Monday, July 15, 2024

 Good news....



Thursday, September 7, 2017

watch this

Watch this YouTube then read my book Drive.
We make the Monster Piano see at

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Please watch..

Something to watch while you read the memoir 'DRIVE the 'Lighted Key Monster Piano' .

Monday, August 7, 2017

A Monster Piano!!

I found a Monster Piano. Even at first sight, people smile and are drawn to it, and in no time their “inner child” starts responding. Soon, even the most tone-deaf are attempting Heart & Soul or the ever-popular Chopsticks. Adults can laugh and act like kids again. Of course, for children the piano is TOTALLY irresistible.

60 Key Monster Piano (5 octave) @ 6.1 meters               $16,800 USD
(New lighted key model for $21,000) See at YouTube link  -

Monday, May 22, 2017

The End

like 'love' or 'opportunity' I would know what to do with that gift; love or opportunity could change me absolutely and permanently for the better.

The real truth, I came to understand, was our parents did give us love and opportunity. The neighbors we worked for gave us love and opportunity. Our few friends and the people of Hamer gave us love and opportunity.

Our parents have changed, softened if you will; emotion brings about emotions; it’s part of being human. Russell and I have learned to experience and control emotion.

Thanks! We love you Mom and Dad!

The End

Sunday, May 21, 2017

250 more words tomorrow

few hours until a doctor came in.”

Are you the folks from Hamer?” the doc asked. We nodded. “The patient is awake and asking for you. Before you go in, he may be a little out of it. When he recovered from anesthesia, he kept demanding a lawyer.” “The doctor seemed to suggest he was more worried about a lawyer suing him than Tex’s recovery. We followed him into the intensive care room where Tex looked near death, but when he saw us, he seemed to improve a bit.”

I need a lawyer,” He wheezed.

What?” Vernon asked.

Tex took a breath and with more strength said, “I need a lawyer right now. Go get a lawyer!”

Why?” I asked, “What’s happening?”

I need to get a lawyer to write my will…”after a pause he continued, “I want to leave my farm to your boys. I want a will that states I give everything I have to Russell and Casey.”

It’s after 6:00; everything will be closed,” I told him.

Get Sinclair, he will come in for me,” Tex said forcing out the words. He looked bad again and seemed to fall asleep.

Okay, we’ll try to get Sinclair,” Vernon said. Tex didn’t respond and after a few minutes we left. We called Sinclair’s office and of course there was no answer, but he had a recorded voice saying he was out of town. We couldn’t contact any other lawyer in the night. We went back to the hospital early in the morning. The hospital told us Tex had died and wanted us to fill out paperwork for him. They wanted to know about next of kin because they wanted to know about their payment. What could we do? We told them about his family. It was the right thing to do.

Chapter 34
The next couple of weeks went by. We found out Tex’s bunch had blown into town with a team of lawyers. They had him buried in a pauper’s grave without even a funeral service. They took control of his farm and immediately sold the farm to Rene. The whole process took a few days for the greedy bastards to finish their wicked work and fly back to Texas.

Tex’s worst nightmares came true,” I said sadly. “He told us this would happen and it did! Exactly like he said it would. Rene got a farm that he lied and cheated to get, and then got another farm by the death of a good man.”

The rich get richer!” Russ said morosely, “The good die and evil lives forever!”

I don't know how I would have reacted or even how it would change me to have something material (money) handed to me. I have always had to work for what I got and working for money and things makes them more valuable. Maybe if someone handed us something 'not material'
250 more words tomorrow and the end

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 116th Installment

He’s gone,” Edith said simply. “We’ll do the milking this morning and tell you more after a while. I think you need some time to yourselves.”

I sat for a minute then got up and started pacing back and forth. I was feeling a lot of things, but all-out bawling wasn’t my style. I felt more distressed about what would change, not in the community, but in me. I suddenly felt that maybe something was wrong with me mentally. Shouldn’t I be crying or angry? I looked at Russ; he hadn’t got up to pace but was just sitting and staring. Maybe I was okay – at least we were the same. Demonstrating emotions was something Edith and Vernon had never allowed before. How do we deal with this? I should be shaken to my core, but I didn’t know what emotion to feel or how much.

After a while I said, “Let’s go out and finish the chores.” I paused, then continued, “I don’t know what I’m doing here. I don’t know what to think. Right now I think I like the old rule, ‘If you’re bored or have a bad emotion, you can go to work,’ and I would like to go to work.”

Me too,” Russ whispered looking real sad. I wondered what I looked like.

When the work was done and everyone had returned to the house, Russ asked, “What are we going to do? What’s planned? Do we have a funeral and bury him somewhere?”

No,” Edith told us, “his family has arranged to have him sent back to Texas.”

You told them!!” I screamed. “You told the S.O.B.s in Texas!” Now I deeply felt an emotion…ANGER. “How could you! Tex never wanted them to know where he was. You really screwed this up!”

You have been allowed to make choices and decisions, to control the things around you.” Edith started to explain.

But you told them and that was wrong!” Russ was more miserable than angry.

I’m afraid that you may believe you can always have things the way you want. But life has rules. When you grow up there are rules, things that are right even though you don’t believe them to be right. It was the right thing to do to tell his family. They are his family for heaven’s sake.” Edith was attempting to explain and help us understand.

It was the responsible thing to do,” Vernon said. “When you’re older you’ll understand responsibility.”

We’ve grown up fast, too fast. I guess we trust you to know what’s right.” I had spent all of my new found emotion and didn’t argue anymore.

The next day I asked Edith, “We’d like to know what happened at the hospital – you know – closure.”

Edith started, “When we got there, Tex was in intensive care, still unconscious from the surgery. We waited for a

500 more words tomorrow

Friday, May 19, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 115th Installment

levels (4.0 in every class, every year); and I had amassed enough credits to graduate in three years. I would have been sixteen when I graduated, so Edith decided I wasn’t ready to go to college so I went ahead and became a senior. I think deep down they wanted a hired man for another year on the farm. That year I took every class the school had to offer – even home economics.

Chapter 33
There was always working to be done on the farm, even when the summer was over, like winterization and repairs in preparation for winter. Russ and I were fixing fence when we were called to the house.

Tex was hurt badly in an accident,” Edith told us.

No way!” I blurted out, my eyes shifting back and forth between Edith and Vernon. “Is he going to be okay?”

It doesn’t look good. The doctors did emergency surgery on him when they finally got him to the hospital.” Vernon said quietly. Edith and Vernon knew we loved Tex. We called him our godfather – the leader of our little posse, Tex the old mentor, Russ and me.
What happened?” Russ asked anxiously.

Tex always drove his tractor to the store to play card games, drink a little and get supplies every week. Sometimes he drove on the new roadway they’re building because it’s shorter. Last night he took the construction road home. They had dug a channel for a large pipe to go under the roadway, and Tex didn’t see it in time. He crashed into the trench and hurt himself real bad. When they got him to the hospital, they found he had a rupture in his aorta. They went ahead and did the surgery, but he had bled out real bad.” Edith told us in a steeled steady voice.

Edith and I are leaving right now for the hospital,” Vernon explained. “He’s been asking for us.”

We’re going too,” I cried. “He’s asking for us not you. Tex said we were his only friends – his only family. He said he could count on us. Get it! He needs Russ and me!”

No,” Vernon declared. “We need you here.”

The girls can do the work can’t they?” Russ asked in a shaky voice.

No, we need you here to take responsibility for the farm,” Edith said firmly. “We’ll probably stay overnight in town and may need to stay another day or two. We need you boys to be here!”

We had learned childhood came hard on a farm, and now we knew childhood was over.

Okay,” I said, knowing it was settled. Vernon and Edith were gone overnight and came home in the middle of the next night. In the morning they led Russ and me to the living room and sat us down. They looked as sad and tired as I’d ever seen them.

500 more words tomorrow

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 114th Installment

was the same.

Chapter 32
The high school was ninth grade to twelfth grade, Linda, Russ and I rode the bus to West Jefferson High in Terreton.

Unfortunately, for the first time, I found something I didn’t like. The first year in a four-year high school full of hazing and bad ass seniors playing ‘put the head of a freshman in the toilet’ games was way scary for me. I was a big strong kid, but I wasn’t a fighter (I got beat up a few times but I was always out-numbered.) There was a one armed goon with a chip on his shoulder, I guess from being different. He started and finished fist fights (one fist) at least once a week with anyone who was smaller than he was. He could sneak up on someone and hook that stub arm around his neck and pound the heck out of their face with his good arm. He beat up poor Jay Ray five or six times because he didn’t like his name.

Things changed when I brought the radio transmitter that the Old Man and I had jerry-rigged together out of an old radio as my science fair project. The cool dudes in the school found out how it could broadcast, and the other students brought their transistor radios and tuned them to my frequency. They played DJ talk radio, joking and telling stories to embarrass the girls, and every one was listening. After that, the high school environment changed, and I fit in as the radio magic man.

The part of high school I really liked was the one hour bus ride each morning and another hour ride home. I was invited to the poker game in the back six seats of the bus. We would play penny-ante poker with our lunch money. Because Russ and I had played poker with Phil for match sticks and had learned the nuances of good play, we were excellent at winning everybody’s lunch money. Bill, the bus driver, knew we had a game going back there, and he was glad of it. As a token of his tolerance, we would keep the peace on the bus. When there was a ratty little kid making trouble and creating a racket, one of us big guys would go get the kid and toss him in the seat behind us. The frightened kid would be real calm the rest of the bus ride. Bill had the most peaceful route of all the drivers, and he rewarded us by constructing a device that fit in the aisle between the seats and made the poker table for us to play on. Bill was my bus driver for the entire twelve years I was in school.

Linda, Russell and I took advantage of the jump start we got from Reese in grade school and entered high school at about a late sophomore level. Linda got the most credit hours in the school’s history; Russell attained the highest grade

500 more words tomorrow

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 113th Installment

not be saved. The fire had traveled around the entire U and the whole thing blazed high into the night. This is when we saw the 'tornado of fire' from the center of the U shape. The fire spun out and shot a twenty foot wide flame funnel a hundred feet into the air. As we watched we could feel the air blow against our backs as the fire sucked in oxygen to feed the fire and exhausted the heat up the funnel. I can’t think of any way to explain the intensity of this fire. Think of the biggest fire you’ve ever seen and multiply it by a hundred. It was then we saw the real tragedy. The feedlot corrals went into the open end of the U-shaped hay stack, and we saw the burnt cattle, black lumps in the fire light. Later, we learned about fifty head of cattle had been burnt alive. We shook off the horror and worked at saving anything that could burn. We carried away things we could, and threw water on things we couldn’t move. Luck was with us because there was water in the nearby irrigation ditch to fill our buckets, wet our burlap bags and soak ourselves in the cool water. The Rigby fire engine arrived about an hour late but did save the ranch house, pumping water on the house, outbuildings, farm equipment and vehicles.

We were still working to save animals and buildings when some farm ladies came around with trays of grape juice. I snagged a glass and gulped it down. Maybe I drank it too fast, or it was the exhaustion, or the smell, or the smoke, but my churning gut came up hard. I bent over and retched over and over. (I never touched another drop of grape juice!) Everyone worked throughout the night, and by day the fire was smaller, but even with the warmth of the morning sun, the fire seemed hotter. The mound of hay glowed and writhed like the surface of the sun. The burnt cattle looked surreal without shape, but we knew what they were. I happened across a burnt cat that I guessed took a wrong turn and was overcome by the heat. The burning farm now looked like a war zone. We had to leave in the morning, so we could finish our chores.

Later, the Old Man told us that the fire had burned for a week before they could drag out the ash and cinder and completely put it out. They had eventually set up irrigation sprinklers around the smoldering mass and moved the water closer as they cooled the pile.

It was the fall of that year, and the most difficult farm harvest work was over. We had a little more time to hunt and play. Of course there were still chores to do, taking care of the animals and doing the milking.

This is all we knew – hard work and hard play – to us it

500 more words tomorrow

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 112th Installment

an absolute cacophony of noise as wreckage settled and animals panicked.

Over there,” I pointed, as the microburst like ‘dust devil’ moved away tearing up everything in its corridor and throwing it into the air.

Jeeze! That was scary! I about pissed myself,” Russ hissed, as we watched the swirling burst of energy disappear as suddenly as it arrived. “I think I’ve heard that these things are called ‘the ghost's wind.’”

How did the animals, birds and insects know the phenomenon was going to happen?” I asked Russ.

I Dunno,”

I’ve heard that animals have more abilities than the human’s five senses, like birds can see ultraviolet light,” I was guessing. “Blackbirds, which all look black to us humans, are very different from each other when seen with the bird’s ultraviolet sight.”

Cool,” Russ grunted.

Maybe they can sense the change in barometric pressure that is in all probability real low in the middle of that whirlwind just before it spun out.”

I Dunno,” he responded again.

Maybe God tried to kill us!” I quipped.

Yeah, that’s it,” We laughed, more to relieve stress than the clever joke.

Spoon charged out of his house and wanted to know what had happened like we caused it. We told him… ‘The ghost's wind.’

I remember seeing a dust devil coming down the hay field once, I told Russ. The hay was cut and raked. The tornado-like funnel stood a windrow of hay on its end a hundred feet in the air then dropped it crosswise to the other rows. It messed up the field bad enough that I had to re-rake a portion of the field so the Old Man could bale it.

Oh, oh,” Russ said, “remember the bizarre flame funnel we called a 'tornado of fire' above the Flying ‘~U~’ hay yard fire?”

Yeah, bad memories,” I agreed.

The Flying ~U~ Ranch was a huge cattle operation near our farm. The Old Man and several other farmers in the area sold their hay crop to the Flying ~U~ Ranch. The Ranch had stacked nine hundred tons of hay in a huge U-shaped stack. I guess the owner had a thing about the letter U. Well, anyway, late on a summer night, the stack caught fire. Even though it was several miles to the ranch, we could see the glow from our house. We piled into the pickup and raced away. When we arrived, only a few other neighbors had appeared and we went to work. The Flying ~U~ hands had already attached a huge plow to a tractor and were plowing a fire break around the blazing fire. We could see others opening gates to let cattle, horses and other livestock out of the corrals, and we fell into step with them helping save the animals.

It was dreadfully apparent that the nine hundred tons of dry hay could

500 more words tomorrow

Monday, May 15, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 111th Installment

the ant was screaming! I guess he didn’t like to fly. An ant can scream or at least squeak. I know it’s true because I heard it.

Ooohkaaay,” Russell stretched out the okay to amplify his doubt about my experience with the ant. He went on to remind me of the time we went hunting and noticed several flocks of sage hens flying over the hill into the field beyond. All the flocks came in from different directions and headed to the same place. We got curious and took off in the direction they were landing, and as we came over the hill, we saw about a thousand sage hens covering the one ten acre field. We’d never seen more than five or ten sage hens together in one location let alone a thousand. This was a strange sight to see and us without a shot gun.

Ooohkaaay” I said mocking him like his story was as odd as mine. Seriously, though, these things do happen. Animals are linked to Mother Nature; they know things and do things that astonish us humans. We were stacking hay at Spoon’s place one afternoon. It was a very hot midsummer day – and dead still. I mean, we could toss a feather off the ten layer hay stack, and it would float straight down. We were standing about fifteen feet in the air on the stack between the loafing sheds. The loafing shed is a roof supported by strong wood poles where the animals could get shelter during inclement weather. This mountain of hay was mid feedlot where about a hundred cattle were being fattened to be sold, slaughtered and eaten.

Other than the heat, the day was perfect: cattle were lowing, the birds were chirping, and the insects were buzzing around our heads. Russ and I were talking, laughing, sweating, and working hard.

Suddenly Russ whispered, “Do you hear that?”

I hear nothing!” I didn’t hear anything.

That’s what I meant,” he explained. “Dead silence! Not a moo, not a chirp, not a buzz.” The silence and the dead stillness were supernatural, uncanny and mystical for at least twenty seconds.

Suddenly we heard the roar of a freight train, thunderous tearing, ripping, screeching of nails, and snapping of wire. A large piece of the loafing shed roof ten or fifteen feet across erupted in the air to an unbelievable height and spun down, apparently on us.

Get out of the way,” I screamed.

Where? We’re trapped up here! We’ll have to jump for it!” Russ cried. We scrambled to the edge of the stack and luckily didn’t have to jump. The roof had broken up and the largest piece had crashed into the other side of the hay stack. We covered our heads with our arms and danced around trying to avoid the falling debris. Now the cows were bellowing and running around trying to escape the corral. There was still

500 more words tomorrow

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 110th Installment

the chores, we were talking about Mother Nature and some of the strange things we’d seen. Russ was talking about seeing two scorpions fighting and about other strange bugs that he couldn’t identify.

I hate bugs!” Russ said, intending to end the subject.

Hate, that’s a strong word,” I said.

Remember the flying ants on the hottest days of the summer when we were stacking hay,” Russ had to remind me.

Oh yeah – Well, I hate bugs too – just ants, though, the other bugs don’t bug me.”

Mosquitoes?” Russ had to say only one word.

Oh yeah, again, I HATE mosquitoes and ants,” I had to laugh.

Russ had to remind me how he solved our problem with the flying pests. Every summer when it was hot, I mean ‘like in–the–oven hot,’ the extra queen ants from each ant hill in the desert would crawl out and fly away to start a new ant hill. Yes, they had wings. This was usually not a problem to humans because they don’t bite. But they swarm and crawl around on anything above the ground that they land on.

If you can imagine, say, ten ants walking around on your face and in your ears and nose, plus ten more in your hair, then you have an idea of what it was like for us. Brushing the ants off and trying to work at the same time, would drive us crazy. We would see balls of maybe a hundred ants crawling all over each other on the top of posts as they would generally seek to land on the highest object in the area. When we were building haystacks and were getting fifteen or sixteen layers high, (around twenty feet), we became the target for these altitude seeking bugs. It was then Russ came up with the solution: a brilliant plan, I had to admit.

When we were high up working on the haystack, we’d have a long pole with us on which we would wrap the end with some tee shirts or a sweat shirt and then stand the pole up on end. Most of the flying ants would seek out this higher place to swarm on and mainly leave us alone. Then we’d move the pole up as we worked to build the stack higher – problem solved.

Not to be out done by Russ’s victory, I had an ant story of my own. When we were little farts, we got some balsa wood gliders that would fly real fine. Well, one day we figured our plane needed a pilot, so we found several little bugs and gave them flights. But they all fell and became little skydiving bugs without parachutes. Then we found one of the red and black wood ants that are quite big. The ant hung on for dear life and took several flights. I was ready, arm cocked for another flight, when I heard a teeny tiny scream
500 more words tomorrow

Friday, May 12, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 109th Installment

Unfortunately, the Helm drive was a bust. There were very few horsemen to go out far and wide, and not a lot of people to finish up. There were loads of jack rabbits as usual. Russ and I were taken with a dozen other kids to join the line about half mile out. The line was spread out thin with about a fifty feet between each of the drivers. As we moved in, the line was leaking rabbits through the gaps like poop through a goose. There were more jack rabbits getting away than we had driving in front of us.

Usually there are a lot more people at these drives,” I yelled to Russ. “Maybe it’ll get better as we move into the narrows of the funnel.”

Being spread out like this is all the better for throwing” Russ shouted.
I threw my club at a slow moving jack rabbit between us knocking him down long enough for Russ to run over and club him in an overhead smash. Out here we left them where they died. Our job was to drive them and kill them. In the winter-drives the managers of the drive have a market for them if they’re frozen, and they collect as many as they can. In the summer, they leave them all because they’ll spoil before they can be used for mink food or fur. It’s the way the farmers try to save their crops from the infestation. At the peak of the ten–year cycle, the hungry jack rabbits would flood out of the desert like locusts eating everything in their path. It was like a war…man against nature. If the farmer didn’t try to drive the jack rabbits out, nature would kill them anyway, either through starvation or the ‘jack rabbit plague’ which is a form of Black Death to all of them anyway. Oddly, during the off–years of the cycle, there were very few jack rabbits, not even enough to hunt.

We were closer in by now and with only several feet between each of us, the hunt was getting faster. From here on out we had to keep our minds in the game, less talking and more clubbing. With war whoops, dodging back and forth, and swinging and killing jack rabbits with clubs in both hands, Russ and I with six or seven other local farm boys finished the drive, pushing the hordes of jack rabbits into the pen. It was actually ‘short work’ as there were only about 2,000 jack rabbits, and we dispatched them in about a half an hour. In comparison, some of the biggest drives last winter had over 20,000 jack rabbits.

Time to eat!” I shouted as the drive came to an end.

The organizers must have expected a bigger crowd because there were tons of doughnuts, drinks and hot chocolate. We ate all we wanted and carried away all we could hold for later.

That night, after we finished
500 more words tomorrow

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 108th Installment

the chickens were in. While we worked, the Old Man had rewired another electric fencer to the highest amperage and stretched a 1/8 inch steel cable around the inside of the corral fence. When finished we had a twenty by twenty foot log fence with three sides built against the cinderblock shop. We’d also run lots of water in the corral to make the ground wet. Back at Ted’s place, we tied a third rope to the bull and the back bumper of the pickup truck. Vernon led out slowly, and Ted and Alfred controlled the other two ropes from their horses on each side. We paraded home, and it took over an hour to go a mile. It took another hour to of work and planning, but we got the bull in its new enclosure, and as it was getting late, we turned on the electricity. Even before we started milking the bull decided it wanted out and charged the fence. Hitting the electric cable there was sizzle and the smell of burnt hair. The bull’s bellow echoed through the trees. The animal turned and hit the fence on the other side and was shocked again. The bull made several more tries at the pole fence getting repelled each time by the electric wire. The bull stared at the small open window in the side of the shop. The stupid bull went for it, and with a leap at the end of his charge, the bulls head fit through, but the massive shoulders did not. Amazingly, the wall cracked from the ground to the roof line, but the wall held. Lucky for us the demented animal didn’t try again, because, I think, in a few more wallops he could’ve knocked the block building down. Well, that would’ve been okay. Maybe the roof would’ve fallen on the beast and killed the bull for us.

Well into the night we would hear the bellows as the bull tried to escape. In the morning the exhausted animal lay in the middle of the corral, and after that he would stay in the center, far from the wall, the fence, and especially the wire.

A couple weeks later the bull was loaded in a Flying “~U~” Ranch semi-truck and was gone. Good riddance, I thought. We didn’t have the equipment or the will to handle such a brute.

Chapter 31
Amber told me that they are going to have a late summer jack rabbit drive next Saturday at Helm’s place,” Edith informed us. “Want to go?”

Duh,” I said.

Saturday Russ and I grabbed the 1938 International pickup, checked the oil, and raced up to the Helm’s place for the jack rabbit drive. We’d made two great clubs, a 3 ½ – foot bludgeoning club and a short thick throwing stick. Russ and I had been to a few drives in the last couple of years. They’d drawn a lot of people and were well planned, netting tens of thousand jackrabbits.
500 more words tomorrow

Monday, May 8, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 107th Installment

Russ had closed the gate, and I had rushed up to help get the chain looped around the pole and the clamp hooked. The bull then ran around and around the perimeter fence burning up excess anger. My heart was still pounding as we finished the milking and the other chores. When we headed to the house, we could still see and hear the monster circling in the pen.
The bull was out again,” Russ told the Old Man. “We got it in the holding pen by the barn.”
Good work,” Vern said. “That’s our best corral, and it should hold him until morning. Then we can figure out something more permanent. I’ve been thinking that wild-eyed bull is more trouble than he’s worth, and I should sell it or kill it.”
Yeah, it’s either him or us you have to sell!” I added. We slept hard that night and got up groggy in the morning, ate our bacon and eggs, and trudged out to do chores. The bull was gone! One side of the holding pen was destroyed. The Old Man had come out, and he was fuming.
Son of a…”he started then looked at us. “I’m going to teach that devil who’s boss.”

I got a call from Amber,” Edith yelled from the house. “The bull is over there, and you need to go help them!” By the time we got there, Ted and his hired men had roped the bull from their horses and had hog tied the beast to a power pole. The usual neat and well-kept white panel fences of Ted’s corrals looked like a war zone.

Ted told us, “During the early morning your bull picked a fight with my bull. When we got out here your Holstein had a twenty foot metal gate on his neck bucking and twisting in circles. The gate panel was knocking down all my corrals, and what the gate didn’t damage, the bull trampled what was left. My bull has run off somewhere. Alfred and I got our horses saddled and after working us to death and the horses to exhaustion, we got the bull tied.”

Can we leave the bull tied up for a few hours while we do milking and repair a suitable enclosure for him?” Vernon asked Ted. “Then, this coming Saturday, the boys and I’ll come and help you put your place back together.”

Crap! The jack rabbit drive was on Saturday. I hardly dared ask--well, maybe I would dare. “The rabbit drive is on Saturday – we wanted to go.”

No,” The Old Man’s one word answer was final.

Ted to the rescue, “Saturday isn’t good for helping me. How about Sunday?”

After the Old Man agreed, all was right with the world. Over the next few hours, we finished the mega–corral we were building with the eight inch poles that came from the log barn
500 more words tomorrow

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 106th Installment

milk the cows, as I rounded the corner of the barn, “Yowzer!” I screamed. I had come face to face with the evil monster Holstein bull. This animal was huge and was the bane of anyone who had to deal with this biological mutation. When a farmer wanted good milk production from Holstein cows, he chose the biggest cows. In order to raise extra big dairy cows, he needed an extra big bull, and we had the biggest bull in the county. This brute was about six feet at the shoulder and weighed over two thousand pounds. I slowly backed up the way I came and stopped by Russ. “The bull is out again,” I whispered, so the bull wouldn’t hear me.
Jeeze Louise, I hate it when this happens,” Russ answered quietly. “Okay, you go around to the back of the corral and open the pole gate to the holding pen. I’ll chase the animal around the barn and though the gate and then you swing the gate shut.”

First, let’s find some big sticks for self defense,” I offered. “Better yet, let’s run get our 22 rifles. We could shoot that monster, but the bullets would bounce right off.”

Oh, you ditz, you can’t shoot the bull,” Then, realizing the metaphor, he snickered, “Get it ‘shoot the bull.’”

I wasn’t ‘shooting the bull,’ I really want to shoot the stupid bull!” I said through gritted teeth, and I wasn’t laughing.

I lit out to open the gate and gave Russ a count of twenty while he rounded the barn whooping and hollering. I ran over and joined him, thinking two bull drivers were better than one. The bull, startled, turned and trotted the other way. Then deciding he didn’t want to go back where he came from, the bull turned on us. We froze. The Holstein bull lowered its head, pawed the ground, throwing dirt high into the air, and with blood in its eye came charging at us. We stood our ground knowing if we turned and ran, with nowhere safe to go, the bull would out run us and trample us from behind. When the beast got closer, I did the count down “ready – on three – one – two – THREE!” We screamed, threw our arms in the air, jumped up trying to make ourselves seem bigger and then screamed again. Our bluff worked but only just barely. The bull skidded to a stop only a couple of feet away. I felt its hot breath and could smell it, or at least I thought I smelled it; as scared as I was, it could have been I was smelling me.

The bull rounded the barn and with the holding pen gate open and the rail fence to the bull’s left, he had nowhere to go but in the corral. The bull turned his head high looking back at us, probably realizing his mistake, and started back.
500 more words tomorrow

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 105th Installment

getting the feel of it. Then it was my turn, and I clambered into the small canoe shaped body of the snow plane. The two rear skis were about eight feet apart, and I could steer the front ski with a steering wheel. The only other instruments were the on/off switch and the throttle lever. I hooked my feet under the bar that held the steering wheel and pulled the throttle half way, and wham, the belly tingle was immediate. The power was thrilling, the sound sublime, and away I went. At half throttle the speed picked up quickly, even in the sticky wet snow and just kept increasing. Soon I was flying, well not exactly flying; the skis were on the ground. It was the same sensation as flying, I imagined, having never actually flown. As I soared around the last turn and headed back, I realized there was no braking built in; you had to throttle down or shut off the engine to stop. I shut the engine off and coasted past Russell, then slid out of the field and into the weeds. Tired, but exhilarated, we decided to cover the engine and leave it there until we had more snow.

When the snow was deeper and frozen and crusty on top, we drove the snow plane up to great speeds always allowing enough room to turn and circle until it came to a stop. The speed and power of the snow plane was incredible. It probably weighed less than an airplane and without wings had less wind drag. We knew that a prop plane had plenty of power and could fly up to two hundred miles per hour. We wondered if the snow plane could go the same speed or more on smooth crusty snow. Russ and I took in out to the Twenty–five where there were long straight runs, and we estimated our speed at about a hundred miles per hour. In other words, it was a white knuckle, heart pounding, short–of–breath speed.”

To substantiate the claim, Russ drove Alfred’s motorcycle, a 250cc, to a hundred and ten miles on the speedometer and said that the sensation of speed was the same as in the snow plane.

The time I shudder to think about was when I came into the yard too fast and wasn’t going to be able to stop in time. Without throwing my brain into gear, I leapt out of the cockpit and grabbed the nose of the snow plane like a bulldogger would grab a steer and dug in my heels. Wrestling the infernal machine, I slid to a stop with the engine still idling. Later when I thought about what I had done, it occurred to me that if I’d fallen or hadn’t been able to hang on to the nose of the snow plane, even at an idle, the prop would have chopped me up into unrecognizable pieces.

Chapter 30

One evening when Russ and I went out to
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Saturday, April 29, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 104th Installment

I started walking into the breeze again because I believed in that choice of direction. Then I saw it: a tiny spot of light in the graying horizon. The white–out was turning into night, and I realized the light was not the bright light you go into when you die, but the yard light of the Taylor Ranch. Yippee! I was thinking I could trot fairly fast to the ranch, get help and start a search for Russ and Max. In my haste I nearly jogged into the back of the pickup, and in it were Russ and Max. They bailed out and we had a jolly reunion, so emotional we hugged. I had only hugged a family member a couple of times in my entire life and had never hugged anyone else.

Chapter 29
Russ and I had interesting experiences in the winter growing up near the Arco desert. Cold was one thing I didn’t look forward to but we still had some fun times.

I never want to die in the cold,” I mused to myself. “I’d rather die in the snow plane.” The snow plane was something that really made our bellies tingle and our short hairs rise.

Anyway, the story begins with the Old Man and his old Indian Motorcycle that never ran. He wouldn’t let us work on it, something about not being able to get the parts anymore. One day while Vern was in Monteview searching for another hay bailer to part-out and keep his old bailer working, he came across a hand made snow plane. The man that owned it wanted too much money for it, so as the Old Man was leaving, the man shouted, “Do you have anything to trade for the plane?”

I need everything on my place to make a living except an old, broken-down Indian Motorcycle,” Vernon replied. He could see that struck a nerve--the guy wanted that Indian. They chatted a few minutes and the trade was made.

Russ and I loved that machine at first sight. We cleaned, greased and repaired every thing we could find that looked like it needed it. We drove three stakes in the ground and tied each ski to a stake. The engine was a five-cylinder air–cooled radial aircraft engine, the nameplate showing a Wright R–540 Whirlwind rated at 170 horsepower. The original owner had explained to the Old Man about the fuel and starting instructions, which were basically turning on the switch, shouting ‘contact,’ and giving the prop a smart pull. After a few pulls, it fired off and ran nicely, blowing everything behind it away in the wind. We grinned at each other, shut it off and prayed for snow. We even towed it to the seven acre flat by the hill and left it there to be ready at first snow.

The first snow came, and we were at the plane first thing. Russ took it in a circle around the field

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 103rd Installment

A white out! The clouds were horizon to horizon pure even white and low maybe only several feet above us. The white in the sky blended right into the white snow–covered ground. With the frost covering all the brush, even the brush was white. This was the most insane thing I have ever experienced, and I was scared. Flat identical country for miles and all landmarks erased – nothing visible that would give me a sense of direction to return to the road. Which way? I walked in what I thought was a deliberate circle – was I sure of this? I stood and listened hard trying to turn up the volume of my ears. I was met with silence, profound silence, my eyes straining to see further, see anything but the white nothingness. I stood that way for a very long time waiting for something to see or hear.

Russell! Russ! Max! Yoo–hoo?” I yelled to test my hearing. No answer, nothing. Now I was petrified. In the cold freezing winter, in a land so big and similar that you can get lost on a summer’s day, I’m on foot and can’t see or hear anything. The standing, waiting, just made me sicker to my stomach. I picked a direction into an ever so slight breeze thinking I would be heading west because the wind usually blew in from the west. I walked as straight as I could imagine for about an hour, stopping to yell, and then listen. I was sure Russ and Max were just as lost as I was, but I believed I was colder and definitely hungrier. I fired my gun straight up thinking the muzzle blast would travel further than my voice. Was it my imagination? The usual crack of a rifle was harsh and would echo and then slip away, but now, ‘pop’ then nothing, no echo, no rumble across the land. Was the pure white cold sucking up all the sound, and with it, my hope to get out?

For another hour I kept moving, yelling and listening. I might as well have shut my eyes for all the good they were doing in this pure white world. I was cold and something in my brain was calling for me to lie down – What! I shucked the feeling off, yelled some more and fired my rifle in the thick air again. Nothing. After another hour the pure white horizon started turning slightly gray. Crap, now the colder night is beginning. I had only brought three shells because I never carried more than that when I was deer hunting (one for the shot, one to put a dying animal out of its misery ‘if needed,’ and one for luck). I kept thinking, of all the horrible ways to die, cold was somewhere between water and a grizzly bear!

Thump” Huh? Was that a gun shot? I wasn’t paying attention. Which way did it come from? I couldn’t tell. Crap.
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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 102nd Installment

we told and retold the story, and ever since then, the little house has been known as the ‘haunted shack.’

Chapter 28
Last year on a cold wintry day we drove up to Taylor’s place, a 22,000 acre operation between Hamer and St. Anthony, an area almost entirely flat with short grass and brush. Deer wintered here which made it perfect for a close-to-home short hunt. We saw Taylor driving around his home place and stopped to talk. “Which way do we go if we want to hunt toward the sand dunes?” Max, a guy we knew, asked Taylor. Max, an old man to us at 17, had asked us to take him up to Taylor’s for the first time.

Well, as I remember, take this dirt road in and take the first left then the next two right splits in the road and you’ll be close.” Taylor said.

Remember?” I chided. “You grew up here and should know every inch of this ranch.”

Every inch? Don’t you mean every square mile?” There are thirty-five square miles to this place!” he seemed a teeny bit miffed. “See that 55 gallon drum in the back of this pickup?” We nodded. “I keep that full of gas so if by chance I get lost on my own place, I can drive, refuel and drive until I find my way out!” With that he revved his motor, waved and drove off.

We drove in, but not as far as we would have liked. The sky was looking more ominous and seemed to be a mile lower. Tiny white crystals formed in our hair. The cold was coming and the humidity was high. Two inches of snow covered the ground, and the grass and brush were white with frost. We let out Max; he was planning to walk to his right, knowing that we were told to turn to the right up ahead. When we came to the Y in the road, I got out and was going to walk out a quarter mile and wait for Max to show up. Russ was going to drive on about a half mile and wait there. At least that was the plan we made.

I hadn’t noticed, and the others probably didn’t either, but the cloud bank had thickened and lowered to the ground. I walked a while and about a half hour later I felt like I was in a bottle of milk. I could see my feet, a little bit of color against the pure white ground. As I raised my eyes, it was like I was white-blind causing me to quickly look at my hand and down my body again to check if something had happened to my vision. My nerves started to jangle with a little fear. I looked around peering level, turning in a circle, looking up and down and then putting my hand in front of my face to test my vision.
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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 101st Installment

to build than see it now with only our imaginations to fill in what had happened to the visitor. We sat on the floor in a corner of the room to discuss what we thought had happened and to decide if we were going to reset the traps again. After some conversation about ways to scare people and reminiscing about things that scared us in the past, we started getting a little jumpy. For some reason our attention was drawn to the other side of the room. Maybe it was a noise, although we didn’t hear anything or maybe a movement but there didn’t seem to be anything moving, or maybe just our nerves. All three of us were looking that way when a large gallon can started rolling towards us. 

We freaked out! Someone squealed like a girl as we instantly jumped to our feet. The can just kept picking up speed like it was attacking. My heart was pounding, Russell’s eyes were wide, and Wade wasn’t laughing. In fact, he looked like he was having an asthma attack. I leaped over the can before it could assault me and bolted out the front door with Russell pounding out right behind me.

Where’s Wade!” Russell screamed. We slammed to a stop looking back and saw nothing.

It killed him,” I wailed. Then from the back of the shack came Wade, his face as white as the ghost we thought we’d just seen, except for blood running down his cheek from a cut on his forehead. He didn’t stop for us, just kept running. We immediately dashed after Wade and ran for almost all of the two miles to our house. When the adrenalin overload finally diminished, we slowed to a walk. We didn’t talk for a while.

You’re bleeding. Are you hurt? What did that thing do to you?” I asked Wade.

I just dove through the boarded up window in the back and the boards broke,” he said as he put his hand to his face, pulled it back and looked at his bloody palm and fingers. “Ow, it hurts now that I see this blood. Is it bad?” We stopped and Russ and I looked closely.

Pretty bad, the cut will probably leave a scar.” Russ diagnosed.

That’s great, a scar! I thought. Boys love scars! The scar gives a story credibility. I liked scars. However, Wade didn’t like it. He must’ve been worrying about his looks or his mother wrath, we didn’t know which. We speculated on what could have caused the can to roll, and Russ and Wade decided that maybe it had been a ground squirrel or a rat running inside the can like a hamster in an exercise wheel.

Balderdash, it wasn’t natural. It was supernatural!” I retorted. “It must’ve been the ghost of the owner that built the shack.” I was sure of it. We never went back to the shack again, but
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