Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chapter 7

In the summer of 1928, I went to church for the second time I could remember. The first was Doc’s funeral. We went to church on Sunday morning and then about noon I was baptized in Woodruff Creek. This was quite a shock to my physical body, but not much else. I was then confirmed a member of the Church, but that didn’t make much impression either. The next week we were back doing the same as before and I don’t recall ever going to Church again in Woodruff.

This summer, of course, I wasn’t a baby anymore thanks to the arrival of my new brother, Alvie. And I was thankful for the job since now I didn’t have to watch the baby all the time, a job that now fell to my sisters. He had a mole on his face he kept a scratching and had to be watched constantly. But I loved him because now I wasn’t the baby any longer.

The next two years seemed to run into each other in retrospect. Back to school in the fall, finished school with Miss Tingey, still my teacher. Another summer herding milk cows, then started the third grade. I graduated to the north double room. The teacher this year was Miss Frasier and I got along fine because she like one of my brothers. My only clear memory was winning a pencil box for being the first student in my class to learn my times tables. And in getting into a fight with George Brown, and he was a fourth grader. Seems his father and mine had a difficulty over water rights and George wanted to be included in. He lost and so did his father.

After the third year of school, it was decided that Mother would stay at the Call place and the girls would cook at the Bluegrass for the hay crew. I was to stay with Mother and help her with the milk cows. This is the only time I ever knew any of the girls to milk cows on our ranch.

Shortly after the crew left for the big ranch, a neighbor, Mr. Walton, came and hired me to work for him. I was to rake hay, driving a team of horses on the rake. One of the idols on the ranch had been Randy because Father rake more hay than two men. So I started out at a trot and made some pretty crooked winrows. This stopped the next time I passed the mowers because Mr. Walton informed me that straight rows were more important than speed. So after that, nice straight rows at slow walk. But this was great and after a few more instructions, the boss said I was doing a good job and would pay me a dollar a day. That was a grown man’s wages. Boy, was I hot stuff—only nine years old and a man. I think the job lasted ten days until Dad came home and he talked to Mr. Walton and announced to the family that if I could work for the neighbors, I could start the next day for him.

So, I started the next day driving derrick for Dad. By now, I had managed to acquire a team of Bay mares all my own. So Dad provided the harness and I started driving my own team, Old Helen and Old Alice on the derrick. They were a really good team, matched bays with a strip down each face and I thought I was the king of creation driving them. Not only that, I took the job Dad had been doing, so I imagined myself Boss of the crew. The illusion was great until a few days later my brother made me give up Old Helen to one of the push rakes and told me to harness Old Buck, a horse I distinctly disliked. But I did as I was told.

Buck was a lazy think and would never go fast enough to get the hay to the back of the stack, which made the stackers very unhappy. So my brother Ote provided a willow and I applied it amply. I had the team going at a pretty good trot when I came to the end of the cable. This generally gave the cart a good bounce and stopped the team. Not this time. I was bounced one way when the cable came tight and the other when it broke. The derrick came crashing to the earth and the team kept going until the crack, then they took off. I was able to control them very shortly but it took longer to stand the tongue lashing I got from big brother. And it shut the crew down until another cable could be brought down from Evanston. After the cable was replaced, we continued until school started, driving the derrick for the ranch. In the meantime, because of an emergency  on the Deseret Livestock, Dad was drafted to go help Ralph on a big emergency and the crew finished up under Ote—and we got the job done.

No comments:

Post a Comment