Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Fishin' and Fun

  We used to make fish hooks out of chicken wire, find some string, cut a willow pole, dig worms behind the chicken house and walk barefooted on the hot gravel and dirt roads a mile and a half over to the old county ditch and go fishing. The county ditch went dry every year and no one thought there were any fish in it but that didn’t stop us kids from fishing , we thought that where there was water there was fish, and we did catch some pretty good bull heads there. The word leaked out that there were fish in that ditch and some guys, probably from Rhodes, came out one night and seined  it out with a net and it was a lot longer between bites after that for the rest of that summer. That ditch has since been damned up east of the bridge and is now known as Henderson Marsh. Seining was illegal back then as it is now but that didn’t seem to matter. We took along halve gallon mason fruit jars to carry our bullheads home in water to keep them alive. The fish had to be cleaned and fried immediately because with no refrigeration we had no way of keeping them . We cleaned them dipped them in flour and fried them in lard and boy did they ever taste good. I doubt if they were that good we were just hungry. We never had any money to buy store bought toys. We had to make what we played with out of stuff laying around and in the junk pile. Back then everybody had a junk pile. I have still got a junk pile or two and it would hard for me to function without one. When Lester was still around we had an old buggy running gears with a couple of two by fours for a frame that we pushed around a lot .We would push it up the hills get it going good and jump on it and coast down them. Lester was the strongest so he laid on the buggy reach ( two hardwood and metal pieces that hooked the rear axle and the front axle together) and steered it. Glen was the mechanic of the bunch and he rigged us up a chain and sprocket and mounted an old stationary gas engine on it, but it wasn’t successful and a good thing too because there was no way of controlling the speed nor putting it in and out of gear you had to run along beside it and crank the engine. Lucky for us that it didn’t work because if it had started and the chain stayed on, it had all of the makings of a disaster, like a bunch of really busted up kids. Glen also made a tractor out of a Model T Ford chassis, two old grain binder wheels and an old 1926 Chevrolet transmission. He set the old chevy transmission behind the model T transmission and when you put both transmissions in reverse it went forward at a very slow pace. It was really an ingenious piece of work for the tools etc. that he had to work with. I think that it pulled the walking plow about twenty feet. Not practical but never the less it was a great accomplishment. One of the old binder wheels we had the other one he and Lester went about a mile back through the swamp, that joined our pasture, to an old abandoned farm stead took the wheel off an old junk grain binder and carried rolled and drug it back home. The old grain binders were ground driven and the wheel that powered them had lugs on it and was called the bull wheel a binder only had one bull wheel so that is why the boys had to come up with another one. That fete in its self was very strenuous task. Beings the tractor was not practical for more reasons than one, one we didn’t have fifteen cents to buy a gallon of gas, and he could not come up with a good functional universal joint to connect the chevy transmission to the ford differential, The model T was then converted from a tractor back to a model T chassis. I think that Glen (Pete) was probably hiring out some by then so he no had a little money to buy his own gas for the family car, a 1929 Model A Ford, which he would siphon out to use in the Model T. For us younger boys to siphon gas out of the car was a no no. Chances are there never was over two gallon in it anyway. At that time top wages for working was a dollar a day. At one time a guy in town borrowed the old Model T chassis from us took it in and put hoops over it, instead of roll bars and used it to play auto polo with at a fourth of July celebration. Instead of using horses they used old car chassis and they played it on the street. I don’t think that the game ever caught on because I don’t ever remember hearing about it again. About the last I remember of the old Model T was when I came charging down the hill from our house to the barn, sitting on the gas tank which was very slick and just before you got to the barn you had to make a sharp turn or run broadside into the barn. I made the turn but in the process I fell off and the rear wheel ran over me. It missed the barn and went putting along until it ran into the side of a wagon . There it came to a sudden halt with a bashed up radiator. It didn’t hurt me much just skinned me up a little. It bruised up my ego more than anything else. Glen happened to be watching and he thought it was hilarious.

To continue reading click here.  Part #3 - Chores and Livestock

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