The day after Thanksgiving, I was still full from the buffet Max and I had enjoyed with friends. The combination of turkey and all the trimmings plus garlic studded brie, crab popovers, ricotta dumplings with tomato sauce, game bird pie, and pumpkin chocolate chip decadence strained my stomach. Our diet had been put on hold for the day and I needed a second hit of Pepto Bismol. The computer pinged! Aunt Daisy …….
Hi Sylvia Honey,
Thanksgiving week, I was in the kitchen in my cozy Florida bungalow havin’ a grand old time makin’ pumpkin pies to give to neighbors. After fillin’ the crusts with the custard, I put them in the oven and settled down with a cup o’ cowboy coffee. The spicy aroma of the pies soon filled the room.
The Legend of Pumpkin Foot jumped back into my head. Told around campfires by many a cowpoke, some swore this story is true.
As I sat sniffin’ the air and recallin’ my cowgirl days, the Legend of Pumpkin Foot jumped back into my head. Told around campfires by many a cowpoke, some swore this story is true:
Pumpkin Foot was a flashy rodeo rider. He made his own costumes with lots of spangles on the fringe and preferred the color lilac.
While men in the rodeo rode astride their horses, it was said Pumpkin Foot rode sidesaddle. He didn’t bust broncos but entertained the crowds with trick ridin’. He could ride standin’ up in the saddle, hangin’ off the side of the horse with one leg in the air, doin’ back bends, standin’ on his head, swingin’ from side to side as his horse, Cossack, galloped around the arena.
It was rumored that Pumpkin Foot also did stunt ridin’ for female movie stars because of his slight build. Many believed if you squinted real hard at the movie, you could see where he doubled for Lana Turner, Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe.
Lots of fans asked Pumpkin Foot where he got the name ‘Cossack’ for his horse. He explained that trick ridin’ on one side of the horse was first used in Russia by Cossacks as a way of hidin’ from their enemies.
His fans also asked Pumpkin Foot how he got his name. He would smile with a secret lurkin’ behind the smile and never give an answer. But as the legend goes, when Pumpkin Foot took off his boots, his feet smelled sweet and spicy. When the other cowpokes took off their boots, it was ‘Pee-yew!!!’
The best part of the legend came after Pumpkin Foot and Cossack retired. He wanted Cossack to have a good time in his golden years so he created Pumpkin Patch Farm from an old broken down farmhouse with a fallin’ down barn.
He hired friends from his rodeo days who were good at carpentry to renovate the house and barn. The barn had stalls with fans for hot days and heaters for the cold. There were pastures for Cossack to graze in and an apple tree where he nibbled the fruit, a pond where he listened to bullfrogs croakin’ at night, a salt lick attached to a fence post, and woods where he enjoyed the shade on hot days.
As the story goes, Pumpkin Foot saw that Cossack was missin’ the company of other rodeo animals, so he took in horses way past their prime. They were good company for both Cossack and Pumpkin Foot.
Pumpkin Foot started takin’ in homeless rodeo dogs. The dogs had herded, done tricks and entertained crowds but when they got too old to perform, some weren’t wanted by their owners. The horses, Cossack, the dogs and Pumpkin Foot spent their Golden Years keepin’ each other from bein’ lonely. The legend swears they had their own language and would speak to each other on full moon nights tellin’ stories of rodeo days.
The day came when Cossack was just too old for this world. When he finally moseyed over the Rainbow Bridge, Pumpkin Foot buried him under the apple tree he loved so much. Pumpkin Foot was sad as sad could be, but he was grateful for all the years he’d spent with Cossack and placed a headstone on his grave that read, ‘Cossack, Faithful Friend and Companion.’
When Pumpkin Foot died at a very old age, he was buried under the apple tree along side Cossack. That night, a full moon night, accordin’ to the legend, the horses gathered around Pumpkin’s and Cossack’s graves kneelin’ on their front legs. The dogs bayed at the moon. They did the same on every full moon night as long as anyone could remember. From then on, in Pumpkin Foot’s part of the North Country, the full October moon is known as the ‘ Pumpkin Foot Moon. ‘
Pumpkin Foot and Cossack would have liked that ……….
Well, Sylvia Honey, that’s the legend. The pies are baked. Gotta get ‘em to the neighbors.
Sendin’ lottsa love your way,
What a great story! Who’s to say it’s just legend and not true?