Monday, February 27, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 54th Installment

our sticks together to keep pushing the jackrabbits along. When we get closer to the snow fence the funnel gets smaller and the line of people get closer together. The horsemen drop out for fear that while we are clubbing jackrabbits, we might hit their valuable horses. The closer we get, the thicker the jackrabbits become, and when they realize they’re trapped, it gets real intense. The jackrabbits are forced into the pen along with ten or so young men who kill them all. A run of the mill drive count is ten or fifteen thousand jackrabbits and a good drive can have as many as twenty five thousand. When we come out of the pen with our hands and faces covered in blood, guts and hair we race over to get our hot chocolate and doughnuts…..”

Enough Casey,” Russ chides me. “He gets the picture.” Bootsey Monte Everett Rudd looked horrified.

There will be drives in Mud Lake and Hamer areas soon. If you’d like to go, you can ride with us.” Russ continued.

No answer.

From there we wandered over under the spreading cottonwood tree to where we were working on the Whiz Gizzy. I picked up a tie rod that came from a semi truck. We were going to use the rods for traction masters. The end of the three quarter inch rod had the treaded coupler tightened on it leaving the other end of the coupler open. I looked at the open end, three quarters of an inch inside diameter and about six inches deep.
Let’s make a cannon,” I announced.

How do we do that?” Russ was always willing, always curious, but a bit less daring.

Come on,” I raced into the old house, pulled out the junk drawer and inside, among nuts and bolts, was a few ball bearings we called steelies. I picked one that I thought was about three quarters of an inch and five or six smaller steelies. The big one didn’t quite fit in the tie rod’s open end. “Perfect!” I shouted. We then tip–toed into the hunting closet and filched five twelve gauge shotgun shells and raced at a run to the old cottonwood. The Old Man is very particular about his ammunition, and I hoped he didn’t keep count. We cut the shells ends off, dumped out the shot, and collected the black powder. We poured the powder from the five shells in the tie rod end, put in one of the shotgun shell primers, stuck in the smaller steelies and pounded the big steelie into the tie rod opening with a sledge hammer. We breathed easier – not dead yet, even though the shock of the hammer could have set off the primer.
Okay now what?” Russ was overthinking it, “We don’t have a way to fire the primer without a firing pin. Should we drill a hole for a fuse?”

Too much time and trouble, let’s just

500 more words tomorrow

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