How the Old Coot is Frosty

I wrote about a new name I’d picked up a few weeks ago. VERN! Now, I’ve been dubbed with yet another moniker, FROSTY. I guess it’s my year for new names. Some behind my back like Old Stumbles, Crusty, Grouch and Cheapskate, and of course, those I hear in public, Sir, Mister and Gramps (plus Vern, Coot and now, Frosty). It makes me wonder what else I’ll be called by before the year ends. 

Frosty came my way in Zion National Park, Utah, on a western trip that found me in the Grand Canyon, Bryce Canyon, Lake Powell, Los Vegas and three days with our son in San Diego. Frosty became my handle on a riding trail in Zion Canyon. Frosty was the horse I was assigned for a trail ride, something I’d agreed to with trepidation, remembering well, my one and only experience mounted on a horse, properly called the “barn idiot,” when I was 16 years old. The “Idiot” broke from the pack and galloped back to the barn where I barely managed to slip off before he shot through the door that would have surely knocked my head off, since the opening was hardly high enough for a galloping horse, let alone one with a mounted rider. 

I tugged myself atop Frosty (horse people call it mounted) and got in line, next to last, with several other riders and our guide, Sylvia. She didn’t call us by our names but referred to us by the name of the horse we were riding. “Slow down back there, Spirit?”  – “Hurry up Trigger; don’t let a big gap open between you and Pinto.” Thus, I became Frosty, a lot better than Old Timer, the name I started with when I signed up for the ride, which, explains why she kept swiveling around in her saddle and yelling, “How you doing back there Frosty? Are you okay?” It was not just my age; it was the grimace on my face and the yelps of pain I emitted every time Frosty decided to gallop or to turn his head and snap at my legs with a set of horse teeth that looked lethal to me.   

I’m sure the group was sick of the constant, Frosty, Frosty, Frosty. Even when the ordeal was over it didn’t stop. As I limped across the coral back toward the lodge, the shouts of, “How you doing Frosty,” continued. Whenever my wife, Marcia, relates the tale of our horseback ride in the canyon (with too much chuckling, I might add), another new person starts calling me Frosty. I’ll accept the horse name, but I’m not planning on doing anything horse-wise to pick up a new steed reference. So, call me Frosty, or Vern, or Coot, or Jim Steel. It’s better than being ignored, which us old coots get a lot of. So, thanks for that. 

Yours truly, Frosty. 

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