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"Little Brat That Needs A Spanking"


Theresa Allen

I never knew where I stood. The only people in my immediate family who seemed to like me were my Yiayia (Granny) from western Turkey and my dad's very American father, "Granddad." My father's family had a long and not so illustrious history in the "new world." I was the product of a lot of "coming and going." Dad's family, after the move from Ireland, or England, or was it France (?), came from Kansas. I have yet to get a corroborating story.

All I "know" is that Granddad had some bit of native roots. But, does anyone know anything?

"C'mon Ee-ha-wey, " Old Joe called me. Old Joe and Granddad were throwing dice.

Old Joe's wife was turning something over a grill. This was Bass Lake, California and I couldn't have been more than about 4 or 5 years old.

"You Lakota are such assholes..." Old Joe fished around in his pockets for change. "Charlie..."

What did that mean?

"Hey, Ee-ha-wey," I knew that he was talking to me but I wasn't sure how. "I've got a question for you." Old Joe sunk down in an abandoned car seat that was propped up against the deck of his front porch. "Come on, darlin'. Ee-ha-wey, your granddaddy just won all of my beer money. What do you say?"

I said nothing. I hadn't heard "Ee-ha-wey" before that afternoon. I shrugged my shoulders and laughed. What else could I do?

"Put her on Powder Keg." Old Joe was rolling a cigarette.

"She's too young." My granddad answered. "She's too little."

"She's got it in her." Old Joe hissed as he lit up his rollie.

"No, not now." Granddad grabbed me in his arms. "Not now." He kissed the top of my head.

Nearly 10 years later, I was in a horse pasture with several horses. Granddad was introducing them to me. It was November and cold. I was wearing my double-breasted, faux fur collared, Sherlock Holmes coat.

"This is Powder Keg." An old horse, gray and docile, strolled up to me, ignoring granddad. The horse nuzzled my chin. I felt the warmth that comes with awkwardness. "You like horses, don't you?" He asked me.

"I don't know, Granddad." I did know. I just couldn't say. The horse scared me to death. It was big and clumsy. It made me feel small and vulnerable.

"He likes you." Granddad pulled his left arm closer, pulling me in tighter. There was less room for me to escape.

"Yeah, but. Granddad," I hoped for a natural disaster to free me from his grip. "I'm not much for horses."

"Bullshit!" He proclaimed. "You're my granddaughter! You have to have it in you! He likes you!"

"So?" I was anxious to go back home and listen to my radio, or the Jefferson Airplane on my portable turntable...all I knew was that I needed to get out of there.

"C'mon, Ee-ha-wey." I hadn't heard that in years, but I knew that it was me. The horse continued to nibble on my faux fur. I grew more restless. Granddad finally conceded and pulled the chin of the horse away from me, and I got to go home.

Granddad died about 8 months later. Would it have been so much for me to get up on "Powder Keg" and at least try to ride the horse?

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