My character, Nettie, from my novel Cowgirl Dreams donned a pair of her brother’s denim pants, sneaked out of the house one morning and rode in a neighbor’s informal rodeo. She loved the freedom of riding her horse Toby wearing pants and especially riding the steer in the rodeo. The adrenaline of staying on the back of that bucking, twisting, angry beast had her hooked and the clothing allowed her to ride unencumbered by the extra fabric of a skirt, divided or not.
But, when she arrived home, her mother was horrified to see her daughter dressed as a man. And having heard that Nettie’d ridden in the rodeo against her wishes, Mama was highly upset.
“You.” Mama stepped forward, her face dark red with anger. “You defied me.”
Cold dread pooled in Nettie’s belly. She’d never seen Mama so mad. “No, I—”
“Young lady, you were supposed to stay home today. Work on that pile of darning. You know Mrs. Connors wants it done by tomorrow, otherwise we don’t get paid till next week.”
The darning. She hadn’t given it another thought after she’d decided to sneak out. Oh dear. Icy prickles of guilt stabbed athher. “But. Lola. Why couldn’t she finish it?”
Mama stepped closer. “And, we had to hear it from the neighbor’s hired man. You. Rode. In. A rodeo.” With each woword, she jabbed her finger an inch from Nettie’s face. “You know how I feel about that.”
“But, Mama, I stayed on. I didn’t get bucked off.”
“Don’t you sass me, girl.” Mama’s voice shook now. “And wearing pants in public, too.” She closed her eyes a moment and sighed. “You will take that basket of socks, go to your room, and don’t come out until they’re all finished. No supper. No No riding. For a month.” She turned on her heel and stalked out of the kitchen.
At the door, Mama stopped. “And, for heavens sake, take that filthy red rag from around your neck and wash it.”