Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 67th Installment

a swing away from each other. We would try to connect a solid blow to the head saving a second swing. Sometimes we would hit the animal in the back, and it would howl an eerie scream until we would silence it again with a second stroke. As time passed and most of the jackrabbits were finished, we would slow down, totally exhausted, trying to catch our breath which was made more difficult with all the hair still floating around. At this point, we would start to dig around, finding live jackrabbits hiding among the dead. Someone would yell ‘bunny baseball’ as they pulled a kicking jackrabbit from the pile and pitch it toward another guy. He would square up and bat it like in baseball. When all were finished and the hair was settled, the men would swing open the gate. We would climb over the piles of jackrabbit bodies and head for the hot chocolate and doughnuts. The ladies that acted as hosts would be cleaning up to go home, but they would always set aside a good number of doughnuts and a gallon of hot chocolate and coffee for the pen men. We would throw down out furry clubs covered in blood and hair, rub our bloody hands in a bucket of water left for us, and attack the doughnuts and hot chocolate.

This is about a six–doughnut drive don’t you think?” I asked Russ.

Yeah, I’m famished,” he replied grabbing his share. This was our pay for our work: food and drink, but also the satisfaction that we had done our part in saving the farms and our way of life against this now dead pestilence. We were totally spent but happy when Edith called, “get up you lay–abouts and help us load up.” We threw all the stuff in various pickups, found our clubs for the next drive, and crawled into the pickup.
Where’s Ronnie?” I asked Edith.

I don’t know,” she replied looking around. “I guess he got a ride with someone else; we’re about the last ones here. We have to go; it’s time for chores.”

There are only two things that are certain in this life: death and time for chores,” I complained.
The drives are usually on Saturday and the ‘count and clean–up’ on Sunday. Russ and I had volunteered to help, and when we asked Edith she told us Vernon had to go and would take us. The Sunday clean–up entailed taking down the pen and fences and loading the panels on a truck for the next farmer who organizes a drive near his place. Because this was a summer drive, all the bodies were buried. The counting plus the take–down took several hours because the summer drives were so much bigger than the winter drives. The winter ones never got a huge number of jackrabbits because not so many people would come out to help, but the farmer did get

500 more words tomorrow

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