life, there two groups of people. Those that want to prove their independence and those who don't. The handicapped are no different. It sounds as though your girl is in the latter group. In order to get her up off her duff and move her over, is to push the eight buttons in the right combination, and that is why I'm here.

Jodie liked her right away and felt comfortable talking with her. Her laugh was boisterous, but she had a charismatic way about her, which was accented by her appearance.

Jodie and Big Mama were sipping on their third beer when Seth entered the bar. Looking around the room he saw Jodie.

"Big Mama, is that you?

"Seth! Oh my God, Seth what are you doing way out here!"

Big Mama jumped in his arms. "My God it has been a long time."

Jodie stood up, "I take it that you know each other?"

"Oh yea...Jodie...Big Mama and I go way back!"

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