The Red Pony
The Red Pony Family Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Jody knew how his father was probing for a place to hurt in Gitano. He had been probed often. His father knew every place in the boy where a word could fester. (2.109)
Although we're betting they don't have a lot of heart-to-hearts, it's clear that Jody knows his dad really well—faults and all.
"Nobody can tell you anything. Like my old man did with me about the saddle blanket. He was a government packer when I was your size, and I helped him some. One day I left a wrinkle in my saddle blanket and made a saddle-sore. My old man didn't give me hell at all. But the next morning he saddled me up with a forty-pound stock saddle. I had to lead my horse and carry that saddle over a whole damn mountain in the sun. It darn near killed me, but I never left no wrinkles in a blanket again." (3.116)
Billy Buck's dad passed on some sage wisdom: no matter how much you tell a person what to do, they won't learn their lesson until they learn by doing. Maybe that's why Carl doesn't do much to explain things to Jody. He figures that the kid will suss it out on his own and learn from his own mistakes.
Carl Tiflin came to the barn with Jody one day. He looked admiringly at the groomed bay coat, and he felt the firm flesh over ribs and shoulders. "You've done a good job," he said to Jody. And this was the greatest praise he knew how to give. Jody was bright with pride for hours afterward. (3.128)
Jody probably wants to hold on to this feeling for as long as he can, because it's unlikely Carl's going to be showering him with praise again anytime soon.