Tag Archives: high school

What a Wonderful Life, Maybe

The eighth performance of the National High School Rodeo Association has just finished and Zee and I have chosen to linger a while in the grandstand to let the crowd move out.

Out of the corner of my eye I catch a gate swing open that leads into the arena were the bull riding has just finished.  Suddenly, into the arena runs all the bucking horses that had just done their best to dislodge future bronc riders– and the not-so dedicated ones that are thinking “I might want to take up another sport.”  The picture that I’ve attached to this story shows the wonderful condition that the stock contractor who owns these horses keeps them in.  I watched as this band of about 100 got  some exercise.  They trotted and galloped for a little while, then broke into a walk.  You could plainly see that this was a happy lot.

These horses are born to buck, much like Thoroughbreds are bred to run, and cow horses make their living working around cattle, and work horses find a place when pulling a plow or wagon.   All horses wear man’s fingerprint in the selection of the genetic traits that will make up our various breeds.  With their D.N.A. code directing them, they can go do what they do best .

Hoses are a gregarious lot that find comfort in numbers.  If left to roam, they will travel several miles a day grazing, playing and satisfying their curiosity as to what’s over the next hill.  Bucking horses are usually kept in big pastures free to eat and roam.  Now, let’s take a look at the bucking horses’ cousins that live in our towns and cities, housed in box stalls by the  thousand.  Many will spend their entire lives in these stalls never free to roam.  If these stalls were used for humans, we would call it a prison cell.  It is just as much a prison for my friend the horse where she must waste away the years being treated as a toy.  She is ether overfed or underfed, but boredom and loneliness soon cause aberrant behavior that shows itself with maladies like cribbing, weaving, and pawing.  When people enter their prison stall you may be greeted with pinned  ears and a hostile eye showing their contempt for the way they have to live their lives.

You mean to tell me that Mr Bucking Horse gets only 8 seconds to show his or her stuff before being sent back with their friends to maybe discuss how they threw that young whippersnapper to the ground?  What about the flank strap that they wear?  Well first, it’s lined with sheepskin.  It’s designed to tickle the same as when someone would tickle the bottom of your foot and you squirmed and laughed.  So what’s left?  The question becomes, if you were a horse where would you like to call “home?”
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Hazing at Palo Alto High School

Hazing was alive and well at the Palo Alto High School I attended. It was almost the end of summer vacation in the year of 1950, and I was soon to be a low-life freshman at Paly High. The group was me, Harry Petersen, Cecil Cutting, Bill Kimpton and Lincoln Hawley. Bill and Lincoln would not attend Paly but would obtain their education in private school.

What happened next to five hot shot boys with a swagger in their walk having recently graduated from Jordan Junior High as they sauntered down University Avenue would probably land the perpetrators in jail today. But in 1950 kidnapping five boys in broad daylight on University Avenue was one of many happenings that would endear me to Paly High forever. We were loaded into two non descript cars and told that we would be going for a little ride and that we all looked like we needed haircuts. Well I thought that we would be taken a few blocks, lose a few locks of hair and then be set free. But that’s not what happened. The next stop was a side road off of Skyline Boulevard where we not only lost most of our hair but all of our clothes except our shorts. I think we were all in a slight state of shock as our perpetrators drove out of sight with lots of hoots and hollers and waving of stolen clothes. Well we didn’t get too far when we started to find our clothes scattered along Skyline Boulevard. I’ve forgotten how far it is back to Palo Alto but it was agreed that hitch hiking was hopefully going to save a lot of walking. I forget how long we walked as there were several cars that passed and gave us the body language signal that said “I don’t have room for five ruffians.” Finally, a kind fellow in a pick-up truck pulled along side and said, “it looks like you kids need a ride, why don’t some of you get in front and the rest in the back and then tell me where you want to go.” It was agreed that we would go to the Hawley house in Los Altos and our parents could meet us all there.

My dad upon seeing me and seeing I was non the worse for wear started to laugh and said “welcome to starting at the bottom.” The other parents also agreed that this was a right of passage. So ended one of many fond memories at Palo Alto High School.
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