Friday, September 9, 2011

A Horse of an Off-Color

Last year, on our annual Labor Day camping trip, I told a joke. It's a joke I've somehow become famous for over the years, one that requires it be told in an English accent and that revolves around its punchline, which is "horsecock."

When I told it last year to the gathered group, the uproarious laughter that pealed through the camp was enough to wake up the early sleepers, and it went over so well that the next morning I was carted to the neighboring rancher's house, just so I could tell it to him.

This year, I was walking Luciya up to our sleeping quarters through the dark woods one night when I heard the group shouting after us from the main cabin. I turned my flashlight around and shouted back down at them: "What?"

John's voice boomed up: "They want you to do horsecock!"

"Later!" I answered. "I'm taking Luciya to bed." And with that, she and I resumed picking our way through the pine needles and dusty knolls to our quarters. After a few steps I heard "Mommy?"

"Yes, sweetie?"

"Can I do horsecock?"

Sigh. It's late, it's dark, let's not get into it. "Yes, honey."

"I get to do horsecock with you?"

"Mmm hmm."

"Mommy, I can do horsecock with you in the morning?"

"Of course, sweetie."

Quiet walking. Her hand in mine. Her breathing becomes ragged and excited. In a quavering voice she says, "Ine so excited to do horsecock!"


More walking up through the woods. I can practically hear the little wheels turning in her brain. After a few more quiet steps,


"Yes, honey?"

"If we see a horsecock, can we get on it?"

Oy. Vey.

"Yes, hon."

More walking, more silent ponderation. Then,


"Yes, sweetie."

"What's horsecock?"

"Ask your father."