When I was a kid, I had a strong passion for horses. Unlike other kids, I used to help my step father on the ranch. My biological father died of cancer during the time of my birth. I never got to know him, but my mother always told us how diligent, intelligent, and loving he was. My mother always remarked that I resembled him in so many ways. I grew up together with my brother and sister. My last born brother’s name is Eriberto, but we preferred to refer to him as Pumba. My elder sister’s name is Marina, while my mom’s name is Maria. We grew up under the care of my step father, who always guided and advised us. We used to love him and regarded him as a father.
Back in the days when I was young, I did not know much about horses, but I was glad to have Martin, my step father, who was always there to guide me. On the ranch, we reared chicken and horses. The ranch was the largest in Orland, California and was named Get Away Farm. We used to like the air in the mountainous region, since it was rich of oxygen and had an invigorating breeze. Every day for me was an adventure and I never got tired of staying at the ranch. What made it possible for me to enjoy my childhood the most was that that my home was at the ranch. Therefore, I never used to struggle to get to where my father was.
My father was employed by his boss, who never talked to children. We used to do nasty things to get his attention, but we could always hit a dead end. My step father was hard working, and I used to admire his abilities. He used to find solutions to problems I thought could not be solvable. He taught me how to take care of the horses and feed the chicken. He always insisted on discipline and diligence, and that is how I came to acquire these attributes. I remember one time when he laughed hysterically when a chicken attacked me. I screamed for help, but instead of helping me, he just stood there unable to hold his breath. I blamed Pumba and Marina, since they were the ones who led me to play with the hen’s chick. From that time, I developed a phobia towards hens.
One day after helping out my father on the ranch, we went home only to get the shock of our lives. Pumba, Marina and I could not hold our tears. We went to the kitchen and found all the chickens that we had endeavored to rear had been killed by my mother. She used the meat to prepare dinner. During the dinner, she commented that soup from chickens was rich in nutrients, but nobody was ready to listen to her. Though we enjoyed the meat and soup, we could not hide the pity and feeling of the loss of so much hard work. After that incident, I remember us not talking to my mother for three days.
A day seemed shorter especially when we were out in the fields. We used to watch my father taking care of the horses, and he would give us each a hammer to repair the stables and fences. My brother did not like the experience of repairing the fences and stables, so I would do the task alone, but I always reported to my father that the work was done by both of us. After repairing the stables, we would enjoy watching my father and his boss doing horse insemination. The horses would start squealing in objection to the insemination, and they would start moving in circles. This would make my father and his boss panic as they were afraid that the horses would become uncontrollable, but my father always knew the right thing to do in order to calm the horses.
The most distinctive feature about the ranch was the fish ponds and irrigations canal. The fish pond was situated at the end of the field, where there was plenty of water. The irrigation canals stood in the middle of the field. We used to spend most of our afternoons with my brother playing in the fields and darting around the irrigation canals. I remember one time we went for fishing at the fish pond; on our way, my brother suddenly screamed and fainted. I did not understand the reason and neither did I know what to do. I bent down to pick him and saw a snake. I panicked, but I knew I had to do something. I remembered my father telling us not to move in the sight of a snake, and that was what I did. The snake paused for a few minutes and vanished in the fields. I carried my brother home and we were thankful that nothing happened to us. After that incident, we encountered many snakes. We used to kill them whenever we were armed with weapons, while in other incidences we used to escape.
Most of the times, we would go home tired and sleepy. My mother would always make us beans and rice tacos, since they were our favorite, and everyone always wanted a second plate. My brother and I ate a lot of food, since we used to spend the whole of the day climbing trees. Before we slept, my father would make us go close to the ranch entrance gate. We had been always afraid of the dark as we had perceptions that there existed monsters. Most times that we managed to go close to the gate, we would run back home a distance of 300 yards thinking that a monster was chasing us.
Growing up in the fields molded me into a disciplined, hardworking, and assertive gentleman. Despite these attributes, I became shy and incredibly funny, and everyone at school used to mock me, but I never got bothered. They used to like my jokes and most of all my stories about my growing up on the ranch. I grew up close to my family who meant everything to me. Growing up on the ranch provided days I cherished and I never want to forget them.