Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 10th Installment

the wimpy fencers that were sold at The Cal Ranch store. I remember the times when some kid or relative was around, we would dare each other to touch the wire, or when Linda’s friends or our cousins were at the farm we would play ‘wuss out,’ a game where we would hold hands in a line with the end kid grabbing a weed, and the kid at the other end grabbing the wire. The electric shocks would occur every two seconds, and we would all ‘hang’ in there. The kid who would break free of the line to cry or run away was the ‘wuss out.’
I was already asking as we scrambled back to our feet, “Should we find time to make our clubbing sticks and our throwing clubs? I was thinking about the hordes of jackrabbits this year and the jackrabbit drives.”
“Yeah, let’s do it soon,” Russ agreed, “the sticks need time to dry after we bark ‘em, carve ‘em, and bend ‘em to make them perfect for throwing and bludgeoning.
“We can find the perfect tree in the jungle behind – oh! There’s Vern,” I warned Russ. “We better get this over with.”
The Old Man was whaling away on a tire iron with a ten pound sledge hammer, trying to knock a tractor tire off the rim. I was thinking as we approached how he swings hard, his full strength, again and again, muttering about the damn drop center rims, sweat flying, yet never missing the end of the iron he was holding. If he missed he would surely bust his hand, but he never missed. Jeez, he was good with a hammer.
Grab that digger bar,” he said, seeing us standing there; and true to his way, never letting us hang around for a moment without immediately putting us to work. “Stick the flat end between the bead and the rim.”
“Here?” I asked.
“No,” he instructed, dropping his hammer and taking the end of the bar and guiding the point where he wanted the bar to fit. “Now push, hard. Both of you push. Ok, now stand on the end.” I stepped up, brought both feet on the bar and grabbed Russ's shoulder to keep from falling. “Give me more weight, get up there Russ!” Vern said, grabbing his hammer and preparing to swing. I was the stouter, stronger and probably the heavier; okay I am heavier wearing my husky jeans. Russ is built like 'Ichabod Crane,' the rail thin schoolteacher in Sleepy Hollow. He put a foot on the bar, stepped up, panicked and stepped down, keeping one long leg on the ground so we both wouldn’t fall.
“More weight, harder!” Vernon seemed like he was getting mad because we weren’t heavy enough. I wondered how I could be heavier since I was all on and Russ weight combined with mine except for a toe on the ground for balance.
Bounce, jump up and down, and I’ll hammer the tire iron on

500 more words tomorrow

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