Memories of Seth and Ferrel Wood and Others Down on the Farm on Moody Creek
Contributor: MollyM Created: 1 year ago Updated: 1 year ago
This is the written transcription of a conversation with Seth and Ferrel Wood that was captured on cassette tape about 1980. You'll have to decide who is talking during each paragraph, except where written.
Tape #1, Side 1
The main thing I remember about living in the old homestead house with the sod roof down on Moody Creek, was one time when Pearl took me fishing with her. Just out in front of the house she had a fishing hole. When we got out there, she told me to stay back so I wouldn’t scare the fish, and she slipped up to the edge of the bank and put the hook in and every time she would drop a hook in the water a fish would get on it. She would throw the fish over her head and out into the sagebrush to me, and I would help take it off and then she would sneak up and get another one. We caught about 15 fish there one right after another. I think I was about four years old at the time, and I’ve always remembered this, my first fish trip.
This is about the time dad was teaching Bill how to handle a gun. Bill was quite young, and dad was showing him now to cock and shoot this 22 pistol. Then dad said, “Now you cock it and then you shoot at that can.” So he said as Bill was pulling back the hammer on the gun, he kept turning it over toward dad and more toward dad and just got it pointed clear around at dad, and the gun went off. It shot right between dad’s arm and his body and tore his clothing on both sides, but didn’t even scratch him. He was tickled about that.
One time Jenny told me this experience when she was teaching at the Hawthorn School up on the dry farm. It was late in the fall, and our house was about a half a mile from the schoolhouse. She had to walk along the edge of the canyon over to the schoolhouse. She told me that one morning she was walking over there and looked across the canyon to the east, and on the other side of the canyon was a pack of coyotes running one right behind the other. She counted 18 of them, and she said it about frightened her to death because she was half way between the schoolhouse and our home, so se hurried on over to the schoolhouse and the coyotes didn’t come across the canyon where she was; but after that she said she started holding school over at our house in the front room so she wouldn’t be worried about those coyotes.
When I was about 10 or 12 years old (I remember the age because I was just learning to swim down in the canal west of our house), dad took down with blood poisoning and they had him in Dr. Harlo Rigby’s Hospital on College Avenue. They didn’t expect him to live. He kept getting worse, and the doctor said, “We’ve got to try, as a last resort, a shot that Dr. Hatch has in Idaho Falls. So they called Dr. Hatch and asked him to rush up there as fast as he could with this new serum. Dr. Hatch drove from Idaho Falls to Rexburg in 35 minutes. That was a pretty fast ride in those days with the old cars on graveled roads.
They gave dad the shot, and possibly this caused the dream he had at this time. He told me about it years later. He said that when he was so sick, he dreamed there was a horse race between a black horse and a white horse and he said if the black horse won, he was going to die; but if the white horse won, he would live. He said right at the end of the race, the white horse pulled ahead and won the race and so he knew at the time that he was going to live.
I remember the first time I ever tried to drive a car. Dad had taken me to Pocatello with him and on the way back we got down between Idaho Falls and Rigby and I asked him if I could drive the car and he said, “Well, he guessed so,” so I started to drive. I got along pretty good. When we got in Rigby right on main street, dad said, “We better put some gasoline in it. Pull in this service station right here.” So I turned in and was going between the gas pumps and the service station building, and he said, “Don’t try to go in there. Turn on the outside. You can’t get through there!” I got excited and turned the wheel and only made it half way and hit right square into the gas pumps with the front end of the car. He was sure excited, but we didn’t do too much damage. Sure stopped the car though, but he didn’t get very mad at me. That car was a Hupmobile and the first one I ever drove.
Well, here I am with my tape recorder, January 27, 1982, headed out of San Diego on a beautiful, sunny morning on Highway 8 headed for Kingman, Arizona to visit Fudd—Ferrel, that is. He has a place over there and has invited me over, and we are going to do a little golfing and sightseeing. I enjoy Ferrel very much. We always have a good time, and I’m motoring along on a beautiful highway in a Diesel rabbit Volkswagen. The reason I have this small car is because Jimmy Carter (former President of the U. S.) asked us to conserve fuel so that’s what I am doing. If I get in a wreck and get hurt, it’s all Jimmy Carter’s fault.
I was born in Rexburg in 1914 to George and Sadie Wood. We had a home in town and the dry farm out east on the Rexburg Bench. I use to go to school out to the dry farm, and we always had a lot of fun there riding our horses and racing them over to school. It was a one-room schoolhouse with eight grades in it and so we had quite a bit of time for studying. Then late in the fall I would go down to Rexburg and go to school there and go through the winter—then back to the dry farm and into school in the spring until we completed that grade.
I got to town the first year and went to school at the Washington Building in Rexburg with Rulon Lake, and we got signed up for the first grade and went there that year and got along all right. Verna Stephens was my teacher and the next spring when we got our report cards, she said I had been passed to the first grade. So the next year when I started school in Rexburg, I went to the first grade again; and the class was so full of students they couldn’t get all of us in the room. Verna Stephens hadn’t passed one of the students. She had put them all back in the first grade. It was quite a commotion! They were trying to figure out how to separate the students and get them in their right grades and when they came to me, I was quite small so I guess they didn’t figure I was big enough to have been there the year before so they left me there. They didn’t ask me, and I didn’t say anything to them because it didn’t make any difference to which grade I was in. I figured that was their problem. So anyway I stayed in the first grade another year and after that we got along pretty good.
Forty years later when I was in Palm Springs, Verna Stephens—I can’t recall her married name—called and wanted us to play a foursome of golf. We played one game and had a good time. Then we made an appointment for another game. Verna was on the tee when I said to her, “Verna, it has been a long time since you taught me school in the first grade in Rexburg.” She looked at me and dropped her golf club and said, “I was hoping you had forgotten that.” Anyway, we had a good time forty years later.
I completed the 8th grade, and at graduation I was asked to give the benediction. I asked Gladys if she would write me a prayer, which she did. Gladys was a real fine girl, always accommodating. She would do anything for anyone. She used to cut my hair, too. She wrote me a nice prayer, and I was honored by being able to give it.
After that I started high school at Madison High School and was the Athletic Director for class, and my sophomore year was Athletic Director again, and my junior year I was class president and senior year I was class vice president. I had many good times in high school including athletics, etc. that I will tell about later. I graduated in May 1933. There were about 102 graduates in the class and this was the largest graduating class Madison High School had ever had.
After this I started Ricks College at Rexburg and attended there two years—played basketball, football, and some education.
Well, let’s go back to the early days on the dry farm. I used to get out of Rexburg and the schools down there and go to the dry farm. Usually I had to drive something to the farm like the pigs or the cows. I had my horse and I remember one time Kenneth and I were driving the cows up to the farm and I had to walk. In fact, I was supposed to come back before long, but I walked and wouldn’t go back. Ken was walking too. It was a cold, windy day, and I remember my eye started getting sore but I kept going on, and when I got to the farm my eye had swollen closed. Jenny was there and she put a linseed poultice on it, and I was kind of sick for two or three days but got over that. I hated to go back to town. I loved the dry farm because I had my horse and my dog. I would ride with the other kids and their horses, herded the cows in the canyon, up the dry canyon, and get them in every night and morning.
When I first started to take care of the cows, I was only about six years old. I told dad I would like to go out and help milk the cows. He said, “All right, come on.” So we went out, and we had six or eight cows to milk. He gave me the little roan cow because he said she was the easiest to milk. He showed me how and got me started, and I worked and worked and finally got about half done by the time they had finished the other cows so he came and helped me finish. That evening he said, “Well, come on. Let’s go milk the cows. I said, “No, I’ve had enough of that. I don’t want to do that.” He said, “Oh, yes, you’re going to milk the cows from now on. You know how now and that’s your job.” So I was stuck with helping to milk the cows. I was hardly big enough to carry the bucket, but dad said, “If you’re old enough to go to school, you’re old enough to milk cows.”
I really liked dad. He was a real good man—rather strict with us, which he had to be. He had a big operation there and a large family wand was trying to make it go, and farm life was awfully tough. The wind blew a lot, but he stayed with it and took good care of his family and supplied all the food and clothing and everything that we needed and plenty of work to boot. We had to help, which was good for us.
Mother worked awfully hard, cooking and raising the children and taking good care of everything. I wish she could have had electricity and a nice home and other conveniences while she lived on the farm like we have today. She was a lovely lady, and I loved her very much, and I always thought dad was about the best man in Madison County. He was real good to me.
When I was about 12 years old, dad gave me a little black one and a half-year-old colt. It was a beautiful thing, and I took real good care of it. When it was two years old he said it was time to break it so he put a strap around it and got Johnny to ride it first. Johnny got on and dad held the horse, and the horse got kind of frisky and bucked a little but not too bad so dad said, “Well, you can try it now.” So I got on and I rode the horse around with dad leading it, and it turned out to be a real fine saddle horse for me. But it had one bad habit. That was that every time I would go to cross the creek with it, it would lay down in the creek and roll and I would get wet. Then I would have to get him up out of the creek and get back on, but I sure did like that horse and had a lot of fun on it.
I had the job of herding the cows on my little horse. Dad was farming with horses. He had about 65 head, and I would have to ride herd on the horses when they weren’t working over the weekends and oftentimes at night as I got a little older, I would herd the horses out in the stubble fields where they had finished harvesting. I had to keep them out of the wheat that they hadn’t cut and also keep them from getting in the sacks of wheat which had been dumped in the stubble. When they had finished grazing and had their fill of eating, I would take them in and lock them in the corral and have them ready for morning. Sometimes we’d have to stay out all night with them.
From the time I was old enough to ride a horse until I was a good-sized kid, I like to ride my horse with the other kids. I remember we would play police and robbers. We would go up and down the canyon—some of us the robbers and some the policemen and had lots of fun. One time we rode the horses down to Charles Beesley’s house just west of Parkinson’s siding and one of the Darly boys went with us, Eldon, I think was his name, and so were racing down through the stubble field toward a canyon, and the lead horse stepped on a rattlesnake or a rattlesnake grabbed its foot when it put it down. We were running hard with the horses, but the rattlesnake got tangled with one horse’s foot and some way the horse threw the snake high in the air; and the rest of us kids rode right under it. It didn’t land on any of us, but we turned around and went back and found the rattlesnake and killed it and then went on down the canyon which is where I now own 160 acres which has on it the first well that was drilled on the Rexburg Bench.
But, anyway, in that canyon we looked for rattlesnakes and traveled on about two more miles and got three more rattlesnakes in that distance. There were lots of rattlesnakes in that canyon and up by the house, and would kill them as we would find them.
I remember dad and I going out west one time – I was on my little horse. He was in lead and I was following. We were in the canyon west of the house, and I looked down and there was a big, old rattlesnake laying on a rock in the sun. It didn’t even make a sound. I called to dad and told him, and he went back and got a club and killed the rattlesnake.
Another time we were in dad’s car riding along the same canyon about a half mile north and I went down over the canyon rim a little ways to see if I could see any of our horses, and I got down in there and a big, old rattlesnake rattled right between dad and me. Dad said, “Stand still. Don’t move!” I didn’t move! He went back to his car and got his shotgun. Finally the old rattlesnake rattled again, and he located it and blew its head off with the shotgun.
Anther rattlesnake encounter I had about that time when I was quite young was when Bill and Ken and the men were out plowing west of the old house where Ken and Opal first lived when they first went to the dry farm. A hired man and his family were living in that house then. I was riding on the plow with Bill and Ken and as we came up to the house, they were upstairs waving out the back window and calling to us. We went over and they told us there was a rattlesnake downstairs in the pantry, which was built on the edge of the back door of the house and had a wooden floor in it. They used to keep bowls just outside of their door, on the floor, with food for the dog in them. So the dog was eating his food and evidently the rattlesnake had found it also. It was a huge snake and as the dog reached down to eat his food the snake bit the dog on the face or some place on the head. The dog was pretty smart. He took off and went down to the creek and stuck his head in the mud and stayed in the creek. I remember his head was swollen about twice its normal size, but he got over it OK.
By this time the snake had gone under the floorboards in the pantry so Bill told me to go over to our house and get the shotgun and bring it back. I went after the gun, and they started tearing up the boards. They got most of them up before I got back with the shotgun. I had had to go about a quarter of a mile. When they pulled up the last board, the big old rattlesnake was right in the corner. He was rattling furiously. He was big and mean looking. Bill took the shotgun, got a good aim, and blew his head off right there in the pantry.
In later years, when Bill and I were farming together, I had a D4 Caterpiller down by the railroad tracks, and I asked Bill to tune up the tractor for me. He was an excellent mechanic. So we were down there working on the engine, and I was back behind working on the rod weeders. We had been there about 15 minutes when Bill jumped and said, “My goodness, here’s a big rattlesnake.” He jumped back and the rattlesnake had been coiled up under the track right beside his foot, but he didn’t get bitten. The snake tried to get away. It started crawling beneath the tractor to the other track on the tractor. We started looking for him because we didn’t want him to get away. We looked in the weeds, but the old snake didn’t make a sound. Finally we figured he was in the tractor so Bill took a wrench and tapped on the side of the roller carrier frame on the tin and then the old rattler made a little bit of a rattle so we knew he had crawled in the roller carrier frame for sure. So we started the tractor and run it back and forth for awhile, but nothing happened—the old rattler was just taking a ride on the tractor. We decided we would have to do something else so we started taking off the plate on the side, and as we got them off the snake began rattling a little and when we got the last one off, we could see him back in there but we couldn’t get him.
Bill had a long wrench there, kind of a bar, and he would reach back in, and the old rattlesnake would bite it and then pull his head back in. Then I got a dancer off from the railroad fence. This was a two-inch piece of wood about five feet long. I nailed a nail on the side of the end and put a piece of bailing wire around the nail, looped it over the end of the 2 x 2 and put a staple on the other side and threaded the wire through the staple. Then I could hold on to the 2 x 2 with one hand and the wire with the other. Now we were ready to try something. I got the stick down in there where the snake was, then Bill stuck his bar through the loop and got the old snake to stick his head out and bite the bar. We finally got his head through the loop, and I jerked the wire and tightened it up on his head and got him out of there and killed him. He was a huge thing too, but he had us going pretty good there for awhile.
One day I was standing by the old stand pipe where I used to have to load the water tank with water by our house and then haul it out west to our camp about 2 ½ miles around the road for water for the horses in the west field, and as I was standing there here came one of our neighbors, Theo Pearson, up the hill on his work horse as hard as he could come. He saw me and rushed up to me and said, “Where’s your dad? A rattlesnake’s bit me.” “Where?” I asked. “Right on the thumb.” He had a string wrapped around his thumb. The rattlesnake had bit on the back of the thumb, and one fang had hit in the nail and other in the flesh. He was really excited, and I told him dad was up in the yard so we rushed up and showed dad what had happened and he said, “Well, I’ll rush you to town.” So he got in his old Hupmobile automobile and took Theo to town where Dr. Harlo Rigby doctored him.
A few days later when Theo came back to the farm, he explained to me how it had happened. He said he had been going back up into the field with his harnessed work horses, leading them on behind the other out of Moody Creek up to where his plow was. He said he was going up the hill and he heard this rattlesnake rattle so he stopped his horses and got off to kill the rattlesnake, and he saw what he though was a good club in a sagebrush so he reached down to get the club to kill the rattlesnake, but it was the rattlesnake in the bush and that is when it bit him. He said he felt pretty sick—laid around for a week or two then he got to feeling better and went back to work.
(End of Tape , Side 1)
Tape #1, Side 2
Getting back to the horse riding a little, my little black pony was one of the fastest racers we had. Ray Wood, who was called Pizen, had a little roan pony, and they always ran a pretty close race (about the same size, etc.) and we used to race them all the time. I remember, too, that we had us an old swimming hole down in the Moody Canyon just north of our pump house, and we would race our horses down it through the brush to see who could get in the swimming hole first. We’d start throwing our clothes off as we were going down the hill as fast as the horses could run. When we’d get there we’d be ready to go swimming. We trimmed a lot of the branches off on an alder tree to make us a diving board. We would climb up to the top of the tree and jump about 10 feet down into the water.
One day I was riding my little black horse passed our old homestead house with the sod roof, galloping along and the horse hit something with his foot, and be became lame immediately. He couldn’t step on his right front feet. I searched and looked carefully but couldn’t find a thing wrong with it. I decided he must have stepped on a nail and run it way up into his hoof some way because he was lame for a long time after that. Finally the hoof got badly infected and began to fall off. I had the doctor look at it, and I kept a linseed poultice on it for a long time. I would put the poultice in a sack, put it on his foot, and tie it on his foot; but finally the hoof fell off and a new one grew on. He finally got well again, but it took a long time and during that time, I was riding a gray horse of dad’s and I remember when we were having a race down the canyon on the east side of the creek, going up the creek, and came into a little flat going about as fast as the horse could go. The old horse stepped in a badger hole, and down he went. Boy, I took a rollover his head and rolled about 20 yards I think, and the old horse finally got up but he had a broken leg so we had to dispose of that horse. Dad never did get put out at me. He said I just couldn’t help it, so it was OK.
When I got old enough dad would let me go to the timber and help drive the horses up to the summer range. We would drive them up passed the three pine trees and into Graham Hollow. When we first got into those timbers, I thought it was one of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen! I had never seen much of the timber country by then; and the trail of the pine trees and the trail we would ride down to Moody Creek down Graham Hollow was really something! We used to turn around and ride back and forth through there several times before we would go home, just to enjoy the beauty!
At harvest time we would have to go up to the timber and help round up the horses that had been turned loose on the range all summer so we could use them on the harvester. I remember Ken was the chief cowboy. He was a good cowboy and took good care of the horses. He would wrangle the horses way up in the mountains, and he had a corral built down at Graham Hollow. He would tie them up in this corral, and we would lead or drive them home from there down to the farm house; then dad would get ready for harvest.
One time I remember when I was about 10 years old, dad had 33 head of horses on the 19-foot header California Special Combine—I think it was a Holt—and he had been harvesting for quite a long time. We had to cut 900 acres with one machine. Everyone was rather tired, but we stopped for Sunday, and dad decided to do some repair work on the harvester. He asked all of us kids to stay home and get rested up so we could get the work done the rest of the week.
Gladys was the cook up there at the time, and she wanted to go. She said, “I’m going someplace; I’m not staying here on Sunday.” Dad said, “No, you stay. Don’t you go. Seth you come with me and let’s go up and work on the combine.” So we got up to the combine and started working on it and he said, “Now you go down to the house and keep an eye on Gladys because I don’t want her to leave today. If she goes to go, you come and let me know.”
I went down to the house and walked in and there were Ken, Bill, and I think Johnny, and Gladys. Man was she mad because she didn’t want to stay there. Of course, I didn’t blame her, but I’d been sent down by dad to see what was going on, and I didn’t dare do anything else; so I just sit quiet as a little mouse and listened to the conversation and finally Bill came up with a big idea. He said, “I’ve got my Model A Ford here. Ken, you go out and saddle Gladys’ horse and lead it over to the schoolhouse along the edge of the cliff where dad can’t see you. Then you go behind the schoolhouse with her horse and when you get over there, I’ll bring Gladys over in my car, and she can take off.” I thought ‘boy, this is going to be something, but I’m not going to tell dad just yet. I want to give her a fair start because this is going to be some race!’
I waited and Ken got the horse ready and took it over and went behind the schoolhouse and then Bill said, “OK, it’s time to go.” So he and Gladys slipped out and got in his Model A Ford and took off for the schoolhouse. When they just go over to the schoolhouse, I decided it was time I was reporting to dad or else I was going to be in trouble. So I went up to where dad was working on the combine, and I said, “Dad, Gladys is leaving”
He said, “Where, where, when?” I pointed my finger down about half a mile west of the schoolhouse and I said, “There she goes.” He looked, and she was going as hard as she could go on that old horse, kicking it at every jump. Dad dropped everything and rushed down to the yard and got his old blue horse, a long-legged fast horse. He didn’t even stop to put a saddle on his horse. He just put on the bridle and jumped on bareback and away he went after Gladys.
She was about a mile ahead of him by then and headed west toward Rexburg. All us kids got on top of the tallest shed there, and we all watched. They’d go over the ridges and then come into sight and both were going as hard and as fast as they could. We were all whooping and hollering and betting on who was going to win the race. When they went over the last hill, Gladys was way ahead of dad still, and that was the last we could see of them. But when we got the report back, we found out that dad never did catch up to Gladys.
When Gladys got there, she went in the house and mother put her in the bedroom so dad couldn’t take her back to the farm. This is the way, at least, that it was told to me by Ferrel, and he said Pearl told him.
When dad got to town after riding 10 miles without a saddle, he was all sweaty and the horse was all lathered, and the report I heard was, he said, “Where’s that girl? Where’s that Gladys? I can’t do a thing with her. I’m going to send her away to some school.” And mother said, “George, now if you’re going to send Gladys away to a school, just wait until I get Mary ready and you can take her right along with her.”
Gladys never did go back to the dry farm that I remember of until after dad passed away. She got a job in town. I remember her telling about working for a jeweler and then she had a banjo she played, and she formed an orchestra called the Gladys Wood Orchestra. She had about a 14 piece band, and it was the best band in the valley. They used to play for dances all over. She was the most popular girl in the valley at the time I think, and she was really a nice girl and would do anything to help you that she could.
We used to have a rodeo about every Sunday. The kids would all get together and we would round up the calves, put them in the corral and lasso them and tie the sersingles on them and we’d take turn riding the calves. We had a lot of fun getting throwed off and seeing who could ride the best.
Another time, two or three of the boys rode out west to our garden which was out in what we called the State Land Field, on the west side of the dry canyon, and we were digging the potatoes and old Pizen Wood was there and I think Owen. Finally we got over by one edge and there was a little rattlesnake rattling at us. It was only a foot and half long or less and I said, “I’m going to get the rattles off of that snake.” So we rushed for the shovels to kill the snake, and old Pizen, instead of looking for something to kill it with, just ran over and put his foot on the rattlesnake’s head and pinned him down with his foot and reached down and pulled the rattles off of it. There were only two rattles and a button, but he got them. There wasn’t a kid in the country except Pizen who would have dared to do such a thing.
I remember one time when we were a little older, maybe 15 or 16, Rulon Lake came up to my place one evening. He had borrowed his dad’s car and we were wondering what to do. He said, “Where can we get some beer?” I said, “I don’t know. I don’t have any, but Owen Wood has some down there someplace. Let’s go down and see if we can buy some from him.” We thought that was a good idea so we drove down to Owen and Glen’s place (Uncle Henry’s Place). The only ones there were Glen Wood and Mary, his sister, just older than he—abut my age—and so we said, “We would like to buy of the Owen’s beer.” They said, “We don’t know anything about Owen’ beer. We don’t know where it is if he has any. We’ve got to go milk the cows,” and they took off over the ridge to the corral.
We took off back up the road in the car and got about over to where Gladys’ little home is on the creek today. We stopped the car and hid it in the brush and decided to go back over there. Rulon said, “I saw a barrel out in the creek. Maybe that beer is in that barrel.” So we went back up the creek afoot, in the brush pretty much, so we couldn’t be seen and got right next to the barrel in the creek. Rulon waded out in the creek and looked in the barrel and said, “Yeah, here’s the beer.”
He started handing it out to me, and I started piling it up in my arms like blocks of wood. We had about six or eight bottles in my arms and just about that time Glen and Mary came up from the corral up over the little ridge heading for their house. They looked our way, and saw us in the creek. Gleeny said, “Hand me the gun, Mary! The dirty S.O.B.’s are stealin’ Owen’s beer.”
We took off as hard as we could to get out of there and just got on the other bank about the time Mary came out of the house with the 22. She ran up to Glenny and said, “Glenny, here’s the gun, but don’t shoot; you may hit one of those boys.” Glenny replied, “Yes, but look what the dirty S.O.B.’s are doin’. They’re stealing Owen’s beer.” And BANG, BANG, BANG came the bullets crashing in the brush and in front of us. We were running as hard as we could, and about every other jump I’d drop another bottle of beer. Finally when we got over far enough where we figured we were safe, we didn’t have a bottle of beer left. We didn’t know whether or not Glenny was trying to hit us, but he certainly scared us. He came pretty close to us; we could hear the bullets in the trees. I doubt if he was trying to hit us, but he did a good job of scaring these two young kids.
One time, about 1930 probably, my brother Johnny and I were going hunting deer up in the forest the day before the season opened to see if we could get a deer, so we drove up into Graham Hollow and going down Graham Hollow, we ran on to Walter Wood’s 1929 Model A Ford parked in the timber. He wasn’t around so we decided he must be out hunting to see if he could get a deer before the season opened to.
We decided to pull a trick on Walter so I wrote a note and put it on the steering wheel of his car. The note said, “The owner of car with license No. 1M, no, it was 6K then, 239 (or whatever the rest of the number was), please report to the Madison County Sheriff’s office Monday morning at 10 o’clock.” I signed it “THE OFFICIALS”—didn’t put any names on it.
This was Saturday. We left and went to town and went to the dance and had a good time Saturday night. I got home about 12 o’clock. I went upstairs and crawled in bed and hadn’t gone to sleep yet and pretty soon I heard a car drive up to the side of our house, the screen door opened, and a knock sounded on the kitchen door. KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK! Dad didn’t hear anything. Soon I heard a voice I recognized as Walter’s. “George, I need you. It’s Walter.”
I pulled the covers up to my chin and didn’t move a muscle. I listened for all I was worth. I thought I would burst from trying to keep from laughing out loud.
There was a stir in dad’s room, and pretty soon a knock came more frantically and again, “George, I need you. It’s Walter.” Soon I could hear dad walking out from his bedroom, opened the door, and Walter came in. Walter said, “I’m in trouble. Look, I have this note. It tells me to report to the sheriff’s office Monday morning at 10 o’clock. I was in the timber hunting deer all right, but nobody saw me. I got a deer, but nobody knows about that, when I got this note, I went back and buried the hide and the head and everything so there would be no sign of it. But I need your advice, George. What do you think I should do? Dad thought about it for a minute and pretty soon he said, “Well, call up the sheriff and tell him that you’ve got to work Monday; you can’t come down. Then tell him about the note, and see what he says.” So Walter rang the sheriff’s telephone number, who was Rass Johnson from Lyman. It rang and rang, and soon I heard Walter say, Hello.” Then there was a pause and I heard, “This is Walter Wood, and I wanted to talk to the sheriff. I was up in the timber today getting some poles to make a pole corral for my horses, and I had my car parked up there and when I came back, there was this note on it. I haven’t done a thing wrong. This is what the note says, ‘Owner of car license No 6K (and whatever the rest of the number was) report to Madison County Sheriff’s office Monday morning at 10 o’clock. Signed, THE OFFICIALS.” I have to work Monday, sheriff, and I wonder if I could get off.”
I could tell from the conversation that the sheriff was thinking it over and he said, “Well, I don’t know who wrote it or anything about the note, but why don’t you go to work and if I need you for anything, I’ll get in touch with you.” Walter said, “All right, sheriff, thanks a lot.” He hung up the phone and thanked dad, and he was as tickled as he could be.
I thought, well, heck, that was a lot of fun, but maybe I shouldn’t have done it—but anyway it turned out all right.
THEN THERE WAS THE LEGEND OF THE HEADLESS WOMAN. The older boys at the farm would always tell us younger boys about the headless woman at the farm who had a white horse and rode as swift as the wind, and there was no noise from the hoof beats of the horse. She wore a white sheet over her body—but NO HEAD! The horse, as the story went, had two short legs on one side so it could run along the side hill as fast as it could go and still be standing level.
We would be standing around in the yard in the evening after the sun had gone down, and pretty soon Ken, or Harvey Walters, or Bill, or Ezra Lake, or Volney Jeppson would say, “LOOK! THERE SHE GOES—AS FAST AS THE WIND—NOT A BIT OF WIND—YOU CAN’T HEAR A HOOF BEAT! THAT’S THE HEADLESS WOMAN!”
Boy would they get us spooked up!
I remember once when all the kids were down to Uncle Henry’s place along the creek with our horses. It was just at the edge of dark. We started leaving his house, wading the creek with the horses to go back over passed dad’s old homestead house. We just got out in the middle of the creek, and out of the brush came a rider on a white horse with NO HEAD! It looked like it had a sheet on, but it came right out in the creek right among us. We all screamed bloody murder. THE HEADLESS WOMAN WAS AFER US! She rode right up to Tom Taylor’s horse and took hold of the reins of his bridle. Man, you should have heard Tom scream and holler. He thought it was his last day for sure! The old Headless Woman held on to his horse for awhile, so the rest of us took off as fast as we could go and we could hear Tom screaming as long as we could see him. But we didn’t go back to help him, but he got away all right because he was around the next day.
We really believed! And to this day, the legend still stands.
I’ve never seen her any closer than that and I really couldn’t say what happened, but I “Kind of suspect” the older boys had a lot of fun with us younger kids. Anyway, it is quite a legend on Moody Creek.
One time when I was quite young, dad and mother took me in the car to Wellsville to mother’s former home for a visit. We got to Smithfield, or Richmond I believe, and there was a little streetcar. So dad said, “All right, I’ll put you on here at Richmond, and you can ride over to Smithfield where Aunt Ida lives.” So I got on the streetcar, and it stopped at a little town before Smithfield. I though we were to Smithfield so I jumped off. Dad was driving along the side, and he saw me get off so he came and picked me up.
I was really intrigued with the big mountains down there. They were so beautiful. I wanted to climb one of them, so my cousin, Morris Anderson, took me so I could climb it. I started up the mountain and got up there about a half a mile, and I had had all the mountain climbing I wanted.
When we left Wellsville and headed for home, we got just about to Blackfoot, Idaho on the gravel highway we had at that time, when who should we run on to but two horsemen. As we drew near, dad said, “Why, that’s Ken.” They were headed north toward Idaho Falls and Blackfoot. Dad threw on the brakes, and we talked to them. It turned out to be Ken and Gordon Wright. Dad said, “Where have you been?” They told us they had just been on a little camping trip out west for a few days. “Where are you going?” “Oh, we’re headed for home. We’ll be there in a day or two.”
Dad thought that was something, but we went and left them and went on home and when we got home and dad went up town, he said everybody that he saw told him that Ken and Gordon had left the country. They were going to Texas, or someplace. Anyway, they had taken off. But it was only a few days before they got home, and they were mighty glad to get back.
(End of Tape 1, Side 2)
(Tape 2, Side 1)
Well, as I was saying, I was on my way over to see Fudd. This is the next morning after having a good night’s sleep with him in his trailer. He bought a new trailer in Kingman and he’s just getting it ready to move into. A big one, beautiful location.
Now, to finish of the story about Ken and Gordon Wright, that I was telling you about. When Dad, Mother and I were returning from Cash Valley and ran into them headed north in Blackfoot, they told us they had just been on a little trip out west. When we got home, Dad went uptown and when he came home he said, “everybody uptown is telling about Ken and Gordon taking off, leaving the country and gone to Texas and never going to come back.” So everybody had quite a time with them when they came back in about two weeks. They couldn’t get home soon enough to suit them.
This reminds me of one more story on the farm when I was about eight years old. Dad and I was going down to the pump house to start the pump to pump water up the hill for the horses and the house, ad we were carrying a can of gasoline and we were driving some horses down the trail ahead of us and as we got about half way down the canyon to a little flat, there was a fence running along the south edge of us crossing the canyon. The gate was open into it and the horses took off into this gate and we didn’t want them to go there; we wanted them to go on down by the pump house. So Dad says, “Well, you wait here by the gate and I’ll go around and get around the horses and drive them back out.” So he went in and finally got around the horses and started them back toward me. Something spooked the horses and anyway, they all took off on a run as hard as they could come right for me and then they went to the uphill side of the gate and started running right into the barb wire fence, not even stopping—just on a stampede. Dad was worried for fear that I’d get caught in the wire ahead of the horses so he says, “Run as hard as you can for the pump house. Run as hard as you can.” So I took off on a run down the trail as hard as I could go, the horses going right down through the Quaking Aspen trees and just about caught up to me with the barb wire and pretty soon, just before I got to the bottom, here Dad came and he’d caught up to me. The old horses had gone through the barb wire and one of them was stopped down in the bottom flat and his leg was cut completely off except for a little of the skin holding his leg on. So then, Dad says, “Well there’s one of my best horses gone now.” He was sure tickled that I wasn’t cut up from the wire. He said, “Well you walk up to the house and get the shotgun.” This was the same shotgun Bill had shot the rattlesnake with. So I had to walk up the hill and get his shotgun and bring it down, and he loaded it up and had to shoot the horse to get him out of his misery. So he lost one of his best horses.
Singing duet – SETH & FERREL: I love you truly, truly dear. Life with its sorrows; life with its tears, fades into dreams, when I feel you are near me, for I love you truly, truly dear.
In case you’re wondering what that was, it was Fudd and I doing our best.
When Fudd was only about 7 or 8 years old, we were in Rexburg, and Dad and Mother went to the dry farm to a meeting at the school house. I had to stay home and take care of Ferrel. So, we had quite a time. Here’s Ferrel, and he’ll tell you about it.
FERREL: Well, as I recall, Seth’s friend, Art Porter, was there at the house to at this time. Like you said, he was wondering what to do to keep me occupied so pretty soon he said, “Let’s have a milk drinking contest.” So, Mother kept these big flat pans of milk in the dumbwaiter. A dumbwaiter is a little device over on the side of the room where you put a pan of milk in there and then you put a couple of slats across it and then you put another pan and the slats hold the other pan up and you can stack them up 3 to 4 high and then you let this dumbwaiter down into the basement where it was cooler and that was the refrigerator for those days.
So anyway, we broke out the pans of milk and we skimmed the cream off, put it away, and then we started drinking milk. Now, I don’t know how much milk we drunk, but we drank more than we should be because in about 10 or 15 minutes, I started to get sick. And I guess I drunk two or maybe even three of those pans of milk but before the evening was over I was just as sick as I could be. I don’t know how much milk Seth drank, but it turns out, he was bigger and he drank more than I did and didn’t even get sick.
I remember one other incident when I was, oh, I must have been about 12 years old and I was staying up with Jenny’s dry farm up in the dry canyon that runs into the elbow down on Moody Creek. So it was my job to take the old cow out everyday and let her graze up and down the swales where the grass was good and green and to keep her out of the wheat fields so she didn’t eat any wheat. And I had an old black mare of Jenny’s that I’d take the mare and I’d get up there and turn the cow loose, let her graze; in fact, the mare, she was loose too. She didn’t have a bridle on or anything just a hackamore, and I was bareback. Sot this one day I was up in the swale herding the cow and it was a real nice warm day in the spring, so I laid down on the back of the mare on my back, had my head back on the mare’s rump and my feet up over her neck some way, and I was about two thirds asleep there in the sun, just nice and comfortable, and all at once, the rattlesnake rattled right underneath the mare. And the old mare, she just disappeared out from under me and there I was laying on my back about four or five feet up in the air, I don’t know just how I landed, but I skinned all the skin off of one thumb and I was on the dead run when I hit the ground and took off across the bushes there. Never did see the rattlesnake. All I got out of that deal was a good skinned-up thumb.
Soon after World War II ended, Seth got hold of me and said, “let’s go elk hunting out to the Salmon River country.” So away we went! And we stayed in a little old log cabin at the town of Forney. Got up real early in the morning and took off up over the mountain headed for Yellow Jacket. And we got up on top of the pass there where the road forks and heads north toward Cathedral Crags and Hoo-doo Meadows and we went along there a bit, a little ways, and we came to Quartsite Peak, and here was a set of deer tracks going across the road as I recall. So we stopped and said, “Let’s see if we can catch that deer.” Well, we followed it to the east out from the road for, oh, clear to the top of the ridge where we were clear on top of the ridge and we could see way across the valley to the east of us, and we couldn’t see the deer anymore but there were 3 or 4 head of elk way on the other side of this canyon and they must have been over half a mile away from us, maybe three quarters a mile away, way over there. Well, I had a little old 25-35 rifle and Seth had the old 30-40 Krag. I believe. So, he got his gun up and shot a couple of times at the elk and knocked one of them down. One of them went down and then he got back up and they all started to move away and this one big old bull that Seth had knocked down, it was trailing behind the other three or four of them; and Seth was out of shells by then. He shot a couple or three times and he’s out of shells so he says, “Well, you go catch him, Fudd.” So I took off on the dead run with my 25-35 to go capture that elk. And I ran down through this canyon just as hard as I could go and up the other side and I was in snow about two feet deep and it was real hard going and it was cold and there was kind of a wind blowing. I got up, found the tracks where the elk had been and saw where the elk had gone down. There was some blood there so I took off after the elk. And about then the wind started to blow and a storm was coming in. I trailed that darn old bull, I guess, another two miles maybe but by then the wind was really blowing and the snow was drifting over his tracks and pretty soon I decided, ‘by golly, I don’t know where I’m going and whether I can even get back where I came from.’ So, I thought that over for a while and decided I better give up the elk hunt and just see if I could find my way back to where Seth was. So I took off back following my tracks back. By then, my tracks had drifted in and they were hard to see and it was getting late in the afternoon, starting to get dark almost. It wasn’t quite dark yet but couldn’t hardly find the trail. Anyway, I finally got back down through the canyon back over to where Seth had been and he was gone from there, of course. Went back to the car. There was Seth at the car. And I was plum give out by then. I had walked, I guess, I would judge maybe 5 miles through that snow and in the blizzard so Seth says, “Got a baked can of hot beans there ready for you. You eat them and we’ll be all ready to go again.” Well, I was about starved to death, too, besides being tired so I ate that can of beans and Seth days, “Let’s go get the big old deer we started out after here.” So away we went. Seth was in the lead. He says, “Now, what that old deer is going to do, he’s a smart old rascal, and what he’ll do is he’ll get ahead of us a ways and then he’ll circle out and hide out in the timber and watch for us.” So Seth says, “you come along behind and you watch to the right and I’ll watch to the left and we’ll see him somewhere out there.” So, we (tape Interruption) kicking off to the right and all at once here this big old buck deer is just raised up from behind a log off to my right about 75 yards maybe. So I pulled up my 25-35 and shot at him, just barely grazed the side of his eye, just made a little groove in the side of his eye along the side of his head. Man, he gave a jump, started to run, and I shot again, knocked him down, and dashed up to him, set my gun down, got my knife out ready to capture the deer, and I’ll be darn if he didn’t jump off and start to run off and leave me. So then Seth got him and killed him. So anyway, we dressed the deer out and took him home, and as I recall he had a real black set of horns. They were quite a unique set of horns. I haven’t seen anything quite like those before so I had that deer head mounted, kept it around the house for a long, long time after that.
In the olden days when all the farming up on the bench was done with horses, Seth’s job, one of his jobs, was to haul water out to the horses and he wasn’t very old, I guess, because I can remember I was maybe five or six years old and I remember riding on the water wagon. It was a big old 4-wheeled wagon with maybe about a 400 or 500 or 600 gallon tank on it and a couple of head of horses out in front and we’d come down over the hill there and wed drive under the water pipe, down under the edge of the hill there and we’d drive under the water pipe, down under the edge of the hill-just about, maybe where Dave’s house is now, a little bit north of that, maybe, somewhere right along there. And we’d fill the water tank out of the cistern by gravity—just open the valves and water would run right in. And when it got full, we’d load it up and head out to the fields and take the water out to the horses.
SETH: I remember one time I was alone and Dad had borrowed Uncle John Woods’ water tank which was an iron one, a round iron tank, because our square tank was being repaired. So I took my two tame old horses out in Uncle John’s stubble field to get this iron water tank, so I hooked them on to the water tank and got on the tank with the lines and everything and started them up, and the old iron water tank started to rattling and banging behind the horses. They wasn’t used to that so they got spooked and away they went, ran away with me out into Uncle John’s stubble field. And man, the minute they started running, that water tank started bouncing in the air and I didn’t have anything to hold on to except the lines and when I’d pull on the reins, why, it would pull me off the front of the water tank. So, I went over the front of the water tank and down on the double trees right between the horses. So, I hung on to the end of the lines and hung on to the horses’ harnesses and then I reached back and got a hold of the tank, finally got back on the water tank but I didn’t dare pull on the reins because they’d pull me off the tank again. And they must have run for about half a mile, I think, and then they started getting tired and pretty soon they stopped on their own. I was still out in Uncles John’s field.
FERREL: Well now, this is the fish story. I was maybe five years old, Seth was maybe, what, he’d be 13, 14, 15 somewhere along in there. So he took me down on Moody Creek to teach me how to catch fish. So we got down there below the pump house, I’d say, maybe a quarter or a mile and there was a little opening there where the brush wasn’t very thick and a bend in the creek and nice little hole. He says, “Now, there’s bound to be two or three fish right in this hole so you watch and I’ll show you how to catch them.” So he threw his line out in the hole and we hid down behind the bank a little bit and pretty soon, boy, he gave a jerk on the line, he had a fish on and he jerked the fish right up over the bank and hit me right square in the face with it. That was my first try at fishing. But after I recovered from that, then he got me fixed up and I put my line in there and we caught two or three more fish out of that same hole.
SETH: And I remember also, one time I was alone at this same fishing hole that Ferrel just described, fishing away and I caught two nice trout and laid them in the grass out behind me, kept on fishing for 20 – 30 minutes and didn’t get any more. So I turned around, to get ready to go and there was a huge blow snake and it had one of my biggest fish two-thirds swallowed. The tail of the fish was sticking out of his mouth. So, I got a stick and I went over and hit him right in the middle, across the middle with a stick, and he coughed that fish up, really spit it out. But I don’t hardly think anybody ate that one.
Speaking of Gordon Wright it reminded me of the time that he and I and Lee Peterson went up to Mud Lake and we were hunting sage hens when we were in our first years of high school, Lee Peterson and I. So we got out there and ran into a fellow by the name of Barnes and his family, living on a little farm at Hamer, and he said, ‘Yes, you can hunt sage hens in my field and when you get through, come on in the house and we’ll have breakfast.” Lee and I looked into the house and it was just one room with no floor in it, and his wife was going to have another baby and there was about six young ones in there, the oldest about six years old. Dirty as it could be. Well, anyway, we went out and hunted the sage hens and as I was walking through the field and looked down between my feet, legs, I was taking a step and there was a sage hen hiding right between my legs in the hay. So, I reached down with my left hand and I grabbed it by the neck and it started flapping its wings and then the sage hens started flying up all around me, and I pulled the one up that I had a hold of, had a hold of my gun and was trying to shoot the others and this one was flapping and my gun was jumping up and down and I couldn’t hit one of them. They all got away. Then after that, why, when we got through hunting and got plenty of sage hens, Mr. Barnes, says, “Well, let’s go to breakfast.” Lee and I was hesitant to go, but Gordon Wright, he says, “OK, Let’s go.” So we went into the house and she started to cook hotcakes and my gosh, you should have seen those kids. They were the dirtiest things—and that house! We was losing our appetite every minute, Lee and I, and when she got the hotcakes done, put some on our plates, Gordon says, “Pass the syrup,” and so we took the syrup and poured it on the hotcakes and tasted it and the syrup tasted like woodtick, kind of an iodine taste. Lee and I could hardly cram the hotcakes down but we didn’t want to be an embarrassment and not east any of them, so we got one down and she says to me, “Have some more hotcakes,” and we said, “No, we wouldn’t care for any more, we’re full.” Gordon Wright says, “Yeah, we’ll have some more, give us some more.” So she gave us some more and we had to eat them. He was a real congenial old fellow though, and he played a fiddle after breakfast and we had a good time there.
Well, here we are, Had our breakfast over at Ferrel’s this morning. Jane cooked a wonderful pancake, egg breakfast, bacon, real nice cook. So, now Ferrell and I are in the Volkswagon heading out to the golf course to play a little golf. So he asked me to tell the story about Jay Griggs, who was a friend of mine in Rexburg and also the golf pro in Rexburg. He went down to Las Vegas for the winter and was the golf pro assistant at one of the golf courses in Las Vegas, so I stopped in to see him on the way from Texas where I had pinned the wings on Richard, my boy, for getting his wings for the Navy Air force and on the way back, I stopped in Las Vegas and stayed at the Desert Inn. So I would play golf there in the day time and then in the evenings, Jay Griggs would drive in with his car and we’d go to a show, have a time for a while. The back end of his brand new Chevrolet had been crashed in, so I asked Jay what had happened to it. Jay told me that he was practicing up his golf out there one morning for his pro am. He was the pro and he had his amateurs. It was a big day for him and he really wanted to win. So he was practicing up real early out there shooting balls on the practice range and he said he was sweating, worked there for about an hour and a half and finally over the microphone came the calling, “Professional Jay Griggs on Number 1 tee in 15 minutes.” Jay said, “I reached down for my clubs as fast as I could, and stretched out so far that I split my pants clear from the crotch clear up the back end, had nothing left in the bottom of them. I couldn’t go play that way so I rushed into the Pro Shot and I said, “Johnny,” who was the pro, “I need a new pair of pants. I split these.” They looked in the Pro Shop for a pair and there wasn’t a pair in there large enough for him so he said, “I’ll be back, hold them up, I’ll be back in 15 minutes. I have to go home and get my other pants.” So he rushed out to the parking lot as hard as he could go and jumped into the Chevrolet, threw it in reverse, started to back out and take off and he smashed right into the front end of a car that was coming in. And he said, “I looked around just in time to see a little old fellow fall over in the front seat. So I jumped out of my car and I rushed back there and there he lay, in the front seat just moaning and groaning, moaning and groaning.” So I said, “What’s the matter with you? That little bump couldn’t have hurt you. Sit up there.” And all he’d do it moan and groan and moan and groan. So he says, “I reached in and I grabbed him by the arm and I Jerked him up from the seat and I shook him as hard as I could, I said, “Sit up there you S.O.B., you’re not hurt”. And he said, all he’d do it moan and groan. So he said, “I let go of him and he fell over in the front seat moaning and groaning and I said, “I don’t have time for this kind of stuff. I’m on the tee in 10 minutes, I gotta’ go. Here’s my card if you ever want to look me up.” So he threw his card into him, jumped in his car, rushed home for the pants. When he came back he said he just parked his car and heard over the microphone. “Professional Jay Griggs, on the tee.” So he said, “I rushed over to the tee and all of my amateurs had already shot off the number one tee.” So he said, “I teed my ball up, I took a big swing at it, and I just hit it with the very heel of the club and the golf ball came over my left toe and ran me over toward the club house. The Club House door was open and the ball went right in the Club house.” He said, “That was really an embarrassing situation, but we finished the Pro Am. In a few weeks I got a letter from the courts and the fellow that I’d run into out on the golf course was suing me for $50,000. He said he turned out to be the President of the Golf Association. So that really was an “ADROINT” situation.
Ferrel hs asked me to tell about Ray Wood who they nick-named Pizon. The way they came to nickname him Pizon was he was telling one day about going up at the Creek and finding old Ed Cason’s whisked still. He said he looked in at those big 50 gallon barrels and they were just a-churning and a –rolling, and you could just see the pizon rizen, an ever since then he was known as Pizon Wood. Well, when he was about 12 years old, he was walking down the road to Rexburg and, Lola Webster told me this story about him. She said she drove along in their car going to Rexburg and caught up to this little boy walking down the road. So she said, “I stopped and asked him if he’d like a ride.” So he got in the car and sat down and we started out and I looked over at him and I says, “Well, whose little boy are you?” And he looked at me so funning and cocked his head to one side and he says, “Jesus Christ, lady, don’t you know me? I’m Pizon Wood.”
When I was a freshman in high school I wanted to be an athlete and they told me down at the school that I had bad tonsils and should get them out right away. So I figured, in order to be a good athlete, they had to come out. So I asked dad if he’d take me up to the hospital and get the tonsils out and he said, “Well, I’ll make arrangements.” So next thing we knew, “You and Ferrell both, get ready. We’re going up to Dr. Rigby’s hospital and get the tonsils out.” So both of us went up and they put us in a room together, each had a bed. Pretty soon, in came the nurse and she had a urinal bottle. She says. “Urinate in this.” So, I spit in it, she took off with it. Pretty soon she came back and says, “That wasn’t a very good sample, you better use something else to give it to me with.” So I finally caught onto what it was and did that. Anyway, they took me down and gave me the ether, and I remember grabbing hold of the doctor’s arm and hanging on as tight as I could because I didn’t want him cutting on me until it was over. And I was plenty sick when I got out of that.
Now, here’s Ferrel to tell his part of it.
FERREL: I was about maybe 4, 5 or 6 years old at the time, I guess, and about all I remember of that day was they got me in the operating room and here came Dr. Rigby with what looked like a great big mask to me, or maybe it was a cloth full of chloroform. But anyway, he slapped that over my face, and he and I started to wrestle and he won, I guess, because that was all I remembered until I came to with no tonsils.
About the first thing I can ever remember when I was, maybe about threes years, just a little bit of a tyke. Mother took me up to see dad, and he was in Dr. Rigby’s hospital with blood poisoning. And I remember seeing him lying there on the bed and he was lying on his side and he had this tube coming out of his back. They were draining his back. But the main thing I remember about the trip is the stairs going up into the hospital. They were quite wide stairs but they were quite steep and I fell down the stairs when we were leaving. Coming down, I just fell down and got my nose bloodied.
SETH: Well, while Ferrel and I are together here, we’re headed for Oatman out of Kingman to spend the day touring and really enjoying one another as we always do. We decided to tell about the changeover from the horsepower to the tractor power on the dry farm of dad’s.
Dad had a good 65 head of the best work horses in Madison County and he always took good care of them. I remember him spending hours doctoring their sore shoulders and fixing the collar pad so they wouldn’t make their shoulder sore. When they’d start to get sore, he cut a hole out of the collar pad so it wouldn’t irritate the sore, and he was real particular and proud of his horses. He always said they made the country once and if we go into tractors the horses are going to have to do it over and rebuild the country again. But, Ken and Bill and John, well, all of them men were tired of taking care of the horses because it was such a long job and a year round job so they wanted tractors as soon as they could get one. So I remember when I was about in the eighth grade, Bill bought a Case, wheel tractor. It had all steel wheels on it and huge lugs on the back wheels for traction, and the front wheels had a rim around the center of them so he could guide it better. I was supposed to work with him that summer on the dry farm, so he taught me how to drive this Case tractor and I was plowing and every time you’d go down the hill west from our house at Moody Creek, the tractor would go real good in about third gear pulling three bottoms of plow and on the way back up the hill coming to the east, it would be up the hill, it would have to go a gear lower and the tractor would always begin to boil before it would get up to the end, start boiling the water out of it. So, we’d have to pull the plow out of the ground with a trip rope and then turn the tractor around and head it into the wind and leave it set, idling and running, until it got cooled down and then turn around and start to plow again. And when you’d get to the corner, you pull the rope and pull the plow out of the ground. And I was quite small, but I remember about half of the time on the corners I’d trip the plow and get it out of the ground and turn the wheel fast to turn the corner to get those big wheels turned pretty sharp and then I couldn’t get them straightened out. When I got her around I’d go around and around in a circle and finally I’d have to slow it down and get it straightened out to go again.
Dad said, “Those tractors would never amount to anything.” So I remember one day he decided he wanted to try that tractor and see how it drove. He got on it and went around on it. When he came to a corner, why he tried to turn it, got it turned and he couldn’t straighten it out and he kept going around and around in a circle and I had a big time watching. He had to slow it down, to get it around the corner and straightened out again. So, he knew they wasn’t any good then.
After that, why, I remember Dad and Mother and I went to Yellowstone Park for a tour and when we came back, Ken and Bill had traded about 15 or 20 head of his best horses or had bargained to, to buy a Bates Track Tractor. They called it “the steel mule”. And Dad was sure mad about that and he said he wasn’t going to let them do that. And I remember the old Bates tractor coming in on the railroad car and sitting on the siding and Dad wouldn’t take it off; he wouldn’t let them take it off. He said he wasn’t going to trade his horses for that thing. But, they kept after him and after him and he investigated the tractors thoroughly and finally decided to buy a Caterpillar Track type tractor and it was a Gas 30 and it was a real good tractor and we were real proud of that tractors.
Now, here’s Ferrel to tell what experience he had, his first experiences with the tractor.
FERREL: Well, I remember the first time I ever rode on the old Gas 30 it was with Seth and I was quite young, don’t recall just how young, but I couldn’t have been over 7, 8 or 9 years old. I was on the tractor with Seth; of course, he had driven it quite a while by then, he was an expert at it. But what he was most expert at is about every 30 seconds while we were going down through the fields why, he would spit up over the engine and spit on to the hot manifold, just to watch the steam go up in the air. He never did miss, so I knew he had had a lot of practice.
Then, later on, maybe a year or so after that, why they got me on the tractor by myself to drive it. And I remember coming up through the field there straight west of the big harvester shed and I was pulling the weeders, I think, behind the old Gas 30, headed up the hill and I went through a little gully and it started to lug the engine down and I could see that it was going to kill the engine, so I threw the clutch out, a big old hand clutch on this gas 30, but it didn’t stop right away. It took a few seconds for the clutch to disengage and so it killed the engine before the clutch disengaged and there I was coming up out of the gully and the engine stopped and nobody around. So I got off and I was trying to figure out how to crank that thing. It had a great big long crank in the front, sticking out in front of the radiator and this crank was latched up in a leather throng to hold it up out of the way, up off the ground. So I finally figured out that by hooking the crank into the crank shaft and getting it up on about a 45, 50, 60 degree angle, up in the air, that I could climb up on the radiator and get up on top of the radiator and get both feet on the crank and then kind of jump off the radiator with all my weight and kick down as hard as I could on the crank and after 4 or 5 tries like that, I got the thing started and so then I went on up through the field.
I remember one incident about the old Gas 30, that is that Seth had me out on there one time helping him down by the Hutch place which is out to the northwest of the school house over on the lower road there. We had the weeders on behind the old Gas 30 and he had me out there driving it and he was out behind catching mice because he used to catch mice and put them in the big earthen jars and then when he got enough in there he’d go up to Webster dam and catch fish with the mice, He can tell you about that later on. But he was off catching mice and I was driving the tractor and I came to the old Hutch farmyard which was abandoned by then and I was supposed to turn and go out around it. Well for some reason, I couldn’t get the tractor turned fast enough and I ran one wheel of the weeders off into the old abandoned cistern there, hung them up, broke a cable or two and Seth was madder than old Billy Heck at me.
SETH: Well, so the one gas 30 Caterpillar was working out so good that Dad was even becoming sold on them even though he was still claiming that the horses was going to have to rebuild the country. He finally found another used tractor that Orville Boelke owned, so he made a trade with him—fifteen more of these good horses for this second gas tractor which was a Narrow Gauge one. It wasn’t as good a tractor as the Wide Gauge that we already had, and Ken had to call that one his and he drove it all the time. It wouldn’t turn the corners as good and wouldn’t pull as much load because of the traction so Ken wasn’t satisfied. By then they had invented a diesel tractor. SO Ken and Bill were the mechanics on our tractors and they were good mechanics, too. They took good care of them. Someone told me that he figured out how he could get rid of the old one. So one time when he was repairing on it, he left something loose in the timimg gear, which, after it got going good, flew to pieces and broke the tractor down and so then dad had to trade it off. So they traded it in on a 40 Diesel Caterpillar from Westmont Tractor in Idaho Falls. A fellow by the name of Jerry Gurkey brought it up to our farm. They unloaded it in the yard. It was sitting there in the yard and we were all into dinner, getting ready to eat, and I remember old Jerry Gurkey saying, “Well, George, you’ve sure got a big beautiful tractor there now that is going to do your work.” And I was the youngest one there and I spoke up, “Yeah, and it’s got a heck of a big price on it too that we’re wondering how we can pay for it.” I remember that tickled dad about half to death. He was having to hide his face to keep from laughing. So Jerry was quite chagrined about that. But, anyway, it was a wonderful tractor and it did lots more work at a lot less cost.
And here’s Ferrel again telling about the rest of the diesel experience.
FERREL: Yes, I remember that fall, I think it must have been the first year after we had the Big Diesel 40. Dad, Pa, as we always called him, was down at home there with his big roll top desk going through the bills for the year. He had been use to buying so many gallons of gasoline for the two Gas 30 tractors and here came the bill for the diesel tractor and it must have only been about a fourth or a third as much as the gasoline tractors had used and I remember him saying, “Why, that’s a darn lie. That thing won’t run with only that much fuel. Where’s the rest of the fuel?”
SETH: And so, it looked like maybe Ken knew what he was doing when he got the diesel truck.
(MUSICAL INSTRUMENT PLAYING)
FERREL: Now, you have just heard an original rendition of My Old Kentucky Home by Seth Wood.
I remember coming across the field one time in the old Diesel 40, been out there working, doing something I don’t recall just what, But it was getting real dark and cloudy and stormy and so they hadn’t come to spell me off and I decided I better high tail it for the house in the tractor. So I unhooked the equipment and headed up through the field. Pretty soon the storm broke and boy it was a thundering and a lightening and I got to noticing that every time a lightening strike would happen, why I could see big blue flames coming out of the exhaust pipe of the tractor straight up in the air. After I watched that five or six times, it spooked me up so bad that I shut the tractor off and crawled underneath it trying to keep away from getting electrocuted because of the lightening. I stayed there until the storm was over.
SETH: Well that was quite an experience, and that reminds me of once when I out driving the tractor and weeding and this “side hill Moody” came up. That’s what we called them—a lot of wind and a big cloud and some rain. So I stopped by the old fuel wagon truck and crawled under it, and I’m laying on the ground there to get out of the rain and wind so, by golly, the first thing I knew, I was sound asleep and I don’t know how long I was asleep but something woke me up, and I opened my eyes and there was a great big blow snake with his face right square in mine, looking right at me. Man, I jumped and so did the snake. He took off in one direction and I took off in the other. The storm was over and so I went back to work.
FERREL: I remember going to visit Dad one time when he was in the hospital, when he was ill, after his heart attack and he was up in the Rigby Hospital there in Rexburg. I went up to see him and he stuck out his hand and he grabbed a hold of my hand and he squeezed as hard as he could. I was squeezing as hard as I could and shaking hands and he was saying. “Boy, you sure have a good grip for a small boy.” He was saying, “As soon as I get better and get out of the hospital here, you and I are going to go up and spend some time at the gold mine, spend some time together.”
After Dad was taken ill up in the barber shop and spent some time in the hospital, why, they brought him down home. I was 15 years old at the time, and I never did spend too much time with him like the rest of the family did. They were all older than I was so they stayed with Dad and took care of him. And I don’t recall too much about that. I don’t ever recall that he ever got out of bed again and he was home there for several months. Probably six months before he finally passed away.
I remember that the older boys, Bill and Ken and Seth used to sit with Dad at nights and Jenny, of course, would come over during the day time….
(End of Tape # 2, Side 1)
(Tape #2, Side 2)
FERREL: One time we were going camping. I was about 10 years old I guess, or 11 and dad loaded all the camping gear on a two-wheel trailer. He had the tent on there and all the food and everything you could think of that we would need for camping; and Aunt Ida and Uncle George Thornly and Bee and young George Thornly were there I recall. The car was clear full of people anyway. So we took off, and we headed up Teton Pass from the Rexburg side. The old car was boiling and carrying on, but it made it to the top all right. When we got to the top why dad stopped there and put two metal skis that he had made on the trailer. They were made out of steel and they were about two feet long and they had metal straps on the inner side so that the tire would run in between and would keep the ski from sliding off sideways off the tire. Then they had a loop in the front of the ski and then he would chain the front of the ski up to the frame of the trailer so the ski would stay in position right on the bottom of the tire, and it would act as a brake going down the hill down Jackson Pass.
And so we started down the hill and about every quarter of a mile why he would stop and jump out of the car and he had five gallons of water in the can on the trailer. He would throw water on the skis. The skis would be so hot from sliding down the hill, the water would boil and steam and hiss. They would have to stop and cool them off every quarter of a mile. So we finally got to the bottom of the Teton Pass and went on into Jackson. Just south of Jackson was the Wilson ranch—kind of right on the outskirts of town—and anyway we camped in their yard and stayed there for a day or two and fished, and we had a great time there. Seth will not well about the Wilson.
SETH: Well, this Wilson was the name of the little town before we got to Jackson City. It was originally formed there by Nick Wilson, who was a distant relative of ours. When he was 12 years old, he ran away with the Shoshone Indians from a little ranch south of Salt Lake City, and he lived with the Indians, the Shoshones, for two years before he went back home. In his later years he told his story. The book was written by Driggs, the author, and the name of it was, The White Indian Boy, and the later edition that you can now get is Life Among the Shoshones.
FERREL: A year or two after mother passed away, dad bought me a little Indian pony to keep me occupied. I was probably 11 years old. And one day he says, “I bought you an Indian pony and it is up in St. Anthony so come on and we’ll go get it.” So we got in the car, and we went almost to St. Anthony and here was this little buckskin pony out on the ranch there that dad had bought. So he says, “Get on it and ride it home.” I’d never ridden a horse in my life, but I jumped on the pony bareback—only a bridle on it. It was a nice tame one. The trip was quite uneventful as I recall until I got clear in the corral at home. Dad was up ahead—that meant he’s opened the gate to the corral. I rode through the gate on the Indian pony. The old buck pony saw the barn door open so he headed for the barn, and he was going at a pretty good brisk walk by then and the first thing I knew he went right through the barn door. I didn’t get ducked soon enough, and I hit the side of the barn and went off the back of him. I had never ridden a horse before and boy, was I stiff for a few days after riding that pony for that first time for about 10 or 12 miles.
SETH: Well, the family also had some experiences in flying and so we are going to tell what little we know about it at this time. My brother, Bill, bought his first airplane in about 1939 and that was the first privately owned airplane in Rexburg. He had learned to fly, and I remember him landing the plane up at the dry farm when we fixed an airport between the schoolhouse and the house and then he would tie it up by the house and leave it. I remember also one day I was out weeding with the tractor over near the school house and he started to take off with the airplane coming right toward me. He didn’t see me and by the time he got off the ground, he barely missed the tractor with the wing of the plane pretty close to the radiator of the tractors. So that was a close call already to begin with. He kept this plane for several years and then he built the first airport in Rexburg. He took his diesel tractor down from the dry farm and used a grader of the county’s and leveled the landing field right behind the college which had to be on the college property now, and that’s where the first airport was.
Then he and Ferrel both went to the Army during the Second World War where they got their licenses, and Bill was a civilian instructor and Ferrel got his license. He can tell about that later. He turned out to e a pilot in the B24 as I recall. But anyway, after the war, Bill and I were down in Phoenix, AZ and we went out to Thunderbird Field #2, and there was a whole field of airplanes for sale. So we looked the all over and finally found BT 13A, which has a 450-horsespower Pratt & Whitney Wasp Junior engine, and it looked like it was in pretty good shape so we asked them how much for it. And they said, “Well, since your brother Ferrel was just in the Air Force, you can buy it for $690. So we bough the airplane and Ferrel signed for it.
Van Houten was a pilot in Rexburg at the time, and we had him come down to Phoenix to fly this airplane to Salt Lake City to have it licensed. And so when he came, I decided to go with him but they wouldn’t let me fly off of Thunderbird Field with him so he flew it from there over to Mesa and landed, and that’s where I got in the airplane with him. We headed for Las Vegas and by the time we got to Boulder City there was a big windstorm so we went on over to Las Vegas and went to land at Carron. Field. At that time there was no oil on the runway at all; it was dirt. As we went down to land, the dirt blew up so thick we couldn’t see the runway so we had to make a pass over it flew about four or five miles passed it, and turned the wings up and boy! Did we go downwind just a whoopin’. This time when we made the approach into the field, the wind let up enough so we could see the runway, and he landed and then the people there ran up and tied our airplane down to a Model A Ford to keep the wind from blowing it away.
The windstorm kept up for three days, and it was three days before we could get out of Las Vegas and go on to Salt Lake where we left the airplane, where it was licensed. And now Ferrel continues something about after it was licensed.
FERREL: When Bill and I went down to Salt Lake to fly the airplane home, the weather was bad and they wouldn’t let us leave so we waited for two days in Salt Lake. The ceiling got up to about 1,000 feet, and you could see maybe six or eight miles. They still advised us not to go, but I said, “Oh, I’ve got a green instrument card. We won’t have any trouble getting home. So let’s go.” So we jumped in the B T, and away we went out of Salt Lake. Got up right underneath the clouds and flew up to Malad City and clouds were getting a little bit lower—had maybe a 5 or 6 hundred foot ceiling in Malad. But we started following the highway up over the Malad Pass, from Malad up toward the Portneuf River Country.
Well, first I decided to turn around and head back for Malad, but when I turned around, the clouds had lowered down behind us and I couldn’t see anything behind us anyway, so I just started a climbing spiral and we spiraled straight up in the air to keep from running into the side of the canyon or any of the mountains there. We spiraled up and up and up, and we were in the clouds and I was on the instruments and Bill was getting pretty nervous in the backseat. We climbed clear up to 14,000 feet and we broke out of the clouds at about 14,000 feet. It was nice and clear up there. You could see a million miles, and it was solid white clouds underneath us. We didn’t have any radios. They had taken all the radios out of the aircraft, so there we were up there, so I headed north toward the Snake River Valley. I timed our flight from the top of the Malad Pass to where I figured we should be up about even with Pocatello. In looking around, I could see one little bump off to the northeast in the clouds so I decided that was probably the Teton Peaks bumping up into the clouds and making a bump in the clouds there. So by using the bump in the clouds and using my watch and one thing and another, I decided I was out east of Pocatello – somewhere in that area. So then I turned and headed northwest and flew for a few minutes to where I figured I was probably out over the Snake River Valley, so then I told Bill I says, “Well, we have to go down through the clouds and there wasn’t any broken areas and we couldn’t get down at all. We couldn’t find any place we could see our way down. So I idled the old B T down and put the carburetor heat on, and we opened the canopy up and we put our seats clear down to the bottom and pulled up our safety belts as tight as we could and started spiraling down through the clouds real slow just about 50 mph ready to stall, had full flaps on and everything. Anyway, we finally broke out of the clouds to where I could see the ground, and we were out over the desert somewhere, so I gave her the power and got things going and we had about a 500 or 600 foot ceiling there. The clouds were about that high above the ground. I could see a town off to the side of us. We flew over there, and it was Blackfoot, Idaho. We had missed it about five miles, so then we just followed the highway on home to Rexburg.
SETH: So, anyway, we had the old B T 13A up in Rexburg, and one day in the summer, Bill and I decided to fly it up to Salmon City. So I got in the back seat and he was in the front seat. I didn’t know it at the time, but he had a hangover. So we took off and got down to the Lemhi River some place, and the clouds started coming up. He started getting sick up in the front seat so I was trying to fly the airplane in the back and didn’t know how to fly, and then he’d take over. He’d just say, “Hold the stick for a few minutes.” So we’d go and then the lightening started lightening and boy! I could see the lightening go down on the right side of the wing and go over on the left side. We went on down the Lemhi River until we got in to Salmon City, and I said to him, “Fly around the town here,” as it had cleared up a little bit then, and Lee Peterson was out there and he was coming out to get us at the airport. I thought if we “buzzed the town” Lee would know that that we were there.
Bill says, “No, there’s a storm coming in. We can see it coming up the river. We better get landed.” So we headed for the airport which was just out on the edge of Salmon City. As we came in for the landing we could see there was water and mud on the runway. I remember him letting the RPM’s down pretty low. He wanted to get down as soon as he could because the airfield was only a half a mile long. I know that before we got to the airfield, the old plane was about ready to stop flying – it was going real slow, and just at that time Bill gave it some throttle, and it picked up flying speed. We just make it over the barbed wire fence onto the end of the runway, and we were still about 20 feet in the air. At about 15 feet in the air the old airplane unloaded and dropped straight down. I grabbed on to the sides and said, “Hang on!” I thought we were gong to have tail-up over crash. Instead of that, it hit in the mud and water, and mud and water flew all over the airplane, clear over the top. We couldn’t even see out the windshield or anything, then it rolled only abut 50 to 100 yards and stopped in the mud right on the runway; and then sunk about six inches in the mud. So we were stuck there and couldn’t even move. So we had to get out and leave the airplane on the runway. We walked over to the hangar and then we had to get a ride back to Rexburg on the bus and leave the airplane there.
About a month later, Bill and I went out to Salmon in my car for the airplane, and they had moved it off the runway and had it tied up there, so Bill got in it and flew it to Rexburg and I drove the car back and we got the plane back home that time.
FERREL: Later on Seth and I flew the old B-T to Salmon to visit Lee Peterson and see the country. Everything went fine until we started home. There was a pretty good overcast when we started. The weather wasn’t the best in the world, but it looked like we could get through all right; but as we came up to Lemhi Valley, the clouds were lowering down and it was getting colder and the outside temperature was going down and about the time we got to Gilmore Summit, all of a sudden the engine iced up and the RPM went down and I lost power. I quickly put on the carburetor heat thinking the engine would start right up again, but it didn’t, it misfired and was just coasting. The propeller was whirling along, but we didn’t have any power. So I hollered at Seth on the microphone to get ready to land, so we opened up the canopy and got our seat belts cinched up and ready to land. We were right over the highway so I figured we could land all right if we had to. We glided down there, and I was working on the engine trying to get it to go using carburetor heat and using the wobble pump and trying to get the engine to start; and it finally got to popping and firing a little bit. By the time we got down maybe a hundred feet above the highway, why it was running pretty good to where we had enough power we finally got it going and I could put the carburetor heat off and we started to gain altitude and made it home all right without having a forced landing.
The last flight that Seth ever took in the B-T was from the St. Anthony Field and there had been a big thunderstorm and cloud burst go through, a lot of rain, but Seth wanted to go up and go for a ride and he had Teddie Lou, his daughter, and Johnny Wood, young Johnny Wood, so we went to St. Anthony to ride in the B-T. There was quite a bit of water on the ground, and I could see there had been a lot of rain and I was worried about having water in the fuel so I ran the B_T up and taxied around with it and monkeyed around for 3 or 4 times as long as normal to see if the engine was going to run all right and see if there was any water in the fuel. We drained taps, and everything looked fine after. About 30 minutes later I decided it was okay to go. So we got everybody in, Seth and the two little kids in the back seat, and I was up in front and we took off down the runway and everything went fine until I got about 300 feet in the air. I was right out over the highway at St. Anthony there, and all of a sudden the engine started to miss. It was a 7-cylinder engine, and I guess 3 or 4 cylinders started to miss; anyway it immediately lost all power and started to vibrate so bad I couldn’t even see the instruments on the instrument board it was shaking so bad. Here I was about 300 feet in the air going about 80 miles an hour and just ready to stall almost, so I immediately put the nose down and thought, “Well, we’re going to have to land on the highway,” but the highway was full of automobiles. I couldn’t land there, and the only fields beyond the highway were little teeney, short ones. I knew we couldn’t land there so I quick and did a hammerhead stall wingover sort of a maneuver and turned back towards the field – what you are not supposed to do. But I got turned around just barely got the airplane straightened around by the time I was down on the ground. I never did get back in line with the runway. I had one wing tipped just about scraping the ground on the right-hand side and I was trying to turn back to line up with the runway, but the airplane was to low, so we landed going crossways of the runway at about a 20 degree angle. After we got on the ground I got it straightened up and we finally went on down the left-hand edge of the runway and got landed okay.
SETH: And that was the last ride I took in that thing!
FERREl: I took Ken in the BT several times and one trip that he never did get over telling about, was, he had his movie camera and he said, “Let’s get some pictures of the top of the Teton Peaks.” So we jumped in the B T and away we went and headed for the Teton Peaks. I approached them from the southwest directly downwind from the normal direction of the wind and I said, “Get your camera ready Ken and get a picture of the peak as we go by.” So we flew past the very tip of the Grand Teton headed northeast, and we were low enough and close enough to it that I had to raise the right wing to keep from hitting the rocks on top of the peak there. Just as we went over the peak we hit a terrific downdraft from the wind, and the plane started to drop but there was plenty of room. We were passed the peak by then; and we had 2000 or 3000 or 4000 feet of nothing but sky in there so I just let the nose go down, and we dived down over Jenny’s Lake on the other side. When we got down there, I looked back at Ken and asked if he’d gotten the movie pictures, and he hadn’t taken a picture at all. He’d grabbed on to the side of the airplane and was hanging on for dear life, and had dropped his camera down on the sling around his neck so he never did get a picture. So I said, “Well, we’ll have to go back up and do it over again so you can get a picture,” and he said, “Hell No, I’ve seen enough of that!”
Another flight or two that Ken went on with me – he wanted to go up and fly over the dry farms. So I got quite high over Moody creek, maybe 2,000 feet up from Moody Creek, and I put the old B T in a dive. I had it up to about 210 – 220 miles per hour, which is just about as fast as it can go, and I pulled out down in a canyon down about at the elbow, and we flew down through the canyon from the elbow up to Uncle John’s house which is where the upper road crosses. We were going fast enough that we had to do vertical banks to get around the turns. We were awful low, only about 30 – 40 feet off the ground going up through there, and when I’d do these vertical turns the wings would be down and look like they were just about down in the trees – Ken always said they were – but anyway we went on down over Uncle John’s house and then there’s a pretty sharp left turn in the canyon there and some kind of rock cliffs on the west side, so I pulled up over these cliffs, went way back up in the air, did a hammerhead stall, and came back down and went down the other way doing the same thing. Ken never got over that ride either! He talked about that for years afterwards.
On time Tom Webster wanted to go for a ride in the B T, so we went about the same route I’d gone with Ken. We few up over the Grand Tetons, real close to it, not quite as close as we had gone when Ken was with me, but Tom took some movie pictures of going over the Grand Teton and down over Jenny’s Lake and then we flew on up into the Park and went over West Thumb, then over the hill to Old Faithful. Old Faithful, it just so happened, was just beginning to erupt as we came into view, so we flew through the top of the stem cloud at Old Faithful right while it was in the midst of its eruption. I think maybe Tom got some pretty good movie pictures of that. Then we went into West Yellowstone and had a little trouble there. I missed the field the first time. The elevation is quite high there at West Yellowstone. We came in over town and by the time I had slowed down and got ready to land I was out of the runway. So I had to give it the gun and we went around and had to make another approach into West Yellowstone. That was quite an eventful trip. I’m sure Tom Webster would remember that for a long time.
The last flight that I ever made in the B T was soon after the incident at St. Anthony where the engine had quit with Seth and the two kinds in the back seat. A week or two after that Seth had decided we better quit flying it, and I had too because we were having trouble keeping it maintained, keeping the struts up, and keeping the propeller so it would shift pitch from low to high pitch, and one thing and another, so we decided we’d fly it up to the farm again. Seth didn’t want to fly in it anymore, but Opal says “Let me go in it with you,” so Ken’s wife Opal got in the back seat and I got in the front, and we took off from St. Anthony and flew up over the farm and landed on the old airport which was just a graded strip between the school house and Seth’s house and taxied up to the old Harvester shed where we shut it down and I think that ws the last flight it had ever made.
To go back a little bit in time, talking about the B T a little bit more, I was scheduled to put on the 4th of July air show, one year there with the BT and another fellow came up from Idaho Falls with another BT. I can’t recall his name. But what transpired was, early in the morning of the 4th of July, Bill had been bending his elbow a little bit apparently, and he decided to go fly; well, he went up there at the crack of dawn, up at the old airport, south of Ricks College, and fired up the B T and went for a little flight, and when he came in to land, he undershot the field, and instead of landing on the airport he landed in the hayfield to the south of it and they had cut the hay there and had the bales stacked up for or six high in squares, and he hit 1 or 2 of those bales of hay and scattered them around the field. Then he hit the ground and bounced back into the air at the same time he hit the barbed wire fence, well, he tore down about 50 or 100 yards of barbed wire fence and he had barbed wire wrapped around the propeller and he hit at least 2 posts, one with each wing, dinged up the leading edge of the wing, but the old B T just sailed through the fence and landed on the runway at the airport. SO bill shut it off and went home to sober up and never did say anything – he did unwrap the barbed wire from around the propeller. So later on that day we were going to put the show on for the 4th of July, so Seth said, “Well, I want to go with you, Ferrel.” So we climbed in the old BT and got up there and were doing all kinds of maneuvers and carrying on and flying formation with this other B T and having dog fights and one thing and another, and after the show was all over and we got landed, we found that the B T had been wrecked and had a hole knocked in the leading edge of both wings, and we hadn’t even noticed it.
SETH: All of this time that we were flying the old B T and it was giving us fits, my oldest boy, Richard, was running the tractor and doing the work, and he never did get a ride in the B T , that I recall. He was rather young, and I didn’t know that he was interested much in flying. But as it turned out, when he graduated from college, Utah State University at Logan, he joined the Navy Air Force and he went to that training and he qualified to train for pilot. So when he had passed the school, he was in Beavville, Texas, where they were going to present him with his wings. So I down to Texas and was at the graduation and pinned the wings on Richard. This is at the time of the Vietnam war was on. Soon after that they put on a big show and he was on the Coral Sea Aircraft Carrier, and they invited the parents down to San Francisco, so we went down and went out in the ocean 65 miles on the Coral Sea, and the Navy flyers put on their show for us and it was really some show! Quite an experience. Then Richard went in over to Vietnam. He was flying the A-4 off the aircraft carriers and was stationed out in the China Sea. He made something like 90 missions over Vietnam, as I recall, and made over 200 landings on the aircraft carrier, night and day, which is really something. So he turned out to do more flying than any of the rest of us. After he was released from the Air Force, he was still interested in flying and eventually was hired by Western Airlines as a pilot, where he started flying in 720’s over to Hawaii, then he went from the 720 to the 707 and flew in it and from that to the 737 where he flew at least one year up through the Snake River Valley, through Idaho Falls, and all of this time he would get me free passes on the airplanes. I had quite a lot of traveling which I appreciated – went clear over through the Middle East to Bangkok, Thailand, Hong Kong, Guam, up to Anchorage and Fairbanks, Alaska, and all over the United States, to Florida, and had a lot of traveling, which I still do here in 1982.
From the 737’s he went to the 727’s and did a lot of flying up and down the coast into Anchorage. Then he went to Honolulu in the DC 10 – was stationed in Honolulu for about two years – then was transferred back to San Francisco where at this time he is flying again in the 727’s for Western Airlines and doing a good job at it. He really loves to fly, and I’m proud of his record.
Comes to mind another experience and that was with a Lear Jet. I was home one day when the phone rang and it was Richard in San Francisco and he said, “You be down at the Idaho Falls airport at 2:00 today.” He says, “I’m giving you a ride in the Lear Jet.” I said, “Ah, I don’t know if I’m interested in it or not,” and he said, “get your toothbrush and be out to the airport at 2:00.” So I said, “OK.” Then we were out there and in came a Lear Jet. It was Richard. He was still just getting his certificate in the Lear Jet, and he had 2 instructors with him. Ones man name was Jack Steele, who was the chief check pilot for Pan American Airways. And by the way, this man told us that he checked out the pilot . . . a little bit about it, he was with me.
FERREL: Well, of course we were, I was at least, tickled pink to have an opportunity to ride in the Major Jet, and I told Richard, if he had a chance, to let me fly that thing a little bit. So sure enough here we were at about 41,000 feet as I recall, and we were down about over Milford, Utah when Richard said, “Come on Uncle Ferrel and fly this thing.” I climbed up in the cockpit and flew it about 15 minutes from Milford, Utah down to Boulder City, Nevada. I was looking at the air speed indicator, and it was reading mock .84 which I asked the Co-pilot how many miles per hour is that and he said, “Oh, somewhere around 550-570 miles an hours.” But anyway, we went on in and landed it at Orange County Airport which is now the John Wayne Airport just south of Los Angeles. Took us 1 hour and 50 minutes from Idaho Falls into the Orange County airport, and that was the fastest trip I ever made in an airplane.
SETH: So now, at this time Doug and Ferrel have a little 172 Cessna in Idaho Falls and it’s really painted up and looks beautiful and flies good. We go on trips quite often. We’ve been all over the state, and have a lot of fun in his little airplane. And also at this time my boy, Jamie Wood, has his pilot’s license and he does some flying out of Rexburg and I’ve flown with him and he’s a good pilot; and so we’ve done quite bit of flying all together.
Well, I’m still over at Ferrell’s and it’s the second of February and a beautiful sunny day at Kingman, and we’ve decided at this time now to tell a little about our boating experiences while we’re together. Mine started with when I bought a little 14 foot boat from Lowell Biddulph, who was my coach in High School. It was a nice little boat, and we did some fishing and caught quite few fish. I remember taking the family in it several times. And then one day David and I went up to Hebgen Lake with it and went across the lake into what I call Mary’s Bay, a beautiful spot and the trout were thick over there. We caught quite a number of them, but a windstorm came up from the other direction and with us in this bay was a larger boat from Portland, Oregon. I said to David, “We better get across this lake before that storm gets any worse, so we jumped in the little boat and he was in the front and I was in the back running the motor and we started to take off across the lake and got about ¼ of a mile and the waves got about 3 or 4 feet high and everyone we’d hit at about jarred him to pieces, and they were getting bigger and so I said, Let’s turn around and get back.” So we turned back and went into the bay again, and the fellow with the big boat said, “I’m sure glad to see you turned around. I’m going to be leaving here is a little while and you can follow me over in my wake.” And so in about 30 minutes he says, “Let’s go.” So he took off and we got right behind him in his wake and followed him, and David was laying in the bottom of the boat up in the front hanging on and I was in the back driving about 30 or 40 feet behind the other boat, and we were going quite fast but his boat was breaking the wave’s for us and we were coming through pretty good but was still hitting every wave pretty hard and every time it would hit a wave Dave’s head would hit the bottom of the boat. When we got across there why we were tickled to get there and we said, “Well, we can see one thing, we have to have a larger boat.” So, it didn’t do too much for fishing in the small boat and then old Jay Griggs finally bought a boat on Hebgen Lake, and he would take me up there fishing several times and we also caught a lot of fish and had a lot of fun. I remember one day we were there in November, cold as it could be and we fished all day long and caught forty real nice trout. I had to clean most of them in ice cold water. It was really cold and we had a nice bunch of fish.
And then Ferrel finally decided to get a boat because he had a place up on Palisade Lake so he got a dealership from Salt Lake City on the boat. What was the name of the boat, Ferrel? Hydroflight, wasn’t it? Hydrofly. And so he had a nice one, and took me fishing in it and when I saw it, it was so beautiful I said, “What are we going to do. I got to have one of those,” and he said, “All right, I’ll sell you one, and so he got one for me at cost as he usually does, and I think that made his dealership sales a total of two. One for him and one for me. Now Ferrel will tell you something about it.
FERREL: Well, I was in Salt Lake City and I happened to go to the boat company down there and was talking about boats and so I got real interested in a fiberglass boat down there but then I shopped around at different places and I ran into this guy by the name of Nick Nichols who had quit one of the boat companies and had formed his own company, and he was making this hydro-flight boat and he said, “Come and look at my boats.” So we went over and they were beautiful boats, they were fiberglass and inboard, outboard had the OMC drives, so right away I decided I was going to buy one of those so I bought the one and took it up to Idaho Falls and pretty soon I had taken Seth out in it, and he liked if real well so he said, “Get me one, too.” So we went back to Salt Lake and got Seth a boat, his was a nice blue color; mine was what they call a gold color. And so we did a lot of boating together after that. I remember we went up on Yellowstone Lake several times and had the two boats there and one incident I remember there I always got a kick out of was we had the two boats going down the west side of Yellowstone Lake between Bridge Bay and I think we were headed over to Dot Island and down to the South arm, but we haven’t gotten to Dot Island yet, we were still along the West side of the lake there and we decided to stop and fish. So we stopped and got out our fishing poles and we had spinners on them doing spin casting and I remember Seth standing up in his boat with his pole and he cast out there to get his bait out in the water but when he got through casting he just let go of the pole and just cast the pole and everything right into the water and lost the whole outfit. But we made several trips to Yellowstone Lake sometimes we had the two boats, Seth’s boat and my boat and one time, I recall, Bob Myer went with us and we had three boats. Myer’s boat was an outboard, had an outboard engine, it was a little bit smaller boat than ours, but we went up there and spent some time down in the South Arm and all over Yellowstone Lake and we would camp out at Cover Point, stay over night have a nice bonfire on the beach and we really enjoyed those times.
SETH: Well, as I recall it was 1967 when we bought the boats, and they were fiberglass with 120 Chevy-two engines in them, and we couldn’t have gotten a better boat for all-around lake fishing. They were so easy to move from one place to another. Ferrell bought 5 acres of land on Palisades Lake so we were up there quite a bit and the fishing was really quite good and it was such a beautiful lake with mountains so high and in the fall, in September, the leaves would turn to yellow and gold and there was never a more beautiful sight any place that I had ever seen. He had a friend that he worked with out to the site west of Idaho Falls by the name of Bud Hyatt, a fellow a little older than us that just loved to go with him, so they invited me to go up with them one time and fish and have dinner and camp out over night. So we went up and fished all day and caught several fish and then when we got hungry, we started a fire over in the, what’s the name of the creek up there, Ferrell? McCoy Creek. Up in the McCoy Basin, by Williams Creek and there’s a beautiful point and a little cove in and around behind it. So they always would go in there to have their lunch and fish. So they started the fire in there and Bud Hyatt says, “I have the best wieners in the world. Man, they’re really special, and we’re going to fix you some hot dogs.” So we made a fire and he cooked the wieners and made the hot dogs and they looked delicious. Ferrell took a big bite and the first bite he took he hit a bone in the meat in the hot dog and broke one of his teeth off. And so he named that spot Snaggle Tooth Point, and we still call it by that name. Snaggle Tooth Cove and Snaggle Tooth Point that forms the cove.
FERREL: One of the most enjoyable fishing trips I recall on the Palisade Reservoir was Seth, it occurred way late in the season. It was either late November or maybe early in December. One year Seth says, “Come on, let’s get my boat.” He had it parked in the parking lot up by the reservoir there, and he says, “We’ll go fishing.” So we went and got his boat out of the storage lot and launched it went out on the reservoir and fished for a while, and it was getting colder, the clouds were coming in. Pretty soon it started to snow, within an hour or so we were in quite a heavy snowstorm. It was really snowing you could only see maybe a quarter of a mile or so. About then was when the fish really started to bite. We were catching German Brown, as I recall, and we must have caught eight or ten of them there, within the space of an hour or so, and just snowing as hard as it could.
SETH: I kept my boat up there for many years, and the fishing was real good on Palisades.
(End of Tape #2, Side 2)
(Tape #3, Side 1)
FERREL: In the early 1970’s, I don’t recall the exact year, but I started hearing about the Friendship Cruise whereby on Memorial Day, usually the 30th of May, they open up the Green River over in Utah, and you launch your boat at the town of Green River, Utah and you float down the Green River to the confluence of the Colorado which is oh, it’s close to a hundred miles, then you go upstream up the Colorado River about 40 or 50 or 60 miles to Moab. It’s usually a two or three day trip and they make quite an occasion out of it. You leave your boat trailers and your tow cars over at the Green River, Utah, and they move them over to Moab for you, so that when you get there your equipment is already there and it’s really a nice activity and so I decided that I would like to go on that.
Someone in Idaho Falls said Dr. Reese, one of the old-time doctors in town here was one of the first men to ever go on that trip, and he’s one that helped form what came to be known as the Friendship Cruise. I called Dr. Reese and talked to him, and he turned out to be quite an interesting gentleman. He told me all about the cruise and said, “Be sure and go. You’ll really enjoy it, but you’re going to find a lot of muddy water there on that Green River.” He said, “The first time I went, the water was so muddy that when we camped the first night out below Green River, the river was just red. It’s a red-colored mud. You couldn’t see down into the water at all. We woke up the next morning and looked out across the river, and here was a coyote walking right across the river it was so muddy. I could hardly believe my eyes until his tracks came floating by.”
SETH: Well, Ferrell and I took off from Idaho Falls in his pickup with my boat trailing behind. We headed for Green River, Utah for the Friendship Cruise. We had a good time all the way down. We would sing and talk and tell stories. I’ve always enjoyed Ferrell very much.
We got down to Salt Lake and decided we needed some lower-unit oil. They warned us about Lower Unit Rocks down on the Green River. That’s one place you have to be careful in the river and not to hit the bottom or it will break all the lower units. So we pulled in and got some lower-unit oil and I remember they wanted abut $3.00 for one gallon of it and they would give us 5 gallons for $5.00 so we bought 5 gallons and had plenty of oil. We traveled on down and finally got into Green River. We were about 2 or 3 days ahead of all the rest of the boats, because they had warned us there was going to be close to 1,000 boats going down on this Friendship cruise and we wanted to get in early so we got all ready in the boat, and the provisions, and gassed up and went down to the launching place. The patrol was down there and had to check us in. They checked our boat over for safety and gave us all the rules of the float trip. They had airplanes to fly up and down the river and if you got in trouble you’re supposed to hail the airplane down. We happened to check out just fine, didn’t have any trouble at all. We had the lifesavers and all the safety necessities and oars and so forth.
FERREL: So we were maybe the third or fourth boat to be launched that time for our Friendship Cruise. They released water from the flaming Gorge Reservoir up in Northern Utah and let it go down the Green River in order to raise the water level for this Friendship Cruise. So like I mentioned before, the water is really muddy and it’s a real red color, so we launched our boat anyway and we headed down the river. Right away we found that the river was still plenty shallow; we were hitting sand bars and we were hitting rocks and so we pulled the drive unit up and Seth happened to have a push pole along with his boat and that saved the day because when we would feel the boat running aground, we would quick and get that push pole out and get up on the bow, get it down in the water. Maybe the water would only be three feet deep or whatever and we could push the boat off and get it off the sand bars and keep it going. You couldn’t tell when you were going to run in to anything cause you couldn’t see the bottom at all, the water was so muddy. We went along there and enjoyed the scenery and floated along; we didn’t even use the engine hardly except when the current was fairly swift. When we were going along pretty good, and it looked like there wasn’t any sand bars then we put the motor drive down and let it idle along just trolling speed to give us enough speed so we could steer. And if we would ever hit a sand bar we would quick and pull the drive unit up then we would just float and sometimes we would be going backwards or side wards or whatever, we would coast along there two or three miles an hour and we had a great time.
About 1 or 2 o’clock that afternoon, and we had already been on the water for five or six hours, we came to where they were going to have a gasoline stop, about 30 miles I believe, twenty or thirty miles south of Green River. We arrived at the gasoline stop and the gasoline truck wasn’t there yet, but it was so far on around to Moab that we thought we’d better wait here until the fuel gets here and get our gas tank all filled up so we’ll be sure and have plenty of fuel. We monkeyed around there and waited until 4 o’clock or so in the afternoon and finally the gas truck arrived. By that time, there had been another dozen or two boats caught up to us and there must have been maybe two dozen boats or more at this gas stop at the time. The truck no sooner arrived and got set up with their big tank and they had a big thousand gallon tank full of gasoline and people milling around it, here came a message over the radio for one of the people in the boats that there had been a death in their family and that they had to get home back in the Midwest somewhere, I don’t recall exactly where. Of course, the man who received the message was all excited and flustered and he cranked up his boat to try to get it over to the edge of the water and get it out of the water. In doing so, he didn’t turn fast enough and the bow of his boat came up in the air as he gave it full throttle and ran right into the side of Seth’s boat, up over the front and broke a hole in the windshield, broke the windshield. That caused quite a bit of commotion, but he was real nice about it, he said you get it fixed and let me know what the costs are and my insurance company will pay for it.
About then, we finally got in line with another couple dozen people and we had a five gallon gas can, as I recall, and got in line to get gasoline. The more we looked at that situation, the more spooked we became, because here they had this big tank full of gasoline out there on the ground, people milling around it, throwing their cigarettes down, lighting their cigarettes, and they’re pouring gas out of the spigot into the gas cans and we said, “Let’s get out of here as soon as we can.” As I recall, we only needed the five gallons, We filled our five gallon can and went to pour it in the boat and it wouldn’t even hardly hold five gallons. We hadn’t used very much coming that far. We finally got our gasoline and it was almost dark by then. The sun was almost ready to go down, so we jumped in the boat and took off down the river. We only went another two or three miles and then we camped for the night along the river bank in a real nice area.
SETH: We have a real nice camp and a real good place to make our fire and cook our dinner. We slept right in the boat, had it fixed up so that we had a good bed in it. Early the next morning we got up and were looking around out there to get ready to take off, and right against the edge of the boat in the dust where we’d been standing the night before was a big old cat track. It had been up there in the night smelling us. We didn’t even know it, we hadn’t wakened, but just saw his tracks the next morning. After we had our corn flakes we took off again.
We went a few miles, possibly about 15 more miles, As I recall, we went down to the Green River, how far Ferrel? “Oh, almost 100 miles,” and then here we came to the confluence of the Colorado and the Green River. Ferrel had studied it out before. But just a minute, go back up to about 10 miles or so from there, we were watching close for this lower unit rock we’d been warned about. Finally we saw over on the edge of the bank “LU”, we figured that was Lower Unit, so we hurried across the river. We were in the current going right for the rock and we hurried across the river and then we used the push pole to sound the bottom and we got by it with no trouble at all. During the whole trip, we had no trouble at all, but we saw lots of boats that were hung up and had troubles, had run out of gas, broken their propellers, and so forth.
Here we came to the confluence and right in the beginning of the Colorado River ran over a big wide rock clear across the river. It was going swift, I’d say close to 22 or 23 mph, the water was traveling down. We had to go down the river about ¼ of a mile and then start up the river with our boat. I think there was a flagman up on the point telling us whether to go or not if there happened to be a boat coming down over the slide. When we got the signal to go we gave it all the gas that it would take. We were doing as fast as the boat would go. We hit that slide and went up and just inching along as fast as the boat would run in that swift water, doing maybe about 5 mph. We finally got up over it; it was about 100 yards long. Then we were in the Colorado River, and it was pretty smooth sailing and a real nice river. We traveled along with another boat from Las Vegas so me and got acquainted with those people, they were very nice and so we went on there until lunch time, then we camped on the edge of the Colorado River and had our lunch. Here’s Ferrel now to tell us some more about the finish of it.
FERREL: well, we spent at least two days going down the Green River. After we got in the Colorado and started upstream, of course, we were running the motor steady all the time going upstream. We went a lot faster on the Colorado River, so we never did camp overnight on the Colorado River. By late that afternoon, just before sunset, we were clear up to Moab, ready to get our boat out of the water. On the way we’d seen a lot of beautiful sights along the river, the high cliffs, the sheer rock walls along the river, and the river wound around back and forth. We saw wild burros down along the bank and we looked for mountain sheep because we had heard that there were some along there, but we never did see any. We got into Moab just before sunset and the people had our pickup and their boat trailer there waiting for us and they helped us get the boat out of the water and so we finished the Friendship Cruise in great shape and we really enjoyed that trip.
SETH: We made it home safely that time and said we’d had so much fun we thought we’d like to go again. So, about approximately; how long was it Ferrel? Oh, four years later, we decided to go again. We got our outfits ready and took off again and followed practically the same route that we did the first time and got down to the Friendship City, which was Green River. The interesting part that I remember of that was that as we pulled into town there was a gas war on. Every service station that we came to had a big sign out, Forty-eight cents a gallon for gasoline and so we said, well, we need about 100 gallons of gas, so we pulled in here someplace and filled up. So when we saw the sign for the 66 Phillips Station, we said that’s a good station, pull in there and fill up. So, we pulled in and there was a happy fellow there, think he’d had a few drinks the way he smelled, but he was real congenial and nice so we told him to fill her up. He filled it up with nearly 100 gallons of gas and then we went to pay him and he says, “sixty-five cents a gallon.” We said, oh my word, every place has a sign up for forty-eight cents a gallon. We said, well, this is our initiation to the Friendship Town. We had to pay him and we gave him the money for the gasoline and he rushed right over and locked the service station up and headed for the liquor store to get him some more booze.
FERREL: Anyway, we got our boats in the river and we went on the Friendship Cruise for the second time. We didn’t have nearly as good a time as we did the first time because we were a little more used to it and we didn’t think they treated us quite as well this time. They didn’t have as good a crew at the launching dock and they didn’t have near as nice of facilities over at Moab when we got there. We did go around the second time, and we still enjoyed the scenery and had a good time. But the first time was the best.
SETH: So this pretty well concluded the trip on the Friendship Cruise, and we decided we would go over to Lake Powell while we were that close, so we packed everything and took over to Lake Powell to Bull Frog Landing, where we launched our boat and went up the lake from there and traveled possibly 15 to 20 miles at least, it seems to me. We came to what Ferrel was looking for which was the great bend of the San Juan River, and he knew where there was some good bass fishing there. We pulled in and started to fish and right away we caught fish and had a real good time enough fish for our meal and then we found a nice place in a cove to camp there. We tied the boat up against the edge of the bank and had a good camp there.
That night I remember the moon was full and not a breath of air, it was really a beautiful night and we told stories, one thing another well we got tired and went to sleep and the next morning when we got up there again right in our tracks to the side of our boat was cat tracks of some kinds. It could have been linx and bobcat, but they never did bother us and so from there we headed on back down. Here you go Fudd, you tell....
FERREL: Actually, the San Juan arm just mentioned by Seth was down stream from Bull Frog Basin. You go downstream almost to the Rainbow Bridge and then you go up to the great bend in the San Juan arm. During this same trip, we went upstream from Bull Frog landing toward Height (Hite) Crossing, and we found a large bay about 20 or 25 miles upstream from Bull Frog and we caught a lot of nice fish there and really had a good time and camped over there. We also took the boat clear up to Height (Hite) Crossing, which is the upper end of Lake Powell where the river runs in. The main problem up in Height (Hite) Crossing was, we started running into driftwood maybe 10 miles below Height (Hite) Crossing and at times the driftwood, the debris coming down the Colorado River into Lake Powell just covered the whole surface of the lake. We would have to slow way down just kind of push our way through it. Nome of it was very large; we never saw but just a few big trees, but there’s a lot of small trees and limbs and sticks, they’d be maybe 6 or 8 inches in diameter. They were large enough that you couldn’t go at any speed at all, you had to just work your way through them.
SETH: And so this pretty well concludes the trip on the Lake Powell, and we loaded the boat and headed for home, had no particular thing happen on the way home, except I remember stopping in the mountains just before we got to Wellsville, Utah and had us a nice campfire and cooked us a dinner there. Then we went on to Wellsville, and we went up to the cemetery in Wellsville and visited the spot where our father and mother are buried and also our sister Ruby. At this time I don’t think Mary was buried there yet, but today she is along with father and mother and Ruby.
FERREL: At about the same time in the early 1970’s we got into the snow machine business. Snowmobiles. I had a little old red Rupp snow machine and Seth had a Ski Doo as I recall. The first time I recall going snowmobiling with Seth, was when we were above the dry farm and there were 2 or 3 other machines with us besides Seth and I, I can’t recall who was there at that time. We went up to Graham Hollow and in the open fields there just at the head of Graham Hollow, there was maybe three or four feet of snow, a lot of snow and it was real light and fluffy, soft. And I remember we were stopped on top of one of those hills and I took off down the hill as hard as I could go. The snow was so light and so fluffy that the snowmobile was sinking down and the snow was coming up clear over the windshield and I could hardly even see where I was going. I went down the hill and when the hill leveled out at the bottom I started to cross the flat. I only went about 2 or 3 hundred yards and pretty soon the snowmobile just slowed down and stopped, the track was still going full speed but the machine just wouldn’t go because the snow was so soft. Here came Seth along the side of me and he went a little bit further than I did and he was stuck, couldn’t go any further. So the only way we could get the sleds to go was we’d turn them around in the tracks and head them back on our own tracks and then they finally start to move and we’d get going then we could go back up our tracks. We got back on our tracks back up to the top of the hill and within an hour or two we had the whole area beat down and tromped down to where they would go in great shape there. We had great times up there around Graham Hollow, and in that area we would stop at noon time and build a bonfire and cook wieners and tell stories and jokes and just have a great time.
I also remember one time Teddie and I were snowmobiling and we had snow machined from our dry farm house up to what we call Inspiration Point, about 2 or 3 miles east and way up on the mountain above our house. Still in the farming land and just before we got there, I saw a coyote up on top of the hill ahead of us. I took after the coyote fast as I could go. When I got up on the hill, he was still in sight. I chased him and was just about to catch up to him, he jumped over about a ten foot snowdrift and into a patch of Quaking Aspen trees. I went on around the quaking Aspen grove and just as I got to the other side, he came out into the open again, so I followed him as fast as I could go and caught up to him just before he got into the big dry canyon and run right square over this coyote with the track of the snow machine. As I went on past, the thing jumped up, the track just pushed him down in the snow and he jumped again after the machine had run over him and just took off again and got into the canyon and got away from me. Then I went back on to Inspiration Point where I met Teddie and we turned our machines off and we were just sitting there admiring the view. It was a beautiful, clear, crisp day and we could see the ranch house way down below us and the farm and all. All at once we heard a jet airplane. It sounded awfully close, but we couldn’t see it. We listened, it kept getting louder and louder and all at once it broke into sight. It was below us, over just coming out of a low spot and went right across in front of us – two jets, Navy fighter planes. They headed right straight for our farm house, making a dive on it. When they got down to the farm house, they just about took the roof off of the sheds, went right on west over Rexburg and on out of sight. I said, “I wonder if that’s Richard.” Later on in the day, when we got home, he called up from Hill Field, Utah and said he’d been up there with a buddy of his in their jets and had flown over the farm house. So that was Richard that surprised us that morning.
SONG: Duet – SETH & FERREL – “Springtime in the Rockies”
When its springtime in the Rockies, I’ll be coming back to you. Little sweetheart of the mountains, with your bonny eyes so blue. Once again I’ll say I love you, while the birds sing all the day. When it’s springtime in the rockies, in the Rockies far away.
Now it will be FUDD singing “Deep Purple Dream”
“When the deep purple falls over sleepy, sleepy garden walls and the stars begin to flicker in the sky; through the mist of a memory you wander back to me breathing my name with a sigh. In the still, still of the night, once again I hold you tight. Though you’re gone, your love is on, while moonlight beams. And as long as my heart shall beat, you always be with me, here in my deep purple dream.”
SETH: Singing, “You Light Up My Life”
“So many nights, I’d sit by my window, waiting for someone to sing me her song, so may dreams, I kept deep inside me, alone in the dark, but now you come along; and you light up my life, you give me hope to carry on, you light up my days and fill my nights with song. Rollin’ at sea, adrift on the water, can it be finally I’m turning for home, finally a chance to say hey! I love you, and never again to be all alone. For you light up my life, you give me hope to carry on, you light up my days and fill my nights with song. It can’t be wrong when it seems so right, for you, you light up my life.”
FERREL: “Oh, she jumped in bed then she covered up her head, then she told me I couldn’t find her. But I knew damn well she’s lying like hell cause I jumped right in behind her.”
SETH: “Rootie, to-toot, her tail flew up, a fly flew in and the hole went shut.”
FUDD: “There a couple of little gems for you.”
SETH: Going back to Lake Powell, I mentioned the night when the full moon was up, it was so beautiful and so clear and we even saw satellites passing over. Then we also found what we later discovered were moon flowers, they were a lily-type flower and they only blossomed in the full of the moon. They were at least 6 inches across in diameter, and in the center of them were 3 or 4 little stems coming up that must have been part of the blossom or flower itself. As you would flash the flashlight down in it, they would cast off a green color, and they were really beautiful.
Had many nice trips with Ferrel, like he said, one I especially remember is where he and I and one of his friends named Vic from Idaho Falls went up to Henry’s Lake snow machining one day and we went on around to Raynold’s Pass where we unloaded the snow machines and started up the top of the Continental Divide right on the line going toward the south. Hadn’t gone over half a mile and old Vic hit a rock that was just barely covered with his snow machine. He was standing up, leaning up high on it, and the snow machine jumped straight in the air and the top of the windshield hit him in the mouth and gave him a nose bleed or mouth bleed. So we had to stop and doctor him up and get him well, put some snow on it and get it stopped. We went on right up the Divide up until we got right over the top of Henry’s Lake. We could look down on it, which was a beautiful sight in the winter, and as far as you can see was pine trees and snow and so forth.
Then it flattened out behind us and from there going into Montana down to Elk Lake, through the rolling hills and canyons was just a beautiful place, and we’d have snowmobile races, etc. I remember Ferrel going around as fast as he could go in his snow machine and he always had more fun than anyone else, he’d whoop and holler and go as fast as he could.
Next we lost track of Ferrel and so we followed his tracks and finally found him where he jumped over a snow drift abut 10 feet high. As he was in the air headed down into the snow below, he jumped off his snow machine, and the snow machine went into the snow head first and he went in feet first just to the side of it. His snow machine was practically buried completely and all you could see of Ferrel was his shoulders and head sticking up out of the snow drift. So we had to go down and dig him out of there and get him back on the snow machine. Then we went just a little further toward the west and found us a nice dry tee, where we broke the branches off and made us a good camp fire, roasted our weinies and buns and had a nice hot dog dinner and a real good trip.
Dick Komes, who is managing Muir Roberts Potato Warehouse in Rigby and who has bought our potatoes as long as we’ve been raising them, is a great snowmobiler. I never saw anyone that loved snowmobiling as much as he does. He also has been real good to us with our potatoes, taking care of them and always been more than fair with the prices. He had just been a life saver several times for us. When we get into trouble he goes up and takes care of the potatoes and can’t say enough good about Dick and how much he has done for us in the potato business.
He is a great sport in the snow machining too. Now I remember one day especially, I took them up to Mount Sawtell above Henry’s Lake on to the south side. They also had some of his men from Muir Roberts that would always go along, too, and it seemed like when Dick would get into trouble they would rush over there and help get him out, just real fun! I took them up on Mount Sawtell, got way up on the east side of it, I suppose, maybe the north. When we got clear up to the end of the trees, or the tree line, which was 9,000 feet approximately above sea level, I knew of a canyon up there so I took them over and showed them this canyon that ran right up to the eye or the forehead of the old Indian at the top of Mount Sawtell. It was a snow slide canyon if I ever saw one, so I told them I’d stay out of that ‘cause it’s too dangerous. It was late in the spring too and they said, “Oh, that’s just the place we’ve been looking for,” so they would go up this canyon as hard as their machines would go and get way up there and then turn and it would be so steep, if they’d stop their snow machines would tip over and roll over and over down the mountain. So they had to keep up some speed. I went up as far as I wanted to go and about 4 or 5 hundred yards was far enough to suit me and then I got down and got back into the trees and I said, “I’m not taking a chance on that canyon.” But I couldn’t get them to leave it so they just kept snow machining and going higher and higher each time and then they’d come straight down and do about 60 miles an hours, level off down at the bottom of the canyon kind of on to a flat there about at the edge of the trees, and then they’d climb again and old Sam, who works for Dick, got up there once and went to turn and his snow machine had slowed down too much to make the turn and it started to roll and it rolled over five times before it stopped. He was sliding off to the side of it but he got along all right. But I was tickled when they left that place and came down and hadn’t had any snow slides out of that mountain.
Then another time, Dick Komes took a group of us from Rigby and Ferrel was with us and we went up past the Taylor Mountain Ski Hill and up the South Fork of Moody and then on up to Red Butte where I shot lots of elk earlier times that I may tell about later. Then when you get on top of Red Butte you’re on top of the mountain there and you can look all over. It’s just beautiful there in the winter time! Then as you drop off on the east side of that, you go down into Thousand Springs Valley and there was about a foot of loose snow at that time so we could go down the hill all right, but we were afraid we couldn’t get back up and anyway we went down to Thousand Springs and that’s rolling hills with Quaking Aspens. Ken claimed he used to ride the horses in there looking for our horses in the summertime when we needed to get them down to help with the harvesting. There was a lot of game in there, you could see a few deer and elk down in the lower canyons. And we ran around this big basin with lots of springs and creeks in it, and Ferrel would always have the most fun. He’d go around a snow drift standing up on the side as hard as his machine would go then down again, and Komes just had a great time all the time. Then we’d have our lunch again.
Coming back out Ferrel was the only one who knew the way to begin with which was through a pass through the heavy trees down lower than the top of Red Butte. It would take us over to Hilton Creek and then get us back on to the trail going back up to Red Butte. He would have to work his way through the pine trees, and he would know right where to go to get to the top of the pass, so we would all follow him single file. Every once in a while we’d scare up a big moose and he’d run off through the forest and then stop and look at us. Of course, most of the elk in the wintertime were down lower.
One time, when David came home from his mission and had been home a short time we decided to go snowmobiling, and he said he wanted to take his ski’s so we went up to Henry’s Lake and on up to Raynold’s Pass on the north side of the lake, both of us got on one snow machine and took his skis along with us. We went up the mountain until we got clear to the top above Henry’s Lake on the Continental Divide, then he got on this skis. It was open country and rolling hills and big valleys. I tied a rope on to the back of the snow machine, and I started pulling him; man, we’d go down those slopes a mile long, pulling him and he could go by himself ahead of me and then when I’d catch up to him, because he would get to the bottom and he stopped sliding, I’d grab the rope again and we’d go up the mountain on the other side. It was a beautiful day, and we had so much fun. Then we found a big cornice up on one of the ridges and I’d pull him up under that and down he’d go and then he’d let go and he could glide down the mountain for well over a mile, a mile and a half. I would follow him down and then go again. Pull him up and he’d swing back and forth like you do when you’re being pulled, and he got way out to the side and, boy, my machine started skidding sideways and so I called to him quickly and said, “Don’t tip me over,” and so he got behind me farther so it wouldn’t tip my machine over to the side.
We stopped for lunch right by a survey post on the top of the Continental Divide where there was some ledges of rocks sticking out from under the snow. After we had lunch and were sitting there in the sunlight, why, he started digging on these rocks and they were about an inch thick and in layers and he would pry them off. So he got a screwdriver and started prying this ledge to pieces looking at the rocks and he found in between the rocks, ladybugs and there were at least 500 of them in between that rock. No life at all in them and they were at least 8,000 feet above sea level and must have been there all winter. They must have been frozen, but I never did know if they came back to life or not. Sometime we’ll have to look it up and see, but it was quite something to find these ladybugs hid up there between the rocks all winter.
Another time, James and I went up the same place snow machines. We each had a snow machine, took off up the Continental Divide above from Raynold’s Pass. It was late in the spring, but it had been an awfully cold night and the snow was frozen hard as ice. Of course, I didn’t put my helmet on and we had gone up about a mile above there, and I came around a pine tree and went to turn the snow machine and it started to shine. I was doing about 20 miles an hour, I suppose, and it got around sideways just shining on top of the snow sideways like on the ice, then all at once the track caught and over went the machine and I fell off and went on my back and my head went down and cracked that frozen snow and, man, I could see stars! I couldn’t get up for about 5 minutes, Jamie came and helped me up and finally things started getting pretty clear, but I found out the necessity of wearing a helmet while you’re riding the snow machines that time. Then we went on up the mountain and found a big huge snowdrift hanging out over the ridge and we would ride as hard as the snow machines would go up this snow drift – it must have been 50 to 75 feet high – and get up as high as we could and then turn and go down, man, you would go fast, and we sure had a good time. We had a nice lunch that day, too.
(End of tape #3, Side 1)
(Tape #3, Side 2)
SETH: (Singing. . . .) “Ramona, when day is done you’ll hear by call, Ramona, we’ll meet beside the waterfall, I kiss you, caress you and bless the day you taught me to care. Do always remember the rambling rose you wore in your hair. Ramona, when day is done you’ll hear my call, Ramona, we’ll meet beside the waterfall, I dread the dawn when I awake to find you gone. Ramona, I need you, my own.”
(Singing . . . song is repeated.)
SETH: (Playing harmonica, “Ramona.”)
Well, I’d like to go back to the snowmobiling rides again for just a few minutes. I went up to West Yellowstone once after I came back from Hawaii in the spring. I was alone, so I decided to go up to Two Top Mountain which was off to the southeast of West Yellowstone, about 10 or 15 miles. So I got unloaded in West Yellowstone, went out the trail toward Two Top and went about 10 miles and finally I came to this place where the trail went down into the canyon, the railroad came up through the canyon too. This was the particular day they were opening the road into West Yellowstone along the railroad track with the rotary snow plow. So that’s why I wanted to get there so badly, but I didn’t dare go down this trail for fear I wouldn’t be able to get my machine turned around to get back up, it was quite steep. So I decided to give it up and I turned around and started back for West Yellowstone and went about 2 or 3 miles back toward West Yellowstone and ran into a friend of mine, who was Bob Smith, so he asked me to turn around and go with him, he’d show me the way in there, so I turned around and went with him and he took me right down into the bottom of the canyon and after we got to the bottom went up the canyon towards Ray’s Pass. Went another mile or a mile and a half and pretty soon we ran onto the train coming and quite a group of people there waiting for it and watching it. It was throwing the snow out of the track and just moving along about 3 or 4 miles per hour real slow at least. It threw the snow way over in the canyon over top of the trees and down into the river. It was really a beautiful sight. So, after that was over I went back to West Yellowstone and stayed there at the Executive Inn overnight, had a good night’s sleep and got up quite early the next morning and decided to go over to West Yellowstone. So I took off on my snow machine. It was quite cold, and I was the first one down the trail. I traveled out there abut 24 or 25 miles. Altogether it was 34 miles to Old Faithful from West. I came to the last geyser basin which was about 8 miles from Old Faithful. The trees wouldn’t grow in the geyser basin so they were along the edge of the road, and the law was you were supposed to stay in that trail and not get off of it for anything. So I was in the trail going along and here was three buffalo, laying in the trail in front of me, so I pulled up within about 50 yards of them and stopped. They just lazily got up and started meandering around a little bit and so I’d give my machine a little bit of gas and go just a little closer, so they started moving off the road toward the left side where the herd was out there about 200 yards. When they got off the side of the road I thought I could go by, so I gave it the gas and went to go by and I spooked the old bull and the calf, the buffalo that was there, and down the trail they went as hard as they could run in front of me. They ran for about 150 yards, and then they stopped. The calf went some distance further, and the old bull he turned around in the trail and looked at me for a few minutes, all at once he shook his head three times and here he came as hard as he could run, charging me back down the trail! Well, I knew I couldn’t sit there and I didn’t have time to get off and turn my snow machine around, so I gave it the gas as hard as I could and when I got up speed on the snow machine and was just about to the buffalo, I turned off to the right hand side into the open space, and the old buffalo went past me and I went past him out to the side just a little ways. I never did look back to see what he was doing! I was watching to close to see that I was going to get out of there without running into any of those soft warm creeks and sinking down into the snow, and then being stuck. If I had done that I would have been in sad shape with that old buffalo mad at me. Then I had to go nearly down to the timber past the geyser basin to get around the little young buffalo who just stood in the trail there watching me, and I got back into the trail about 60 yards past him. Then I took on down the trail for Old Faithful as fast as I could go.
That afternoon, on my way back I stopped at Madison Junction and there was a ranger there I’d talked to on the way up in the morning, so I went and started talking to him again and I said, “Let’s see, what are you supposed to do when a buffalo charges you?” And he says, “Start to Pray!” And he says, “Did that happen to you?” And I says “Well, I dassen’t tell you what I did, it’s against the law.” And he says, “Nothings against the law when a buffalo’s after you, you get out as soon as you can, any way you can.” So he was pretty nice about it. This happened in February 1978. I made one little mistake earlier in this, I said I was leaving and going to West Yellowstone, but I was leaving from West Yellowstone that morning going to Old Faithful. That situation was very “Adroit.”
I also was acquainted with Glen Anderson, in Ashton. We had played basketball against one another in high school and I hadn’t met him for many years. One time I was down in Arizona and we called up my friend Walt Green over Kingman and they had invited us over to their country club dance, dinner, so we left the Quartzsite and I suppose this was about 1967 or 1968 and went over to Kingman, and met Walt and Lois Green, and Glen Anderson was with them. I remember we went to the dance the night and had a real good time and a real good dinner.
Glen Anderson and I were quite friendly after that and also did some snow machining together. I remember going with him one day up to Aspen Ridge, near Mount Sawtell in Island Park. There were about six of his friends from Ashton, and we unloaded our snow machines there and headed for Lakeview over in Montana, through the Red Rock Pass into Centennial Valley. That was quite a trip. We’d go fast as we could, seemed like we were always testing our machines. We rode over to Lakeview and stayed there for some time, had our lunch there. It’s sort of a ski resort, and you could go up the ski runs. There weren’t many people there so they allowed us to run up them. We would go up the runs with the snow machines as hard as we could and then when we would get on top of the mountain and then we would come down. It was a really great sport. Then I remember the race we had from there back to our pick-ups on Henry’s Lake. We’d go as fast as they could go. It seemed like there was only one speed and that was wide open! We made that trip in a real short time. I always enjoyed being with Glen.
I also remember going boating with glen Anderson and Ruth, up in Yellowstone Park and we were staying in the big hotel at Lake Junction and I had my boat at Bridge Bay. We got in the boat, went out on the lake and headed for the South Arms, following down the shore close to the highway quite a ways until we got near to Frank Island, which was way out in the middle even nearer to the Southern edge of the lake. And then we’d cross the lake to there and then go over into the South Arms where there was good camping grounds as Ferrell has said before, and we fished and had a real good time. Caught numerous beautiful cut-throat trout, then we would have them cooked at the hotel, have our dinner, which was really nice.
Also I remember Walt Green and his boat, boating with him on the Jackson Lake. One time we were out catching the mackinaw fish over in Moran Bay. A big storm was brewing up over the Teton Peaks, but we kept watching it because we wanted to get back to Colter Bay, where we had our boat anchored. The fishing was so good, we wanted to stay as long as we could, and just about that time I looked down ahead of me, coming from the other way was a little canoe with two people in it. So I kept fishing toward them and they saw me and headed toward me, and it was a man and his wife from over in Colorado and they were new at the lake, also canoeing and fishing. They said, “Where’s Elk Island?” And I said, “That’s it way out in the middle of the lake.” And they said, “We’re heading for it, we’ve came clear from down North of Colter Bay this morning.” That was about the middle of the afternoon or 2 o’clock and he says, “How far is it over there?” And I said, “It’s a good three miles. You better not try it, because of those clouds up over the Teton Peaks. They’re going to break loose any minute and when they do this lake is going to be awfully rough.” And the lady in the boat says, “Well, I’m tired too. I don’t think I could paddle clear over to there.” And I said, “I believe the best thing for you to do is pull in here into this little cove and take your boat out of the water and have your lunch and rest up and when I leave here I’ll give you a ride back over to the other side but I won’t be able to take your boat.” So in about 15 or 20 minutes after that, here came Walt Green and Lois in their boat. Teddie and I were in our boat, and the two boats went to pick up these people. I got the people in my boat and Walt Green put their little canoe on his boat and we headed across the lake. We went fast because it wasn’t rough yet, but that old cloud was starting to come down off the mountain. And when we got to Elk Island . . . we decided we better not leave them there even, so we took them on over to the main shore where they were only about a mile from Colter Bay and left them there so they could paddle along the shore and the wind would take them into shore if it did blow and they could get out. The lady couldn’t thank us enough, she says, “I just never could have made this trip.” So within less than an hour the wind was up and the storm was up and there was 6 foot waves on that lake, I’m sure they never would have made it in that canoe that day.
Another time, only about two years ago which was around 1980 or “79, I was up on Palisade Lake in the boat early in the year, fished up out of Alpine, went down the river into the lake and the fishing was really good. Oh, I caught about 15 fish and most of them were 18 inches long. Down around Snaggle tooth Point. Then I noticed the storm clouds coming up the lake so I decided to head for home, I got up the lake all right. Right into the edge of the Snake River just above the Salt River, the storm hit! It started blowing and snowing even from back down the lake. I had to slow down to go through the debris that was floating in the river, looked ahead and there was a little boat over there with four people in it, about 200 yards from me. The wind was drifting them into the shore, and the shore was real steep. They couldn’t possible have gotten out if they drifted in there, and so I headed over there as fast as I could, which wasn’t very fast. I got to them just as they were about maybe 100 yards from shore, boy, they were really wet, cold and excited and they said their propeller had quit, and the pin had sheered off and they had no power, they were just drifting! They had no oars to row with and they were drifting into this high bank where the waves were about three feet high. I’m sure it would have filled their boat with water right away and I couldn’t see anyway for them to get out. Anyway, they threw me a rope. I tied it on the back of my boat and started up and got them straightened out and just started pulling away from the edge of the shore. They were less than 50 yards from the shore where the waves were beating real hard. Their little boat was only 8 to 10 inches above the water. If they had drifted against the shore, the waves would have gone over the top of their boat, so I pulled them up and under the bridge about half a mile. They all climbed into the harbor. There were sure tickled. The lady says, “She sure wasn’t going fishing again in that boat, and she sure was tickled I came along.” It was a man and his wife and two of their children from down in Utah around Salt Lake, I think their name was Caldwell.
And now I would like to go back to my childhood days for a few more instances I remember. About the first thing that I remember was in a house there in Rexburg I could just reach up and get a hold of the table top. Mother was setting the table and I pulled myself up and look over the edge of the table. She had a large glass bowl of peaches on the table which were really beautiful, I remember that. She was a lovely lady, took care of the children very well, and had not too much to do with either. I remember the old stove in the house was a coal stove and a wood stove, then when we would go to bed, we’d go into the cold rooms upstairs and lay there and it was really cold.
I remember one day too that I was abut 8 years old I suppose, my mother got me on her knee, was holding me tight and said, “you’re such a little boy to come into this world, I don’t know what’s going to happen to you,” she says, “but I sure hope you aren’t like the big boys and start smoking these cigareets.” She called them cigareets. And the thing that she didn’t know was that I’d already been smoking and I had my packages of cigarettes hid out in the barn, and I’d go and try them out all the time; but this kind of got me when she said that. So I said, “Oh, I wouldn’t smoke mother.” And she says, “Oh, but you will when you get big like the big boys and then you’ll start to smoke.” And I said, “No, I won’t smoke.” And I always remembered that and so I never did take up the habit of smoking and I am real tickled. Everyone that I see now and I tell them that I never have had the habit of smoking they can hardly believe it, and they say you’re sure lucky, we’ve been fighting it and we have an awful time trying to get over that habit.
About that time, I would just love to go with my father up to the dry farm and we’d have to fix fence. I remember, along the canyon out west of the house one day, we’d always have a gun with us, a little .22. It was a .22 short; it would only shoot short shells. We were out there in the grain in June, it seemed to me like. Fixing the fence and I looked out there and the rabbit jumped up and ran out into the wheat field and stopped and dad says, “There’s a rabbit, do you want to shoot him?” And I says, “Sure do.” So he showed me how to get the gun ready and I think this is the first time I ever shot, and I leaned on the barb wire fence against the post, gotta good aim on the old rabbit, shot, and got him sure enough. That sure tickled dad and me too.
Then I would keep pestering him wanting to shoot at something, so he said, “Well, all right. Here is your chance to shoot.” So he took his hat off and had an old hat and he threw it in the air and I shot at the hat and, by golly, I hit the hat and knocked a hole right through the middle of it and he thought that was pretty good shot too.
And then, on the hunting, etc., I remember Ken was always real good to me, and I remember him bringing me from Rexburg cartons of .22 shells and I would just hunt rock chucks and squirrels up and down the canyon. I got so I would spot those things a quarter of a mile away, and sneak up on to them without scaring them and then I had so much shooting at them that I got to be quite a good .22 shot.
Then one day I remember, as I was about 12 or 14 years old, I had my horse and I was up the Moody Canyon about 2 or 3 miles up above the Jeppsons’ and was coming back down the canyon and all at once I saw a rock chuck up on the rocks so I got off my horse, got down to get a shot at the rock chuck. Something frightened him and he went out of sight, and I looked around and there was a great big, what I though was a bobcat, in the sagebrush, right to the side of me. I was so scared I jumped on my horse fast as I could and then I looked around again and it was a huge, horned owl, a great big night owl. It sure was a pretty thing, but I thought for sure the bobcats had me.
Another time, Dan Hoopes was a friend of mine, and we were up at the dry farm, decided to go to town with Ken Wood in his Model A Ford Coupe as I recall it, and so we had this gun in the car with us and as we got into what we called “the lane,” over just leaving Moody Canyon headed for town, there I spotted something out in our field, and I said, “What’s that out there?” And Ken said, “That’s a deer.” And it’s the first deer we had ever seen down on the dry farms. I was about a freshman in high school. So the deer went ahead of us following in the field down along the fence, and so we followed behind it trying not to scare it too much. As we neared the west end of our field where it was fenced it, why, the deer stopped and turned broadside. Ken said, “Shoot him now.” I had the .22 short was all it was, so I put it out the window of the car and I got an aim on the deer’s head and raised it up about 3 feet above that because he was about 2 or 3 hundred yards away. I shot and the old deer, dropped right therein his tracks. He went down, and I hadn’t hit the deer in the head but it just bone, right in the small of the back,hit it right on the back
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The next morning after we’d slept all night, we took a quart of water with us and started walking up the mountain. By the time we had walked up the mountain about a quarter of a mile, we were give out and all of our water was gone. We had just come to a little fork in the canyon up a big canyon. So we sat down there. I had my gun across my lap and he laid his down to the side of him and we were sitting there resting, and all at once I looked over there and there were three deer not more than 50 yards from us, not even that far, maybe 30. So I said, “Be right quiet now because there’s some deer.” So he held still and I got my gun up and got a good aim on the deer. I shot and I missed them completely and the deer started jumping in the air. They didn’t know where the shot came from. Herman grabbed his gun then and they started jumping toward us; they’d jump high in the air and didn’t travel very fast. They’d just keep jumping in the air. Finally, they came right toward us, and one of them took a jump and went right over the top of us, like shooting ducks, but we still didn’t kill the deer. Then when they got running away from us, we finally started hitting them, and we got three deer – and then we had an awful time!
We were trying to get the deer down to camp. Now I remember the name Oscar. He was the fellow who lived down at the bottom where we camped. We got a ridge pole, went back up the mountain, and put the old deer on the pole and the little one in with it and we carried the two deer down that mountain. It was steep as hell! We had quite a struggle! We left one small deer hung up in the tree, after we cleaned it and then we told Oscar when we got down the mountain that we’d got into the deer and he says, “Yes, it sounded like a regiment of automatics up there.” And so we said, “Well, we got you a young deer up there.” And he said, “Boy I can use it. I need some right now.” So he went up and got the other one, and we were tickled that he did. That was quite a deer trip!
Sometime in the 1940’s around 1945, there had grown to be quite a herd of deer and elk in the mountains above our dry farm and they would come down in the summer time in the wheat fields and we would often times see them.
I remember the first elk hunt that I went on with Ken Wood and Irvy Woodmansee. We went up to Hell’s Hole, which is east of the farm up at the top of the mountains, a beautiful spot. Had our guns and our lunch with us and left our car on top of Hell’s Hole rim and went down the trail into Hell’s Hole. After we had been walking down this trail about half a mile, I heard some rustling in the trees just near us and I said, “There something in there.” And they said, “Bears it’s a bear.” And so we watched real close and we’d hear them once in a while, but we couldn’t see them. Finally, I looked up the mountain and I just saw a small bear, a big sized cub, running as hard as it could go up the mountain, just throwing the rocks back down. That’s all we ever got to see of those bears. There was an old one with at least one cub but they got away from us.
So we went on down Hell’s Hole, and it’ really a rough, rugged canyon, beautiful! It was very rocky, especially on the west side. The view was thrilling as the beautiful, blue Spruce Pine trees stood stately on the horizon of the divided between Hell’s Hole and Devil’s Gorge.
On the way back, we got within about three quarters of a mile of the top where our car was, and I looked up on the mountainside and I saw this animal go out of sight into a little draw. I said, “There’s a big roan cow up on the hillside about 250 yards above us here. It’s going to come out on the point there in a second or two. They says, “It’s an elk, it’s an elk!” So I got my old 30-40 Crag. I knew right where it was going to come out into sight. Got down on my knees and had an aim on the ridge and sure enough here it came. A beautiful bull elk right out onto the point of the ridge. It stopped there and looked at us. I already had my bead on it so I shot down the elk. That’s the first elk I ever got in that area. We sure had a time getting it out of there. Had to go home after cleaning it out and get a horse and we all went back up and loaded the elk on the horse. It took a long time getting up that trail. It just about worked that poor old horse to death hauling that elk up out of there but we really thought that was something when we got it.
Another experience I remember with Hell’s Hole was with Ferrel, my brother, in the old BT when we were flying in. We flew up from Rexburg and went right over this saddle in Hell’s Hole from the west and headed down into the canyon. We would have only been, say 75 feet, above the car where Ken and I and Irvy Woodmansee left the car and then he dove right down this trail where we walked into the canyon and I was hanging on in the back seat. It was early in the spring, and I could see the bear tracks back in the snow on the north slopes over in the draws in Hell’s Hole Canyon. It looked like we were going to run right into the mountain on the other side down at the bottom of the canyon. But as we neared it, we were doing quite a few miles per hours. There was Burns Creek, and he made a turn to the right, followed down Burns Creek, and went right out onto the South Fork River. And that was really some dive in the old BT airplane!
At about that time, in the late 40’s or early 50’s, there were lots of elk up in the mountains. You could go up and see them nearly anytime. I remember going up there one fall in September. Garth Nelson was helping me on the farm and he was with me. We got up on the road to Red Butte and stopped the old jeep and got out and listened and we could hear three elk bugling. One big old bull, not too far away, could run right up and down the scales on his bugle; and then there was two young ones in different directions, and they would answer him. They were new at bugling because they couldn’t run the scale the way the old one did and so I said, “Well, that big old elk isn’t too far away. I think I’ll go after him, see if I can get him.” So I took my gun which was by then a 270 with open sites. And so I worked down, went down around through the trees and got the wind coming downwind from the elk to me and I could tell where he was because he’d bugle about every five minutes. So then I’d sneak a little closer to him and finally I got up what I thought was pretty close to him, and I kneeled down on my knees in the brush and the trees. I couldn’t see him there. Finally, all at once, he bugled and I’ll tell you, I never heard such a loud noise in my life. He wasn’t over 15 yards from me, and he bugled right at me. That’s the most frightening and weird noise I ever heard in the forest and at the end of his bugle the saliva gurgling in his throat would really make you thrilled with the sound of wild animal. So I got buck fever and I still couldn’t see him but if I would have had to shoot him then, I couldn’t have because I was shaking to hard. But I listened and I looked and I still couldn’t see that thing through the trees and brush there. But finally I heard something. I listened and it was this big old bull elk eating. Each time he’d take a mouthful of grass and pull it off I could hear the grass tear off. So I watched real close and finally I saw one of his horns moving back and forth each time he’d take a bite of grass. And that’s how I knew it was him instead of a tree limb and I could see a little opening just ahead of where he was eating. I was getting calmer all the time. I thought I could shoot him by then. So I got my gun up to my shoulder and I was waiting for him to come out into this opening and he just got started out into the opening and then he turned around and he started to work back into the heavier timber but he had his head down right between two trees, I could see his neck between two pine trees which were about six inches apart. So I got an aim on his neck and fired and boy the old elk jumped and ran and turned, whirled and ran and I ran out to where he was standing when I shot and it was kind of a flat on that side of the brush and I could see him and he started to circle around about 70 yards, 50, 60, 70 yards up through the timber and then he was running broadside to me through more open timber. So I got my gun up to my shoulder and saw where he was going to come through the timber ahead. Just as he started in the opening I shot, He stopped. He didn’t fall, but he looked at me and when he saw me, he started coming toward me and I couldn’t figure that out. Then he was still, and then he started to falling and he was down on his front knees and his hind legs were still under him and he was falling toward me and I looked at his eyes as he got near and they were ebbed with fire and the hair was standing up on the back of his neck and that’s when I realized he was charging me. So, I knew I had to get out of there quick. I jumped back in behind some trees and just as I did he fell dead about ten yards from me and right in the opening where I first shot him. I cleaned him out, and we had a big job getting him out. We had to get our jeep down in there to load him up and when that elk was cleaned out, there was 600 lbs. of meat on him and I only had one shot in him and that was in the throat. The first shot I had shot cut his throat and he had just bled to death running around in this circle. I hadn’t even hit him with a second shot. I found out then that a wild animal will charge you when they’re being attacked.
Another time I was with Bill Wood. We used to have a lot of good trips together. I really enjoyed Bill. We were friendly all the time and worked together and helped one another and I can’t say too much for Bill because he was always willing to drop his work and go help anybody that needed it. He was a good mechanic and he often times kept my machinery running for me when I couldn’t get it done otherwise. But anyway, about the time when the elk were so many up in the timbers above the farm, why one fall Tom, Herman and Bill and I went hunting pheasants out in Mud Lake. Early in the morning, we left at daylight, went out to Mud Lake and
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(Tape #4, Side 1)
In 1954 Bill and I and Tom Webster and Herman Zollinger went out to Mud Lake early in the morning at daylight to hunt pheasant, and it was real good pheasant hunting in the area at that time. We hunted for about two hours and had our limit of pheasants. I think that was six birds each. We went back to Rexburg then, but it wasn’t even noon yet so I said to Bill, “Let’s go up above the farm and see if there is any elk in the lower mountains. So we got in one of the jeep station wagons and went up to Moody creek and crossed it and went up toward Red Butte up through Moody Swamps and Moody Meadows. As we got up higher, we ran into about six inches of new snow and while going up the old Jeep trail, we crossed about four elk tracks. They seemed to be going about the same direction we were so we continued on in the Jeep for a ways and they crossed back across the road toward Jensen Creek. I said to Bill, “Well, why don’t you let me out and I’ll follow these elk tracks. It looks like they’re going down into Jensen Creek and you go back with the Jeep and get on the old Jeep trail that goes down Jensen Creek to the end of it, and I’ll meet you there.” So we left one another, and I followed the elk tracks. I went about half a mile, I suppose, and came out on the rim of Jensen Creek through the trees and out into the open. I just happened to look up the canyon where there was another smaller canyon running into Jensen Creek and across this canyon, I saw an elk. I ducked back into the trees and it didn’t see me. Then I worked my way toward the edge of the canyon toward the elk in the snow and I had my 270 Winchester with open sights on it. Finally I got out near the edge of the rim of that canyon, which was about 350 yards across. Then I spotted the elk again on the rim of the canyon. The elk was feeding in what we called Buck Brush and so I laid down under a big pine tree in the snow and got a good prone rest with my rifle and waited until the elk-turned broadside to me and then I had a good aim on him and fired. The old elk just jumped and went out of sight, didn’t fall, but I thought I had hit it because I had such a good aim on it. At this time a smaller elk jumped up right where the other one had been standing. By this time I had my gun loaded again. The elk had its head way in the air trying to figure out what had happened. He had his tail right toward me so I thought I’d better get this elk because I’m not sure of the other one, so I got an aim on its tail and then raised the gun about a foot and got a real good bead, held the gun right steady and pulled the trigger really easy. It fired and hit that elk right in the back of the head. He really went down. Then I knew I had one so I started to walk across the canyon to clean it out. It was getting a little toward evening and I was just going down into the canyon and looked down the canyon about 100 yards and there was another cow elk standing in the Quaking Aspen. I didn’t want to bother with it because I knew I had one. So I went up and searched and I found both elk. The first big, nice one had only jumped about 5 yards and then fallen dead and the other one had been hit in the back of the head so I had a big job on my hands; but at least I was headed down toward Jensen Creek where Bill as supposed to be. I hurried and cleaned out the elk – I must have done it in about 30 minutes – and laid them on their backs and propped them open so they would air out good. Then I started down the canyon at a quarter angle up the canyon but still down into the bottom because I knew about where the end of the road was. When I got to the end of the road, Bill was there in the Jeep. He said, “Well, we can’t get those two elk in this Jeep. We’ve got to have help. So we went back to Rexburg and called Ferrel and Tom Webster. Then we took the two Jeeps and went back. It was evening by then and we had to find the elk with flashlights in the snow. It turned out to be 15⁰ below zero that night. It was about the middle of November. It was a beautiful night; the moon was out some and with the help of the flashlights we could see where we were going. We had ropes and put them around the elks heads and all of us drug the elk down the hill to the Jeep which wasn’t too bad a job. The elk were only up there less than half a mile –- between a quarter and a half mile. So we got them taken care of.
There was a place in Wisconsin called The Sports Toggery, if I remember right, and they made elk hide jackets, so I sent these two elk hides back to them and they tanned the hides and made me a good jacket.
Later on a funny incident occurred concerning this elk jacket. David was about 12 or 14 years old, and we went up to Lynn Morris’ Service Station to visit with him. It was after dark, and we were in visiting with Lynn when in came a great, big buck Indian. He was big, and he had been drinking and was pretty drunk. He asked Lynn if he would call the cops to come and get him and take him over to the jail house so he would have a place to sleep for the night. So Lynn called the policeman to come and get the Indian, but while we were waiting in there the old Indian started mumbling to himself and siding up to me, and he saw this elk hide jacket. He would get hold of the elk hide on my arm and say, “My elk hide, my jacket.” I’d say, “No, no, not yours. It’s mine.” He’d say, “You lie, you lie. That my elk.” I was trying to keep out of an argument as well as I could, but soon the policeman came and he went with them to get this night’s sleep in the jailhouse. Just after he went out of the door; David who had been standing there as quite as a mouse all this time, started to laugh as loud as he could. He about fell down on the floor and pretty soon he said, “Daddy, that Indian told you, you lied to him.” He thought that was really something funny.
I kept the elk hide for quite a number of years and finally my daughter, Teddie Lue, came from Washington D.C. to visit me. She spotted this elk jacket, and it wasn’t much too large for her so I gave her the elk hide jacket. I think she still has it.
I always loved to go hunting and fishing with my boys, and when Richard was old enough to go and get his first license, we went hunting geese at Mud Lake. It happened to be right close to Thanksgiving time, and when we got out there, we went down near the Lake in Mr. Owsley’s field and there were the geese in the stubble field about 500 of them. We tried to sneak up on them but they all flew out on the lake so we got in the ditch where they were and put up our decoys. We got the decoys up and stayed there about 20 minutes when the geese began coming back over there from the lake into the wind. The wind was blowing very hard. They only came back about 12 in a bunch and they flew right into these decoys. The wind was blowing so hard (about 30 mph I think and awfully cold) that they would stand still in the air right over these decoys. We would get a good aim on them and usually get two or three of them with the first shot and man, they would turn their wings into the air and go downwind and be so far out of range we’d hardly ever get a second shot at them. But Richard got his first goose, as I recall, at that place, and maybe Tommy Webster too. I don’t remember for sure. But when we quit shooting we had 16 geese and 28 mallard ducks. That was really quite a duck and goose hunting trip!
I’ve hunted out in Mud Lake at different times, and I remember one day that I got five different species of game birds – quail, pheasant, ducks, geese and sage hens – all in one day. I don’t know of any other place that I’ve ever been that you could get such a variation of game as there was there, and they were quite plentiful in those days.
Now, getting back to Richard and Hunting. We went after deer soon after that up above the farm in an old Army Jeep I had at that time. As we got up near the head of Graham Hollow and headed on toward Mud Springs (we hadn’t left the timber yet) all at once Richard said, “There’s a deer out in the trees.” So I stopped and sure enough there was a nice, big black tail deer. He got his gun, stepped out of the Jeep, and got a rest on his knee, got a good aim on the old deer, and he shot; and down went the deer. He was sure tickled. He got the deer in one shot, and that was his very first deer.
One time about the time Richard started college, we went hunting elk up in the lower mountains on the south side of Moody Creek up to what we called Huckleberry Peak. After driving up there as far as we could, we walked and finally came around the mountain just meandering along very slowly; and all at once we heard a noise coming around the mountain toward us. It was making a loud noise every time it hit the ground and pretty soon it came in sight and it was a beautiful, young bull elk with about two points; and he ran broadside to us then across the side of the hill. We both raised our guns and shot, and down went the elk. Richard, I think, hit the elk; anyway I doubt if I did. But it was a beautiful thing and we had a real nice hunting trip.
One time I met Richard at Leadore, Idaho when he had been over to Salmon City with the football team. We had decided to go hunting out of Leadore so when he got there we rented a little, old white cabin to sleep in and the next morning we got up early and went up to the Bannock Pass up on top where the railroad used to come into the Lemhi Valley, and then we took off to the left-hand side (north side) in our Jeep. There the mountain flattened out, and it was really beautiful. The deer were just thick up in there. I remember Richard went by himself and got in a real good spot and finally spotted the deer, got a shot; and got a nice, big deer there.
It wasn’t too long until Richard went to college and then Jamie came along. We loved to hunt too, and we had many good hunting trips together. It seemed though that about every time I went with Jim I would get arrested for something. We had quite a time anyway. I remember one time we went out to Challis. Jamie had an antelope permit, so we hunted antelope all day in the Persimerhi Valley and then we were going to challis to stay that night. We got over near Challis and decided to take a back road into Challis. We just went a little ways when Jamie said, “Stop, stop.!” So I threw on the clutch and the brake and the car stopped on the edge of the road, and he jumped out and ran around to the back of the car. He could see a fox running out through a hay field so he raised his gun and shot, but he didn’t hit it. About that time I looked around and there was the game warden’s car right in front of me. I asked them what they wanted. They said, “That doesn’t look very good for him to be shooting off the road.” I said, “I didn’t know he was going to shoot. He just yelled stop, and I didn’t know what he saw.” They said, “Well, we’ll have to take you to court because it is quite a job to fine Jamie, so we’ll arrest you for contributing to the delinquency of a minor.” So I had to go to the judge, and rather than fight the thing and have a lot of trouble; I had to pay a fine to get out of there. But anyway, we had a lot of fun.
Another time Jamie and I went hunting up to Island Park at the opening of the deer and the elk season. We stayed at Island Park Lodge. The next morning we got up real early and went up to Moose Creek Plateau in the Jeep. As we went up the mountain to get on top, through Ray’s Pass, the snow kept getting deeper and deeper and finally nearly on top and the snow was a good foot or a foot and a half deep. We came around the bend and there was a man in the road there. He said he was sure tickled to see us. He said he was the sheriff from San Joaquin County in California. “We’re up here stuck with our camp and our truck. We’ve got to get out. We’ve been there four days and we’re about running out of food. Nobody has come along.” So we started to take him up the road, and all at once a deer ran across the road in front of us. We’d jump out of the car and shoot at the deer, but didn’t get any. Pretty soon more deer would cross the road, and we’d jump out and shoot, but they were headed for Montana because the hunters down below in the valley and Island Park had scared them and they were headed for safety. Finally we got to the top of the hill and there was this nice, big camp and his outfit. We told him we’d be around, and we’d help them get out. He said they had to go get some groceries. We went hunting some more, but didn’t get a deer that day. They had invited us back to dinner so we went back to camp. It was really some camp – a beautiful thing! They must have had a chef because he certainly could cook. He had cooked wild duck and wild rice and we had a wonderful dinner with those folks. We hooked onto their truck and pulled them down the road out of there, and they went after groceries, and chains and things that they needed to travel back into their camp.
After we left there, we went back along the Snake River. We crossed the dam on the north fork of the Snake River. They call it Henry’s Fork now, at Pond’s and then went down the west side of the river and got into some real good looking area over there, and we were going along real slow and finally we spotted a deer right off to the side of the Jeep. Jamie said, “There he is. I want to get him.” So he opened the door and he got out and leaned on the Jeep, got a good aim on the deer, and he really made a good shot and got the deer. This was when Jamie got his first deer. We had many good hunting trips after that and still do. He takes me now. He and David bought me a new black powder rifle for Christmas a year ago, and Jamie takes me in his 4-wheel drive and we’ve hunted the elk and had a lot of fun.
It wasn’t long until David got old enough and wanted to hunt so we would go. I remember that we had had one or two chances for David to get a deer, but he missed the deer and he was feeling bad about that. So one time we went out to Leadore again, and on top of the mountain there where Jamie and Richard had gotten their deer, we had hunted quite a while through the day time. Finally in the afternoon we came to a real good canyon where there used to always be deer and so David was just on the edge of the rim of the canyon and I was down in about 50 yards walking along and pretty soon David spooked two deer. He didn’t get a very good shot at them, but they kept on going ahead of him in the canyon. It was sort of a box canyon. We followed them, and finally we came around a little bend and there they were up in the end of the box canyon in a snow drift. There was snow all over the ground, but they were standing in a clearing in the snow. I said, “There they are. You get them.” He shot, and I’m sure he hit the big one, but the little one started to run down hill so I started shooting at it. It was on the run and I couldn’t hit it, but the big one just stood there. I’m sure it was hit, but it didn’t fall down so I got aim on it then and David did too. We both shot at the same time and that time the deer went down. Then we had to drive the Jeep around the canyon to the opposite side and went down and drug this deer over to the Jeep and looked at it, and it had been shot practically in the heart twice. There were two bullet marks and they weren’t two inches a part, and still that deer could stand up after David had shot it the first time. We cleaned it out and took it down to Salmon City and that evening Lee Peterson took us out to dinner. We were at the restaurant having dinner and Lee was questioning David about the deer and David said, “Yeah, I finally got my first deer, but then, I’m not exactly sure, you know. I still wonder if dad didn’t shoot that deer and tell me that I shot it. You know, he’ll do those things just so I’d have to use my deer tag.” Lee got the biggest kick out of that. He thought that was really something that David was thinking that maybe I had shot his deer.
In about 1952 I remember going out to Salmon City to hunt with Lee and Vaughan, Lee’s brother. We went in my car up the Salmon River and hunted that day. In the afternoon coming back about 10 miles before we got to Salmon City, we were right along the Salmon River and we looked across the river and there was an old bear just coming out of a canyon and starting to cross a shale rock slide. I said, “There’s a bear.” So I stopped the car and jumped out and the old bear was walking across the slide and I got an aim on it and shot. Sure enough I hit it, and down he went rolling just like he was dead. He went out of sight into the sage brush into the bottom of the slide. We went back up the canyon about a mile and a half to a place where Burnhams lived and they had a cable car across the river. So I said, “Well, I’ll take my knife because we’re going to have to skin that bear.” Vaughan said, “I’ll take my rifle and so we crossed this cable car and got on a trail going down the edge of the river on the opposite side where the bear was. We walked the mile and half and we recognized the slide when we came to it, but we didn’t see the bear. We were inching through the sagebrushes real cautiously wondering where that bear was. All at once we heard him in the sagebrush only about 10 or 15 yards from us. It was groaning and moaning and making a noise. We got down in the brush, and Vaughan said, “Man, if that bear ever gets scent of us he’s going to attack us.” I didn’t even have my gun. I had my knife. We stayed really quiet and pretty soon we’d see the old bear’s feet. He was laying on his back, and he’d reach up and get hold of the tops of the sagebrushes with his feet and pull them down. I guess he was biting them, perhaps he was in pain. Vaughan and I watched for about five minutes. Finally the bear stood up and we got just a glimpse of him so Vaughan fired and the old bear went out of sight into the bushes. It was starting to get toward evening so we decided we had to find out about the bear because we knew we had to get out of there before long. Vaughan inched up by the bushes with his rifle where it went in the bushes and finally he saw the old bear and he shot it again, but it didn’t even move. IT WAS DEAD! He had hit it right in the head when he shot and it really went down. Then we skinned the bear and threw the hide over our back and carried it back the mile and a half across the cable car to Burnham’s house. Mrs. Burnham was out there to meet us. She saw the bear and she said, “Man, that’s sure a beautiful bear you got there. I would sure like to have that.” So we said, “Well, as soon as we get through with it, we’ll bring it out to you someday.”
I took the hide to Rexburg, but it was Sunday and I couldn’t take it to Idaho Falls to Frank Keefer to be tanned until the next day; so I took everything out of the refrigerator at home (everybody was at the dry farm, so that is how I got away with that) and put the bear hide in it to preserve it. Two days later I took it out of the refrigerator, and the odor was so bad I decided I better get someone to clean it. Janice Madsen, a teenager who helped with the children sometimes, came and really worked to get the odor all out. She said she had never worked harder. She did such a good job that no one even knew about it until years later when I mentioned it.
Frank Keefer tanned the hide and made a beautiful rug. It was down the basement of my home in Rexburg until the flood (June 5, 1976) came. That was the last of the bear rug.
Another bear story was when we were harvesting wheat one fall. Jack Hoffman, one of the best boys I ever knew – He was Richard’s age and he worked for us for five years and stayed on the farm and was just like one of the family. He and Spence Hockstein, another of Richard’s friends, were helping with the harvest. One day it rained, and we couldn’t harvest so the three of us went up into the timber hunting and looking for berries. When we got up into what is called The Bear Hole on the south side of Moddy as far as you can go with the little jeep. We had had to clear out the road some but in the bottom of this hole, there are large Quaking Aspen trees probably up to a foot or a foot and half in diameter. There are may initials cut in these old trees, some as far back as 1890 and a lot of them in 1904, 1905, etc., so it is a real interesting place. But anyway there were two canyons that split there. One was a shallow canyon, but it run right parallel to a deeper canyon so Spence and Jack took their little shotguns and went up the little canyon. I had a 257 Roberts and I went up the big canyon where the main trail went. I went real slow and only went about a quarter of a mile from the Jeep and there was a big, old bear about 60 yards from me. It was up hill from me in the Quaking Aspen eating under a log – I suppose after ants and bugs. I thought, well there’s the bear, I guess I’m supposed to shoot it; so I got a kneel on one knee and got a good bead on what I thought was exactly its heart. I pulled the trigger and the old bear let out a loud roar and made an awful noise, and then it started to run – right straight for me. I couldn’t believe that. I thought to myself, I don’t know what he’s running this way for when he has every place else to go. But everything was happening so fast! I got my gun loaded, but he was running as fast as he could and remember he was only 60 yards away. He was running on all four feet and he would go over to one side on one jump and the next side on the next jump, and you know he could do that in less than six seconds. Quickly it went through my mind that I couldn’t shoot him again when he was running that fast and moving from side to side, but I’ve heard that they don’t see too well so I’m just going to hold still here. I was down just as low as I could get on the ground with my knees under me. When the bear got about 20 yards from me, it started to turn off a little bit, and I thought, oh, boy, I’m glad of that so I held right still and it ran right passed me, so close that I could have reached out and touched it with the barrel of my gun. But it didn’t see me or smell me either. It was also wounded and as it went by, I could see that it was bleeding really bad. After it passed, I stood up and fired again, and it fell in the weeds right close by. I didn’t know whether it was dead or not, but two of my shells had been fired so I hurried and loaded my gun again. I was imagining there were bears all over the canyon and they would be after me; but I was waiting in the weeds to see if the wounded bear would move. I knew that sometimes they will play ‘possom. Soon I heard a noise across the ravine from me and I looked up there and here came two young bears. They were pretty good-sized cubs, and they came right down close to me and close to where she was in the grass and then they climbed up a tree. They climbed up that tree in a hurry, but I didn’t want to shoot those little bears. I didn’t even know there were any little ones around when I shot the big one. They started making a noise and it sounded like they were saying, “Jack, Jack” in a course sound – it sounded something like that; and I kept watching for more bears to come behind me. Still the old bear didn’t move. Soon I heard a noise coming down through the brush on the little side of the little bears; then I saw Spence and Jack. They were running up to the tree where the little bears were, and they were starting to aim at the little bears with their shotguns and I said, “Oh, don’t shoot the little bears, they’ll be all right.” They said, “Oh my gosh we’re glad to see you. We thought the bears had you.” I said, “I’m glad you’re here too. But I’ve got the old bear in the weeds right there ahead of me, but I daren’t go up and look at her for fear she is playing possum. Spence then rushed right up to where the old bear was and he looked down at the bear in the weeds and reached down and opened her eye with his fingers and looked in her eye, and he said, “She isn’t dead. Shoot her again.” I didn’t quite believe it, but I shot her in the back of the head again and she didn’t even move. Then we had a bear on our hands. They said, “By darn we were up the canyon about a quarter of a mile, and we were sitting there eating huckleberries. They were really good” – there were lots of huckleberries in there at that time – “and all at once we heard two shots. It sounded like they were right together practically” – that shows how fast the bear got to me. And they said, “Well, he’s shot an elk or something because it sure did hit something. So let’s eat huckleberries here until he gets the elk cleaned.” They said they were still eating huckleberries and in a few minutes they listened and they could hear these little bears up in the pine tree there calling what sounded like “Jack, Jack, and Jack Hoffman said, “The bears have got Seth and he’s calling to me. Let’s go!” They ran down the mountain and found the little bears, and that was a very interesting experience!
Going back to 1939 on an elk hunt, I was invited by Lyman Hemert to go to Teton Basin and go elk hunting with Art and Elmer Rammell. When we got there, they were ready to go. They had a bobsled and hay on it and their tent, and a wood stove in the tent. We had our sleeping bags and everything we needed including provisions. We were going up along Bitch Creek toward Coyote Meadows. When we left their place we went north I suppose in the bobsled. It was just before Thanksgiving, and there was about a foot of snow down in the valley. It seemed to me that we crossed Bitch Creek where a railroad track crossed it and then we started up the ridge along the north edge of Bitch Creek (I think it was north). It was a beautiful area up there, and finally we ran on to the game warden from Idaho. I had met him before. He used to live in St. Anthony; I’ve forgotten his name now. But anyway, he checked our licenses and we went on. We had a few drinks and were feeling pretty good so when we got to the top of the ridge on Bitch Creek that was the Idaho line and the Wyoming line was beyond, but we just kept going right on into Coyote Meadow which was in Wyoming three miles. It was getting dark then so we made our camp already there and the Rammells were acquainted with them and introduced us. They were the Beard boys. There was old Billy Beard, and he had four sons and they were hunting in there. They were real old timers – -good hunters and had good horses so we had a good visit with them and finally we went to sleep and in the middle of the night, we heard the horses neighing and pawing around and some moving. We didn’t get up or anything, but the old timers got up and checked the next morning, and there had been a pack outfit come down the trail out of probably Curnard Basin down into Coyote Basin and on into Idaho. They said, “I bet that is old Dick Egbert’s outfit.” We saw some blood trail and so thought Dick Egbert had got his game.
Then we decided we better pull our camp and go over the Idaho line to stay so we did that and there was about a foot and a half of snow there and when we got down to the valley we found it had been 35⁰ below zero while we were up there. We would go out hunting and Lyman and I would take turns going with one of those good hunters, Elmer or Art. There were plenty of elk tracks there. I had an old 20-30 Krag Army rifle that my brother Johnny had bought for $5. It had been cut down and had sides fixed on it, but I hadn’t shot it any so I didn’t know where it shot. I was usually the one to seek the elk, and every day we would get into some elk and I would get a shot at them, but I couldn’t hit them. Later I found out that the rifle was shooting three feet high. When Thanksgiving Day came, Art and Elmer left Lyman, and I at the camp to do the chores, and wash the dishes, etc. after we got all of our work done, we took the horses down to Coyote Meadows to water and we had to lead two of Ramrell’s work horses that had pulled the sled up there. They told us not to try to ride that big, long-legged bay. He’s never been ridden. He’ll really throw you off; he bucks like everything. So we got down in Coyote Meadows and watered the horses and stayed around there a while and talked and finally Lyman said, “I think I can ride that old bay horse.” So I said, “If you want to try, I’ll snub him up to my horse and you can try it.” So we got the bridle on it – no saddle – just bareback. We got him down in a kind of ditch and I snubbed him to my horse, and Lyman patted him on the back for quite a while and finally slipped up on him and just got his leg over on top and the old horse got a big hump in his back. I can remember his back was humped up at least six inches. Lyman just sat there on the horse, and we just waited. We were all ready for that horse to explode any second. The old horse didn’t do a thing and neither did we. Nobody said a word. Pretty soon Lyman let a chuckle out of him and I started to laugh; the old horse let his ears up from laying them straight back on his neck. We both started to laugh as hard as we could, and the old horse looked around at us a little bit and then let the hump go down out of his back, and he just stood there and seemed to be enjoying us laughing. Pretty soon I took a step with my horse, and he took a step; then I started to lead him and he just walked around and he never did buck and after that he was a good riding horse.
Anyway, we got back to camp and we crossed some elk tracks on the way back to camp in the deep snow, so we decided to go after the elk and so Lyman and I trailed the elk for a long ways. After a while we ran on to the Ramrells, and they went with us and then we would take turns tracking this elk in the snow. We had been tracking him all day long and finally we came into a little opening and there was the old elk over there about 150 yards from me. I saw it first; Lyman hadn’t seen it. So I got an aim on it and this time I lowered the old 30-40 Krag down to about his knees and fired. The old elk jumped a little bit and you could tell he had been hit, but he didn’t fall down and he walked off into the trees. We followed him and Lyman was in the lead and went about 100 yards and there was the old elk standing up still, but he didn’t seem to know anything. He just stood there and looked at us, so Lyman shot him and killed him. Then the Ramrells came up and we dressed out the elk and decided to take it back to camp. Art and I were supposed to take it back to camp and I had a large gray work horse that he was letting me ride. We didn’t have a saddle, so we put the rope around the elk’s neck and a half hitch around his nose and then tied the rope to the horse’s tail, just so it would barely lift the elk’s head off the ground. Art went in the lead and I was following him and he was breaking trail. He headed for the rim of Bitch Creek. We were in between Conant Creek and Bitch Creek and we drug this elk for a long time. The old gray horse just seemed to keep going in the deep snow and didn’t seem to get too tired. The elk was pulling pretty good. After about an hour we came to an open spot and there were some tracks. We went over to the tracks and Art said, “Somebody has been dragging an elk through here.” They were going in the other direction, crosswise to the way we were going. So we followed it a little ways and finally we found where we had been before. It was our tracks we’d found. So we were lost with the elk tied on the tail of the old gray horse. We left those tracks because we knew they would just take us around in a circle.
We went another direction and finally after most of an hour, we came to three girls on horses. One of them was a Niendorf girl from Drummond, who had married Gale Green from Pocatello and when we told them my name, she said, “Oh, I know you. Gale Green always talks about you and when you used to play basketball against one another.” He played for Pocatello High School and I played for Madison High School. We asked them where our camp was – where Bitch Creek was and they pointed out the direction to us and said, “You go right through there, and you’ll come to it.” We followed their directions and finally hit the rim of Bitch Creek; then all we had to do was follow up the sled tracks that we had made a few days before to our camp. We were glad to get back but so was the old horse!
(End of Tape #4, Side 1)
(Tape #4, side 2)
Sometime near 1970, Dr. Brown, George Brown, who is my nephew, Jenny’s boy, had moved to Idaho Falls, and set up a practice there. He is a dermatologist, and we would go fishing and hunting sometimes. So we had planned a deer hunting trip up above the farm. He came up from Idaho Falls really early in the morning, quite late in the season. There was snow on the ground above the farm so we took my four wheel drive and went up east on Moody Creek and started hunting in the fields. We saw deer tracks, quite a number, and we followed two of them I remember across the field, went into a field of Quaking Aspen, but couldn’t see where the tracks had come out of the grove. We drove the jeep clear around the Quaking Aspen grove. Never did see the deer tracks come out. So we got in there and hunted all over, and we never did get those deer to jump out of the brush.
They were hid in there so good some way that we couldn’t move them.
So we were working on up toward the timber and finally got up to Moody Creek and I said, “Well, let’s go on up to Lost hatchet Trail.” It’s the trail Bill and Tom Webster and I had named because we lost a hatchet on it east of Moody above Mud Springs. So we got up as far as we could go in the jeep and then we had to walk. We walked up the trail and there was about six inches of snow, and it kept getting a little deeper until it got nearly a foot. By the time we got up there, about two miles, we hadn’t seen a track in the snow of any kind and we were coming up on the ridge into an open flat with sagebrush on it and just about at the edge of the timber. We were still in the timber, looked out in the flat, and I saw something a little brown out there. I stopped, called to George; he came over to me and I said, “That looks like elk hair to me.” I had my scope on my 270 then. He had a 300 Savage and so he looked and said, “No, I don’t think it’s elk hair. It looks like a piece of brown tree stump to me.” I looked again and said, “Well, I can see the folds in the skin. That has to be elk there, I think.” So were talking there real quiet. Finally one of us broke a little twig off a Quaking Aspen tree and the crack made a slight noise and the old elk raised its head off the ground. It was a huge bull elk, a beautiful thing. He raised his head up off the ground, and we were sure surprised. I says, “That’s an elk!” And George say’s “It sure is.” I said, “Go ahead and shoot him.” “No,” he says, “I’ll miss him, you shoot him.” So I got a good aim on him, leaned on the tree, aimed right at his head, shot, and sure enough the old elk keeled over. So we started to walk toward the elk and it was struggling. We kept going fairly close to him and finally the thing got on his feet again; and I knew by then, from my past experience, that it was time to shoot him again. So I shot him again and down went the elk. George and I were surely elated!
I never knew there were such animals in this forest so close to home. I didn’t dream they were so big and beautiful. So I said, “What are we going to do now? Here we are in the deer season and the elk season closed; we got this big old elk here.” So we started to clean it out and finally got it finished and he said, “I don’t know what to do.” And I said, “I don’t know either. So let’s go on back downtown and think about it.” So we went downtown and I thought all night. I couldn’t figure out how to get that elk because I knew there was a lot of deer hunters up there and game wardens, too. Early in the morning I got up and went up to Thell and Mary’s Café. That’s where all the boys would meet to tell stories and have their coffee. And I got in there, talking to the Wilmores and a whole group of them. Finally, one of the Wilmore boys says, “Well, the bull elk season opens this morning.” And I says, “Where?” He says, “Every place.” And man, I jumped up and took off and I guess they knew something was wrong with me. SO I went over and I called Jay Griggs down in Idaho Falls and I said, “Check with the Game Department and see if elk season is open.” And he called back in a few minutes and he says, “Yeah, the elk season’s open.” What a break! So I says, “Well, come on, we’ve got one and we’ve gotta’ go get him.” So Jay says, “I’ll be up there in 35 minutes.” Sure enough, here he came. So we went up that day, he looked at the elk and he said, “Boy, that’s a beautiful thing. I’ll just drag that thing down the trail.” So, he grabbed hold of its head and went to lift it and he could hardly even lift its head so we knew we had to do something else; so we went back home again and then decided to call some college boys so we got six of them and a big long rope. Jay stayed at my house again that night and then we took the boys and left the next morning, went up and tied the rope around the elk’s neck and looped it around his nose to lift its head up out of the snow, and in single file we pulled it down the trail. It was quite sight! A real beautiful day, plenty of snow, and the boys had a good time and so did we.
At the other end of this beautiful flat, which is about 50 yards wide and 200 yards long, with sagebrush and Aspen trees along the edges and pine trees up the mountains, stood a tall, beautiful, stately pine tree with lots of limbs and huge branches. Oftentimes I have seen game lying under the huge branches of this tree, mostly deer and moose and that’s another story, but I’ll have to tell it:
This was when Jamie was quite young and he and I were up in this area, and we came to this same big tree. So I says, “Jamie, you climb the tree.” He says, “All right, I’d like to climb it.” So I went out in the flat and was watching for game. Pretty soon he called to me and he says, “Dad, look, this is high. I’m way up high in the tree.” I looked over and he was about 30 feet up the tree and I said, “Oh, that isn’t very high. Go on up.” So I went about watching for game and in about 20 minutes he called, “Dad, I’m up at the top.” My goodness, I looked up and there he was clear in the top of that pine tree and I’ll bet it’s over 100 feet tall. He was so tiny it was really funny, but he worked his way down and got down okay. So we named it Jamie’s tree and some years after that I had a board carved with Jamie’s name on it and then we took it up and nailed it into the tree. I was there just last fall again, which was 1981 and the board is still in the tree with Jamie’s name on it. So it’s really a landmark in that area.
Another time when Jamie was about 12 years old and Ferrel lived in Idaho Falls (I think he hadn’t been there too awfully long), and Ferrell had a little Volkswagon Beetle, so we decided to go hunting geese and elk up in Island Park and Jamie went with us. We had Ferrel’s rifle and also our shotguns. And so, we went up to Pond’s Lodge and crossed the dam again and down the west side of the river clear down to the Railroad Ranch and then we hiked, with our boots on, out on to the Goose Islands in the river there where the geese were often time plentiful. We stationed ourselves and waited for the geese, and no geese came, and go geese came, and finally it got dark, so we gave it up. Didn’t even get a shot at a goose that day; so we went back out of there and got the Beetle and started back up along the river through a little old trail on the west side of the river and got out just coming into a flat and had our lights on. It was pitch dark by then. And right out in front of us walked four head of elk across the little trail. So I said, “Whoa,” Ferrell stopped and I took his 270 and just stepped out the door and I could still see a nice, big cow elk in the sites so I got a good aim on it, shot and the old elk started to fall and then didn’t and then walked on a ways; and so we got the Beetle and went ahead about to where they were standing and then made a circle out around. There she was, still out in the grass, laying down. So I got the gun out again and got a good bead on its head this time and shot and killed the old elk. So then we were stuck with an elk over there, and we worked hard for at least an hour, hour and a half, cleaning the elk and loading it up on that Beetle. We got some Quaking Aspen limbs to put in the bumper. All of us had to lift as hard as we could to lift the old elk on to the back end of the Beetle and then put its feet up over the top, put a long chain down to the front bumper and bound it up with a limb, made a binder and pulled it up tight. Then we went out of there and crossed the dam, got back out over to Pond’s Lodge and from there on the elk season was open so we were okay. We got down to St. Anthony and had a flat tire on that Beetle, but we got it fixed and on home with no more troubles. We took a picture of that, had it on my movie camera but during the Teton Flood the pictures were destroyed.
In 1980 I went back up to Camas Meadows and up in McGary Canyon where we had the mining claims at the time Dad took sick. I checked over the old mining claims and the tunnel had fallen in, caved in, and the old cabin that we built in the early days had a pine tree fallen right across the top of it and smashed it down practically flat. The Forest Service had gone in and built a beautiful road right up one side of the canyon and down the other side through the old mining claim. They had sold the timber to someone and built a road for them to get the timber out. So I thought, “Well, no one has taken up my claims and they’re still here, so I think I’ll restake them.” So in 1980 I restaked the same mining claims that I had and we were working on in 1936, when we lived in the tent when Dad first took sick. It’s still beautiful and the pine trees are so tall and huge, I hate to see them cut them. I guess they’re going to, but now they are still beautiful and majestic.
I worked pretty hard to stake out those claims, started to clean up the cabin, and clean the tree off that had fallen on it. I got some help from the farm who went with me, and finally we got that pretty well done.
I was sitting talking to Jason Wood one day, that’s Jamie’s boy, my grandson, and he was about 7 years old, pretty close. So I mentioned the gold mine to him and he says, “Boy, I want to go up to that gold mine. I can’t wait to get up there.” So I said, “All right, let’s go up since the sagehen season opens in a few days and we’ll go to the gold mine.” So he couldn’t wait to go. So finally when the sagehen season opened, why we took our guns and all of our things and went up to Camas Meadows and up to the gold mine, and he really thought that was pretty.
It has two little creeks running down out of two canyons out of the big high mountain, and they come together forming one other unnamed creek. And right in there is where we dug for the gold. So he says, “I want to pan for gold.” So, I had a gold pan and I got the pan ready, and I showed him how to pan for gold. He finally learned how to pan pretty good to about the fourth pan that he was working on in this little creek, why, when he wasn’t watching, I slipped around and dropped a dime, a 10¢ piece in the gold pan with the dirt. So he started to panning it and washing the dirt off with the water and finally got down to the bottom and he called out, “Hey, Seth, I’ve struck the gold. It’s a dime.” And he was really tickled he found a dime in the gold pan. So we had a real good time then.
We went home that time and then about 3 or 4 days later, why, we decided to go hunting the sagehens again. So we went back up to Camas Meadows and we hunted and hunted and finally got way out in “no-mans Land” and here a sagehen jumped up right to the side of our little truck that we were going through the area with. It only flew a short distance and then it landed. So we got out and I got the gun ready and cautioned him not to get ahead of me so I would shoot him and to stay right behind me. I only walked about 15 steps and a sagehen flew up right beside the both of us and I shot, and I missed that sagehen clean as could be; but another one jumped up just a little further and I shot and I killed it dead. And then a third one jumped up and I shot and knocked it down but it didn’t look like it was dead, kind of winged. So we rushed up to search for it, couldn’t find the sagehen and finally Jason says, “I have to go back to the truck.” So I says, “Well, okay, you go ahead down to the truck and I’ll look for these birds for a few minutes. So he got down by the truck and all at once he called, “Hey, Seth, here’s the sagehen running through the sagebrush.” And I says, “It’s the wounded one, run and jump on it. Run and grab it. Dive in the sagebrush and get it.” He said, “No, he’ll bite me and I daresn’t do that.” I really got a kick out of that. But anyway, the day was beautiful, and we had a good time all day long with a nice lunch and all. That evening it was dark nearly when we got our sagehens cleaned over in Camas Creek and had, after cleaning them out and skinning them put them in the water and let them cool off for 10 or 15 minutes. So, by then we started for home.
We got down the road quite a little ways and finally I said, “Jason, how old are you?” “Oh,” he says, “my goodness, I’m still 7 years old. My birthday was on the 3rd of September. Nobody remembered it, nobody came to see me. Nobody brought me any presents. I could have been eight years old, but now “I’m still 7 because nobody remembered my birthday. My little friend was the only one that knew it was on the third. He knew it was then and he told me, and I felt really bad. I don’t know why Mother forgot that and didn’t have a party for me.” So I says, “Oh, don’t feel so bad Jason because I’ve had a lot of birthdays and nobody ever remembered.” I said, “I always got older and got along all right even though I did feel bad.” He said, “You might of felt bad but you couldn’t possible felt as bad as I did because here I am still 7 and I could have been 8. No party and no presents and I’m just a little boy and I love parties and presents and people coming to see me.” I said, “Don’t feel bad, I’m going to Idaho Falls tomorrow and I’ll get you a mouth organ and next time we go to the mine I’ll give you the mouth organ.” He says, Well, Okay, so we kind of forgot about it and we got home that night and his mother ran out of the house to us and she says, “I’ve been worried about you people. What in the world have you been doing so long?” Here it is about 9:00, way after dark. So then Jason says, “Mother, why did you forget my birthday, why didn’t you have a party for me? I didn’t have any party and nobody came to see me and I just feel terrible.” And she says, “Oh, Jason, I wouldn’t do that. I didn’t forget your birthday. Your birthday’s on the 3rd of November, not the 3rd of September.” So then he felt a lot better about it.
In 1981, just last fall, when the deer season opened, Jamie and David and Richard and I decided to go on a deer hunt up above the farm so we took two four-wheel-drive Ford half ton pickups. One was David’s and one was Jamie’s. Jamie and Richard went in his, and David and I went in David’s. We had the two-way radios and I was real excited about the hunt because I’d be with the three boys and I always loved to go with them, and they seemed to like to have me go because the invited me to go. We went up above the farm and it had snowed about three inches so it was really pretty, and David and I searched all through the dry farm lands on the way up and didn’t see a deer, didn’t even get a one. So I said, “Get on the radio and see if you can locate Jamie and Dick.” So he called on the radio and sure enough they answered and they said, “We’re over above the end of Graham Hollow on top of Muddy Canyon, and there’s some deer in here so hurry on over.” So we said, “All right, we’ll get over there as soon as we can.” So we drove around the road and finally worked up and finally got up to where they were and there Dick and Jamie was and they had gotten two deer and right in there in a sagebrush flat. They said the deer jumped and ran, and they shot the deer on the run and got them. So they were tickled and David and I were tickled for them too, and it was quite a thrill for me to be with the three boys in there on a nice hunt like that. They were really beautiful deer, too.
Some time along about 1975, Teddie and I had gone over to Hawaii. It was before Christmas, and I remember we had David come over for Christmas to visit with us. Years ago I met a little fisherman over there by the name of John Barreto. He lives a Kapoa on the island of Kauai. So I’d gone fishing with him two or three times in his old boat, Manelli. Manelli, he named it. The fishing was really pretty good at that time. But anyway, this day Teddie and David and I went with him and left Nawilliwilli Harbor and went out into the ocean there and got out about 5 or 6 miles trolling along. He had 7 lines he put behind his boat with lures on them and we would troll for the fish. We were going along, and all of a sudden David’s line jerked and took off so he got the pole and started winding it in. We got the other lines out of the way and then watched him, and he wound in this fish. It was a nice one and Johnny gaffed it and got it into the boat. It was about a 40 lbs. Ono. John said that’s the best eating fish in the ocean.
So we had one fish, and we fished for about another hour and finally we saw the birds working way off as far as we could see. The birds would dive down and when they’d find the fish feeding on top, down they’d dive. We called them a bird pile. So he said, “Let’s go.” So we headed for the birds as fast as we could go; and pretty soon we could see the water splashing. And he says, “That’s a big school of tuna fish.” They were moving about 10 mph and we were doing about 15 probably. So we were trying to intercept them. They were going one direction, and we were headed into them way up ahead. We had to go ahead of them and so finally we got closer and closer and as we got near them, he says, “Man, they sure are feeding, we’re gong to catch them.” Those old tuna fish were jumping out of the water after the little feeder fish that would jump out. They would drive them up out of water and then jump in the air after the little fish. We pulled into the front edge of this school of tuna and they were so thick. The water was boiling like in a churn. And it looked like those big old fish were going to jump right in the boat. But anyway, we went right on through and when the lines got into them they started hitting those lines and right away we had one on every line. Seven-large-yellow finned tuna. So we had quite a mess of them. We started reeling them in as fast as we could and working as hard as we could. After working about an hour getting in all we could, we got in three of them, one of them weighted 76, the other 87 and then 95 lbs. And the other four got away in the meantime. That was quite a catch of tuna and then of course, Johnny would take them home and clean the fish and then we’d have the little shebee tuna, the baby tuna, as I understand it, and he’d clean them up and slice them and then with soy sauce and cabbage we’d eat raw fish. Cabbage and soy sauce and that was a real good treat, too.
I kept in touch with John Barreta all through the years and then in 1980, in the fall, Jamie came over to visit us and I took Jamie out on the boat with Johnny Barreto and also Harry Sharp, a friend of mine over there. And we went out to the island of Nikihaw which is on the west, out on the west coast of Kauai, and it’s about 22 or 3 or 4 miles over there. A real nice trip. Over there the water is shallow around the edge of the island and the fish in there are quite plentiful. This island is owned by the Robinson family and only purebred Hawaiians can go on it. They wouldn’t allow us to get on the island at all. They still live primitive over there with no electricity or any of the modern conveniences. But anyway, we started fishing in there and the wind started coming up, the waves started coming up, but the fishing was good. After catching about a dozen or so fish, why I hooked on to one with my line and I was bringing it in and got it part way in, and all at once something hit the thing again and then jerked and pulled and boy, my line started running out as hard as it would go, nearly pulled me overboard. And Jamie grabbed hold of the pole with me so we got me back in the seat that it had pulled me out of, strapped me in the seat and I’d pull on the pole and wind the line and I couldn’t hardly move that thing. They said, “Boy, we must have the biggest tuna fish in the ocean.” So Jamie would reach over my shoulders and get hold of the pole with me and then he’d pull as I pulled and then I’d let the pole down and wind the line. Finally we worked for 30 or 40 minutes, and then Johnny Barreto would back the boat up and I’d wind the line in and get him up a little closer to the boat that way. But then the waves got to be eight feet high and so as we’d back up the boat, the waves would come up over the back end of the boat and right up into the seat with me, and I’d be sitting in the ocean water in the back end of the boat. Jamie too, and all of the guys that were standing there. And then the wave would go out and, of course, the water would rush right off the deck of the boat. Didn’t sink the boat or anything like that. It was made to handle the water that way. But, finally, after an hour and 20 minutes, we got that thing up pretty close. They said, “Oh, it’s a shark and you’ve got him hooked by the tail.” And man, he was about an 8 foot long one. So Johnny says, “There’s only one thing to do and that’s shoot it.” So he got out his spear gun; it had a 45 slug in it. He poked it down and hit the old shark right on the side and that fired the bullet; and it went into the shark which would kill him, but he wanted to retrieve the hook. So we got hold of the line and pulled his tail up out of the water and then whacked his tail off with a big machete knife they had there, and the shark went free. We got his tail and the hook back. That was the biggest fish I ever hooked on to.
Then just last fall, which was the Fall of 1981, Jamie invited me and David and Dick to go steelhead fishing with him over in the Salmon River. He had his jet boat already out there. He had been out the week before and had caught four of the steelhead, nice ones, in one day. That must of spoiled him because he got all four of them in one day, the first day he ever fished. I have fished out there for years, and I haven’t even caught one yet.
But, anyway, we got our things all ready in the tent that David got and our sleeping bags and went out to Salmon and had our dinner and then went down the Salmon river to just before you get to the Middle Fork and there was a nice campground there. I’ve forgotten the name of the creek. But, anyway, we set the camp up and then went fishing. Some of us would fish from the bank and some in the boat with Jamie. We had a real good time. We had plenty of food to eat and we had good dinners and steaks and slept on the ground in the tent, and in the morning there would be about an inch of snow. We fished three days there and didn’t have as good of luck with fishing. I finally caught a fish which was a beautiful big trout, but the weather had turned cold and the fish weren’t biting so good. But that was quite new for me, sleeping on the ground. So about the last night, I remember in the middle of the night I turned the flashlight on for something and then I turned it off and just outside of the tent, two or three coyotes started to howl. They weren’t 50 yards out of the tent, and they were really setting it up and make a noise. David heard them, he finally woke up, but Jamie didn’t wake up. And so we decided to break camp that day and go home. So we got our camp on the pickups and the boat was still in the water in the river so Jamie and David would fish up the river and I’d drive the pickup along the shore and kind of keep track of them. Dick had caught cold the first day out there, and he decided he’d better go home so he had left and gone back home. Sure enjoyed being there with him and the other boys on that trip. They fished on as far as they could go in the jet boat and then we loaded the boat on the trailer and took it and left for home; but on the way up, before they got to where I was, why David had hooked a steelhead and he successfully landed a beautiful 10 lb one. So he was thrilled about that and we didn’t get skunked. We got one at least.
Now, to go back to a little bit of athletics. When I was a young boy, I was quite small and rather thin but was very active and I loved to run and jump and learn all kinds of games, enjoyed them and I remember especially that we would play football, we called it rugby, over in the yard, in the church yard across from our home and we would choose up sides and have our own teams and have quite the games of football so I learned to tackle a little bit and some passing of the football and a lot of open field running with the boys when I was really young.
And then we had the basketball practice when I was in the grade schools, too. And that was out in the backyard. We had a basketball hoop on the back of our old barn in Rexburg, at the old home, and spent many hours out there playing 21 with the boys. We’d choose up sides and then play to see who could get 21 points first and had a lot of practice shooting and so forth.
And then in track, I remember pole vaulting, oh, when I was very young. We’d get just an old stick and use it for our stick to pole vault with and dig a hole for the box on the ground and then get us a bar to put up and we’d practice pole vaulting. And I seemed to take to that pretty good, and I liked it very much.
When I was in the eighth grade, they finally decided to have a basketball tournament. It was to be held out at Hibbard Grade School and all of the teams were invited in the valley. There was seven or eight including Lyman, Sugar City, Hibbard, Plano, Edmund’s and us from Rexburg and we hadn’t played together very much; however, we did start and practiced a few times before we went out to the tournament. And our team was myself and Bryan Parkinson as forward Rulon Blunk was our center. Joe Beesley was one guard and Don Harris was another. And so, it was wintertime and we had to go out to Hibbard in the bobsleds to play this tournament, and the first game we played out there was against Hibbard. Lynn Morris and some of the Keppner boys and Dennis Rock, I remember, were playing on their team and Joe Sellers was the coach for Hibbard and he was also the principal of the school that they had out there. So, when they drew up the schedule, we had to play Hibbard the first game. So we started playing and we, of course, were quite inexperienced and they had been playing together all the time because they had a little gym in their school. We didn’t have one in Rexburg. But anyway, we started to play and had the first game and we didn’t do so good. We got beat about 10 or 13 points but it was a double elimination tournament so we played the other teams and as we would play them, we would get into better practice and we got working pretty good together and we eliminated the other teams. Then there was only Hibbard and Rexburg left in the tournament, and we had been beaten once so we had to play Hibbard again and that was about a week later. So we played and I played pretty good. I faked the ball and would get the other team up in the air and then I’d dribble around them and make a basket. Pretty good, because I had been practicing out in the barnyard and over in an old shed over behind the church. I remember we had a hoop up in it. The only trouble with that was it had hay in it and the dust was pretty thick and that didn’t do us any good, playing in the hay dust. But anyway, we got a lot of practice.
We finally got going real good and beat Hibbard the second game; beat them by about 7 or 8 points. So then we had each been beaten once, and we went out to play the tie-off; and I remember we went out in a bobsled and the county superintendent went along with us, old we called him Windy Bill Nelson, and he had the trophy for the winner which was a 10 or 12 inch silver cup. So, boy, we had our eyes on that and so did Hibbard! When we got ready to play, Joe Sellers, who was the coach for the Hibbard team, also was the timekeeper for the game. I believe that Art Wilson was the referee in that game. So we played and we started getting ahead of them a little bit and pretty soon he fouled me, I couldn’t didn’t think it was much of a foul and we went on and we played and finally we gained. By the half, we gained about 5 points ahead of the Hibbard team. And soon after the half, why, we got another two points ahead which was seven and that was the third quarter. And then he fouled me again and I was fouled out of the game about the center of the third quarter. So I was sitting on the bench where Joe sellers was keeping time, and someone keeping score, and Mr. Thomas, our coach from Rexburg.
As I recall, this is the way it was: So they started to play the rest of the game and finally Hibbard just started to gain a little bit, and they were getting a little closer and a little closer into the third quarter. Then the fourth quarter started, and they were up within about 4 points then. So, they gained a little bit more and finally after they’d played quite a little while, they were only down about 1 point, and I remember it was supposed to be the closing minute of the game; and Mr. Thomas asked Joe Sellers, “How much time is there?” And Joe Sellers said, “Oh, about 2 minute.” And they’d play a little while and Mr. Thomas would say, “Let me look at the clock. And Joe would turn around and wouldn’t show Mr. Thomas the clock. He had a stop watch. So anyway, the game went on, it seemed quite a while to me and finally Dennis Rock shot a basket, and it put them one point ahead in the basketball game for the championship; and they went back toward center to make the center jump and Joe Sellers blew the whistle for the end of the game. So they got ahead of us 1 point and that was the end of the game, and we had to leave the big cup there in Hibbard!!
And then we headed for home. I remember we got out in the bobsleds, and they really threw snowballs at us. We had quite a time outside getting out of Hibbard and headed for home.
I always kidded Lynn Morris, who is a good friend of mine, and told him that was some way for him to treat us guys. And I told him I was going to come out and get the cup. He says, “Well, maybe . . . (years later) he said “Well, maybe it’s just as well ‘cause I found it out in the back of the school all burned. Somebody put in a fire and burning it to bits. But I picked it up, and I still have it even though it’s burned up.”
Now it was when I was in the seventh grade that Mr. Biddulph came to Rexburg from Provo as the coach for Madison High School. He lived in the same block that I did and so I got acquainted with him. He was a real fine fellow. I liked him and he was really interested in building up the athletics at the high school and especially the basketball. When I started high school, I was named the athletic manager for our class. About the first event was the class series, a basketball series between the classes. So we started to play, and we had the same team about that we had in the eighth grade out at Hibbard to the tournament. So we had a little practice and we played in the series, and finally we won the series from the sophomores, juniors, and seniors, And we were pretty good shots for being just young fellows and so Biddulph was rather impressed by us and then he started working with us. Then the next year I was the class athletic director again and we had the class series again, and we happened to win it that year and; in fact, we won the class series each year for four years.
Then, of course, I started playing for Mr. Biddulph on the high school team when I was a sophomore and I played quite a bit of the time in the games then. I remember up in the tournament we didn’t win but we worked at it real hard and had a good time playing basketball for coach Biddulph.
And then in the spring, we’d have the track meet, after basketball, and the races, and I was always a pretty fast runner but never was the fastest in the 100 yard dash. However, it was a different boy each year. But in the 220 and the quarter of a mile race, I usually could win, and I remember winning a quarter of a mile race there at a track meet between the Upper Valley – Sugar City and Ashton and St. Anthony and Rexburg. But my main event in the track, of all things, turned out to be pole vaulting when I was only about 5’8” tall but I practiced a lot in the pole vaulting and when I was a junior in high school, we went to the district track meet and I won first place.
(End of Tape #4, side 2)
(Tape #5, side 1)
Well, getting back to the district track meet when I was a junior in high school, Lavere Ricks was also a pole vaulter for Madison High School, and we used to practice together and we vaulted quite a bit the same height. We got down to the District Track meet and I vaulted pretty well, and I took first place in the District and Lavere qualified to go to the inter-district, so the two of us went down to the Inter-district, which was held in Pocatello, about a week later. We got down there, and it was a nice day, and I was feeling real good and I vaulted real good that day. We started to vault and I was of course about 5’ 8”, and some of my friends from Pocatello were down there watching and they started talking to me. One of them was old Bob Mullica who was one of Idaho State Athletic Stars at that time. He later played for the University of Utah, and he got to kidding me. He said, “They should give you a foot or two advantage here -- let you stand on a hill or something to vault.” I said, “Oh, if I can’t win it fair, I don’t want it. He could see I was serious. We went on and vaulted, and that day I didn’t miss a jump and went through the meet and won it with no trouble at all. Then I tried to break the district record which was at 12 feet. I vaulted 11’2” that day with the old cane pole, so I didn’t break the district record.
Lavere also qualified to go to the State Track Meet which was held in Boise, so we went over to Boise to the State Track Meet about a week later and vaulted, and I wasn’t on very good that day. I missed a jump or two, and Lavere was vaulting better and so when it ended up, Lavere won the medal for second place in the state pole vault, ad I won the medal for third place in the state vault. That was when we were juniors.
The next year when we were seniors, we went back down to the district Track Meet and both of us vaulted pretty good. Anyway, we both qualified for the Inter-district. I was vaulting pretty good that day. There happened to be a boy there from Idaho Falls by the name of Taylor, and he was getting to be a good vaulter by then, and so the three of us vaulted. Finally as it ended up, I beat the Inter-district. I had to beat Taylor from Idaho Falls. Taylor had taken second place and Lavere third. So just the two of us qualified to go to the State Track Meet -- the Taylor boy and myself. But the next week happened to be our graduation exercises here from high school so the school decided not to go over to Boise to the State Track Meet because there was only myself and one other that had qualified to go, so we didn’t go over. Mr. Taylor from Idaho Falls, the boy I had beat in the Inter-district went over, and he won the State Championship in pole vaulting that year at Boise. I got acquainted with him in later years when he moved up to Rexburg. We went duck hunting once together and we got talking about it, and he told me. “I’m sure glad you didn’t show up at the State Meet. I was tickled to win it, but I don’t know if I would have or not if you had showed up.”
Then getting back to basketball in high school – we didn’t do too well when we were juniors; but when we were seniors we were pretty strong and had a pretty good team. We went to the district tournament after the season was completed and Idaho Falls played Ashton the first game. That was really a big upset because Idaho Falls was supposed to be one of the best teams there.
Anyway, we went on and played our game and won it, and then we had to play Ashton about the second game as I remember. Our coach, Biddulph, cautioned us and said, “You’ve got to be careful. Ashton’s playing good.”
I guess we didn’t pay too much attention to him because our second team had gone up to Ashton during the year and had beaten Ashton pretty easily. Anyway, we played Ashton, and I’ll be darned if they didn’t beat us!
Both Idaho Falls and Madison, who I was playing for, had lost one game. It was a double elimination tournament. So we went on and played. We played two games a day there, the first Thursday and Friday. So that was four games in two days and then on Saturday we played again. As it happened, both Idaho Falls and us had to play Ashton again, and we both beat Ashton. So by Saturday night, all that was left in the tournament was Idaho Falls and Madison, and so they had to hold it over until Monday night to play.
They had a big silver cup the Chamber of Commerce had donated for the trophies and had been given several years before. It stood about two feet tall, and Madison had won it two years and Idaho Falls had won it two years. The one that won it the third time got to keep it permanently, so that game would be Monday night when we played Idaho Falls – the one that won that game got to keep the cup for good.
I remember Sunday our Coach called us up to the high school to talk to us, and so we had a big session on how we were going to play Idaho Falls. I’ll be darned if he didn’t give me the assignment of guarding Shaw on Idaho Falls’ team, who was their hot-shot forward. I was a forward too. That was quite a compliment in a way because I knew it was really a big job to do. I knew that and so I got kind of an empty feeling in my stomach, but I said, “Well, I’ll do the best I can.”
So we waited over till Monday night and by then we’d worried a little, but we had rested up quite a bit and so we went into the game and got to going. Everything turned out pretty good. I made eight points during that game. Shaw, the one I was guarding, made nine points, We BEAT Idaho Falls that night! The score was 18 to 27 – quite a low score. Anyway, holding Shaw down to even with me everyone thought was pretty good because that allowed the other fellows on our team to do a little more scoring—so we came out of the game O.K.
But there it was Monday night, and we had to start the State Tournament in Pocatello on Thursday, so it only gave us Tuesday and Wednesday to rest. We had played six games in five days, which was quite a bit for high school players.
When we got to Pocatello, we played Pocatello first. We had beaten them twice during the season. Anyway, they beat us the first game at the state tournament. I thought our team was pretty tired myself. Of course, that put us in the consolation bracket, and so the next night we played Twin Falls; and we beat them; and then the following night we played Coeur D’Alene and we beat them. So we did come out with the Consolation Championship of the State Tournament that year.
Also, when I was a senior in high school, my dad finally let me come to town and start school when school started. Usually I had to stay on the farm and help with the harvest which was way late. I remember harvesting clear up to the 20th of October, and then we weren’t through, but I got to go to school. But this year he let me come down and start when school started, so the Coach said, “Well, you better play football.” I said, “I kind of like football. I had played when I was a boy, but I hadn’t played in high school yet. I was about ready to play football and my dad got hold of me and said, “Now I don’t want you playing football. That football game is just a game that all you have to have is a hard head and nothing in it. I don’t want you to get hurt, so don’t play it; and if you do I’m going to take you out of school.”
So I went up and got my uniform, and I started to play football and we got along pretty good. I finally made the main team. I was a halfback. We had a good team that year – a lot of big players like Clyde Watson. Don Harris was our quarter; Reed Clements was our fullback; Clarence Byrne played and Don Wheelright and several others who I can’t say right now. So anyway, we went ahead and played until we finally had one game left to play – that was against Lave Hot Springs for the State Championship in the B Class of football. We weren’t in the big ten schools of Idaho, but we had to play Lava for that B Class Championship on Armistice – pretty late in the fall.
My dad was up town that morning and got to talking to somebody, and they said, “Boy I hope Madison wins this game today. Your boy has been playing good, and he’ll be doing his best, I know.”
So I guess dad decided I better not do that. It was just about time for the game. We were all down to the high school getting dressed for the football game. So here came dad down to the high school down where we were dressing. He said, “Come on. Get out of that football suit. We’re going home.”
No,” I said, “I can’t leave the team now. We’re going to win this football game, and then I’ll be home.”
So he went and talked to Coach Biddulph and told the Coach, “Now don’t you play that boy. I don’t want him hurt.”
We got dressed anyway and started down to the football field. Coach Biddulph walked with me, and he told me, “Your dad told me not to play you today. What do you think?”
I said “Well, by darn, if you want to play me, you play me because I want to play and we’ve got to win this game.”
So we got down there, and he didn’t start me. They started the football game and one of the first things that happened was that the team made an end run around my end where I would have been playing and made a touchdown and they got ahead of us right to start with.
That’s when he said, “You go on in the game.”
So I went in and we played; and finally we caught up to them and then we played some more. Lava was a good team, but finally our big line started getting the best of theirs and getting them beat down pretty well so we could get through. When the game ended, we had beat them about 27 to 12 or something like that.
I went home and was tickled we had won the State Championship, but dad didn’t go to the game and he didn’t even ask me if I’d ever played the game or not. He was just glad to see that I got home safe.
That pretty well finished my athletics in high school, so we’ll go on to college. I attended Ricks College and started out to play basketball for Ricks in 1934 under Coach Clyde Packer. We had a real good team that year which was comprised of Eldon Watson as center; Don Snedaker, and Don Jacobs, and Seth Wood as forwards; and Jerry Williams and Reed Clements, and Neil Scoresby was the main guards. Lavere Ricks also played with us, and under the coach’s supervision, we did a lot of practicing and trained hard and worked hard because we wanted to do well.
We started out the year and played all of the junior college teams around and also the Southern Branch, which is at Pocatello and is now Idaho State University. They had a good team which was comprised of some friends of mine that I got acquainted with in high school. One was Bob Mullica, and Gale Green, and George Fewens that I remember mainly. We eventually played Pocatello here at Ricks College – two games. During the game they were awfully tough, and we knew we would have a real battle; and I remember Coach put me in the second quarter, and I stayed in the rest of the game. I was playing real well at that time and shooting good and I started making a few points and soon it was the half, and we were about tied up.
At halftime, the coach gave us a pep talk. He asked me how I felt. I told him I felt good and I would like to guard old Bob Mullica. He said, “All right. I think you can do OK, but you’re a forward too and you’ve got to do some scoring.
We went back after the half I remember and I did do real well. I made 12 points the last half of that game and held Bob Mullica down to 6 or 7 as I remember. We won the game! In fact, we won both games against Pocatello here at Ricks.
When we went down to Pocatello to play the return games, I played starting then. I played pretty well down there, but as a team we didn’t do so well. We got beat both games down there, but I did turn out to be the high point man for Ricks for one game and so I thought that was pretty good for me. I was real tickled about that.
Then we went on and finished the regular season and went on down to St. George for the Intermountain Junior College Tournament. There were about eight teams in it as I remember. We had to play Snow College the first game, which wasn’t too bad, you know. We didn’t have much trouble playing them and beating them and then the second game was the Branch Agricultural College at Cedar City. I didn’t start the game and I remember we played it in the afternoon of the second game of the tournament.
I don’t know what was wrong with our team, but they didn’t get going very well and pretty soon we were down four or five points, and by the time the half came we were down seven or eight points. So right after the half, I remember, Coach Packer put me in along with Reed Clements. So we started playing and we kind of slowed them down a little and then pretty soon we started turning the game around and gaining a little bit on them. We were going right up until the last minute or minute and half – still down in points; and I remember, we got within one point of them and still about a minute to play! So we intercepted the ball from them once down near the basket we were defending. I was the furtherest one down the court, and they passed the ball down to me which was a little before the halfway mark, and I dribbled across the floor and one of Cedar City’s guards came over to pick me up, but he kind of loafed just a little bit, I remember. So I decided, I’ll try to get around him, so I went as fast as I could and got over to the right hand boundary line. I was about a half a step ahead of him; and I was dribbling the ball, and as we got near the end of the gym, it looked like there was no way for us to stay in bounds, but I was about a step ahead of him and I cut real short in front of him and he had to go on passed me and out of bounds. He couldn’t make the turn and so that left me free if I could stay in bounds. I remember my feet were only about one foot from the boundary line and back behind the basket and so I had to slow up a little bit and all I could see was the rim of the basket – I couldn’t see the backboard. So I just jumped up as high as I could and laid the ball up there and it went right in the basket, which put us one point ahead of them.
As I came from the basket, I was facing the bench over on the sidelines. There was all the players and I remember Coach Packer was standing up and all the players and his face was as red as a beet and his hair was standing straight up. He was afraid I was going to miss that basket. But anyway it went in, and that put us one point ahead. Then we played the rest of the minute and, it seem to me, like we made one more point. I think Eldon Watson made one basket after that and then Cedar City made one, which brought them up to one point within us and the game ended! We were one point ahead! I was real tickled to help out that much on it.
Then the next night we played St. George for the championship. It went along pretty good. We didn’t have much trouble with them, and beat them, as I recall, about 10 points. So we did win the championship!!!
Years later I remember Coach Packer talking to me, and he would always remind me and say, “I’ll never forget that “hilarious” basket you made that put us one point ahead of Cedar City right at the end of the game down at St. George in the tournament.” I was well pleased and so were all the rest of the players.
Here, just this last winter, which is now 1982, I was up to Ricks College which is a big, beautiful school now with 7,000 students. It is all brand new. Of course, the LDS Church owns it and has built it. When I played there in 1934 there were 300 students. So it has grown considerably since then. But as I was going in to one of the events up to the gymnasium this winter, I noticed the trophy case, which had in it some old basketball trophies – two of them – one in 1932 which Conley Watts and the boys won and another one for 1934. It was a basketball trophy and it had our names on it and I noticed my name was on it with the rest of the team for winning THE INTERMOUNTAIN JUNIOR COLLEGE CHAMIONSHIP – 1934!
So the next year we started out with football. This year the football team was going to Hawaii to play McKinlay High School. The coach asked me to try out so I tried out for football and worked hard at it, but there were a lot of good players there so I didn’t think I was going to be able to get on the traveling team to go to Hawaii, but still kept working hard and finally it came time to name the ones that were going and I got to go all right. We went down to Santa Rosa, California and played a game against Santa Rosa Junior College, and we got beat there and then we went over to San Francisco to board the Lurline to go to Hawaii to play football.
I remember when we boarded the boat, we just got out of the Golden Gate, and man, there were some big waves there. I got sick the first thing, so I had to run down to my cabin. When I got down in the hallway about to my cabin who was on it but Owen Wood. He was one that had been out for the trip but they hadn’t chosen to take him so he was stowing away on the boat. I said to him, “What are you doing here?”
He said, “My gosh, look at these waves out here.” He was looking out of the porthole. “Those waves are 50 feet high!”
I said, “You’re not supposed to be here. What are you going to do?” He said, “I’m going to Hawaii anyway.”
So I said, “Well, come down in my room and stay there, and I’ll bring you down some food so they won’t find out and so you will get over there.”
I took him in my stateroom and we stayed in there and I would go up and get him something to eat in the daytime, but the very first night on the way down to Los Angeles from San Francisco, he decided he would go on up and eat dinner with the team. Another fellow had done the same thing – a fellow by the name of George Warren from St. Anthony. So they came up and when we sat down to dinner and they counted heads, of course, there were two players too many. The authorities of the boat wanted to know how come there were too many, and so the coach had to tell them. So they came and took Owen and George Warren and took them down in the bottom of the boat and locked them up in the brig where they stayed until we got into Los Angeles. Just as we were getting ready to leave, they took them out of the brig and turned them loose in Los Angeles. They didn’t do anything with them, but they didn’t get to go.
So we went on across on this big luxury liner, got over to Hawaii where it was beautiful and they put leis on us and sang to us at the Aloha Tower and we met Governor Poindexter and had our picture taken with him on the Capitol steps. It was really something for us people from Idaho to get clear over there. Anyway, we stayed 21 days playing this game of football and also a little basketball. In the football we practiced up about 10 or 12 days trying to get used to the weather and all; then the game came and we played, but they were a real good team – big men, and they played real good. Finally they beat us, and I think I got to play about two minutes in that game and so after it was over, and we were beaten, we were still there a week later than that. So the coach had lined up at least two games of basketball with the “Champions of the Island” he called them. I was playing on the main team then in basketball, and I remember playing these two games and we won both of those games. But I remember too how sore my feet got because they were tender and weren’t used to the basketball court – stopping and starting. I wore blisters on them and had to go to the doctor and get bandaged up, and it took about a week or 10 days for my feet to get well. But they did, and we had a nice trip and I enjoyed going with Ricks. The Coach was good to us and the school too. That was a real remembrance for me in my lifetime.
Now I’ll say something about business, and I’ll have to go back to my early days on the farm with Bill and all of the family. I remember what a struggle it was for dad and all of the family and how we had to work with the horses they took care of. I was quite young and didn’t have to drive the horses very much. I did get in on some horse driving, however, plowing, and so forth, and I used to work on the combine and tend the header.
My main job was herding the horses at night. I would have to stay out all night sometimes and herd the horses and bring them in and take care of the cows and one thing and another.
We all had a job to do, and dad was a real good manager. He took good care of his horses—always had them in good shape and was proud of them. He was proud of his family too and the work we were dong up there.
As time went on then he got the tractors, and of course I drove the tractors. All the boys drove the tractors and enjoyed it very much.
I really enjoyed the farm work, maybe because I didn’t know anything else; but I loved the land and always loved to plant the crops and harvest them and thought it was great to do something to help feed all the people.
I would usually get about $5, which dad would give me, a week when I got to be 18 or 19 years old. He would let me take his Buick about once a week on Friday or Saturday nights, and I would go to the dance and have this $5, and I was just as happy as if I owned the world, you know. I had no responsibilities; I enjoyed life very much at that time.
And then when dad took sick, like I stated before it was just before the first of the year – sometime in December, we had a big problem on our hands then and Jenny, my oldest sister, lived about one block from dad’s house. He had a great lot of confidence in Jenny and her ability to do business, and they were always good pals. She seemed to be his right-hand cowboy when they were real young, So he trusted her, and she would work diligently for him and respected him and honored him, the same as I did.
I honored dad and I loved dad very much and also mother.
But anyway, when he took sick, I knew that my carefree days were over, and I was going to have to get to work because he wasn’t going to be able to carry the load as well as he had done before.
Jenny was there every day. She would be just as faithful as she could be. I can’t say too much for Jenny and the help that she gave dad and the whole family and how it helped us all out--and take care of dad and comfort him and love him and do all of the errands that he wanted her to do to try to get his business in order. So she went to work helping him.
Of course, the boys would all take turns staying with dad at night. That was when I stayed with him most of the time.
He never went without one of us there with him overnight. We did the best we could to help him out in his trials and illness.
Anyway, he had asked her to go ahead and get a plat and he figured out, when he got over the initial illness you know--got feeling more like it--he was still in bed; but he asked her to go up and see Charley Poole, the attorney, and start getting things worked out so he could do with his estate what he wanted to.
So she had the plats and everything and would go up with Charley Poole, and when dad would tell her what he wanted to give who, what he wanted to give to who; and she got all of this done and gave all the information to Charley Poole. After quite a long time of hard work he got all of the deeds made up and ready for signing.
So then I remember I was down to the house on the 9th day of February. Jenny had arranged for a Notary Public, Ralph Parker to come down and notarize the deeds. I was there when he came. He came in the house and visited with me a minute or two and then he wanted to talk to George.
I said, “George is in the parlor there on the bed.
He said, “I would like to talk to him alone.”
So he went in and visited with dad, interviewing him, of course, to see that he was well enough to make these transactions. He visited with him quit some time, and when he came out he said, “Oh, he is all right.”
So we went in and I remember Jenny was there and me and Ralph Parker, and so dad sit up in bed, and we handed him the pen and he’d sign these deeds and got them all done the way he wanted them. Ralph Parker was there and he notarized it and set his seal to the deeds.
I was real thankful that they got that much done, and it was some time after that when he passed away, but I still can’t say too much for the help that Jenny gave dad at that time; and I know he appreciated it and I know I did. She helped out the whole family.
I also knew from then on it was going to be up to me as to whether I made it or not because I wasn’t going to have dad’s help as much. I was young too and I didn’t have the confidence in myself that I should have, so I did pray to the Lord to give me the ability that dad had, for his good judgment, and also the business ability that my brother John had. And it seemed to make me feel better because I know I didn’t have too much trouble after that making decisions, and most of them were right. Of course, some of them were wrong, but I was real pleased about it.
As it turned out, Bill, my oldest brother, and I had only one set of machinery together; so that meant we had a lot of work to do. We only had one old gas tractor, a 30 Caterpillar. It was a good old tractor, but I remember we asked dad what he thought about trading it off for a new D4 Caterpillar, and I remember his saying, “How much is it going to cost you?” and I told him “Over $2,000 – in that range.”
“Well, for that price, you can’t afford not to trade. You can’t afford to go with the old one and have it break down on you. So I think you better trade.”
So Bill and I traded for this Caterpillar tractor. Then we decided that we would have to run it 24 hours a day in order to get all of our work done. So we worked away, and finally old John Thorpe, a cousin of mine, was working for us. I remember a comical thing. When we started to plow that spring, we hired old John Thorpe.
We said, “Well, Jack, you go take the first 8 hours and then it will be my shift after that, and then Bills and we’ll just run this tractor 24 hours a day and get our work done.
So Jack Thorpe ran the tractor for his first 8 hours – when that was up, then it was my shift. I had to go to town for something so I said to Jack.
“Will you run my shift? I have things to do in town.”
He said, “Yeah, I’ll run it.”
So at the end of my shift, Bill didn’t know any better, so he went out and asked Jack if he could run his shift. So old Jack Thorpe was running 24 hours a day.
The next day about noon I went out. I remember I said to Jack,
“Well Jack, get off of that tractor. Take you a couple of hours off and get you some rest and something to eat. I’ll drive it.”
He jumped off the tractor and said, “I’m quitting right now. By darn, you promised me steady work, and now you want to let me off a couple of hours right in the middle of the day. I don’t like it, and I’m quitting.”
But Jack didn’t quit. He was more or less kidding, and finally we got lined out real good and got the tractor going. We had a cab on it with curtains. We had bought one Case Wheatland 10-foot plow, and we started plowing.
We had about 1,500 acres or 1,200 acres, or close to it, to get plowed. So we did get going and run our shifts, and we run that tractor day and night for about 10 days or more until at least we finished all of the plowing. We wanted to do this early in the spring while the moisture was there, good and wet you know, because we figured that by farming the soil properly and taking care of it, we could conserve the moisture in the ground and we would be able to plant the fall wheat when it came time to plant in the fall. So we plowed down about 6 inches deep and then as soon as we would get through plowing, we would turn around and try to weed the ground to pack the ground down some so it would hold the moisture. And it was surprising how much it would help in conserving the moisture for the fall planting of the wheat. And, of course, the wheat was already planted the fall before on the land where it was planted and so we had planted half of the land each year instead of all of it.
And then with the wheat, we didn’t have at that time any of the weed killers the way we do now and so you had to have a good stand of wheat in order to keep it clean so you could harvest it because it was an awful job at harvest time to go in a weedy field especially with those big old, what we called “umbrella mustards.” When the wheat would die out in spots and it would grow up full of these umbrella mustards,” I’ve ridden on the back of the header on the combine lots of times with a stick to try to throw these weeds out of the header so they wouldn’t go in the machine so we could get rid of them because they would just pile up in the header there and keep going around and around with the reel and pile it as high as you could reach. Nothing would get into the header. Then the harvester stops. So if I could throw these weeds over the back edge of the header and get rid of them then we could keep going though the grain and finish it.
By then, we had gotten rid of the old California Special and had us Caterpillar Combines which were real good ones. Man, they would run all day long. Bill was a good mechanic. He would keep them in good shape; and we could run, like I said before, all day long and no problems at all. In fact, for two weeks, we could run year after year and never have any trouble. We cut about 50 acres a day with each machine.
Then during the summertime, we would have to take care of the summer fallow. We were real particular when we would weed it. We would wait until the weeds got 6 to 8 inches high; then they would die easier from the rod weeders. They we would run over the ground as fast as we could with the rod weeders and kill the weeds, and that would pack the ground a little more and conserve the moisture when it did rain.