Sunday, June 24, 2012

One Man's Journey - Part V

via Wikimedia Commons
The Train Wreck

We lived about a mile north of the railroad. One day, the train ran off the track and the coaches lay on their sides and tops down the embankment. We could easily see from our place since it was located on a slightly higher level.


This was exciting. Some acquaintances drove out from town and stopped in front of our place. The thing looked huge, I guess because I was small. The driver sat on the right side with brake lever, etc., just above the running board. I can’t remember if they took us for a ride. I kind of think we were too frightened to get into the thing.


I don’t think I’ve mentioned this above, and I’m not sure I should mention it here because I would be very young at this point, and it is doubtful if the impression would last, but the event did occur whether at this time or in the next era (1912). During these periods, candidates for President of the U.S., or other elected people, did all of their campaigning by railroad train, making speeches from the rear platform of the rear car in which they lived during the trip.

Theodore Roosevelt laughingTheodore Roosevelt came through and Papa and I were there to meet him. I sat on Papa’s shoulders to get a better view and Papa kept saying to me to watch his teeth. Whenever the man smiled or talked, his teeth were quite visible. I’m sure you’ve seen pictures of T. Roosevelt and they always seem to give prominence to his teeth. If this was his second term, he won; if running for third term, he lost.

Mr. Roosevelt continued his campaign and several days later when he was in St. Paul, Minnesota, somebody took a shot at him, hit him in the chest (.22 cal), but Roosevelt kept right on talking. {President Roosevelt visited Idaho in 1903. However, in 1912 he campaigned for the Presidency as the Progressive Party nominee. During this campaign, he visited Caldwell.}

I probably shouldn’t have put this part in since it is hearsay, as I did not witness the action. I’ve tried to keep this within the realms of memory and witness of the fact.

The Case of the Horse and the Thresher

I told you above about our neighbors helping each other in getting the crops: Papa, I believe, always had some wheat to thresh each year. The conical stacks were usually located about 100 feet of the house in a northeasterly direction, a barbed-wire fence ran east and west just a few fee north of where the equipment sat. The thresher, or separator, as it was commonly called, was placed between the two stacks of bundled wheat; the steam engine was then placed 30 to 40 feet away from the separator with a heavy, wide belt running from the power pulley on the engine to a pulley on the separator.

via Wikimedia Commons

This particular crew kept a saddled horse nearby in case someone needed to go somewhere to get parts or other items. The saddle cinch was always kept a little loose to allow the horse a little more comfort. On this occasion, the saddle slipped and got under the horse’s belly. He started to buck. First he bucked into the belt knocking it off the pulleys and then into the barbed-wire fence. This was bad, since the taut wire snapped and wrapped around the horse, cutting him severely. Normally, they would destroy an animal in this condition, but they didn’t; just patched him up and he lived to be back the next year standing in about the same spot.
On one of these visits, the crew left a pile of grease-soaked rags, glove and an old ragged pair of overalls. Bill, who was still quite small, got into the pocket of the overalls and found a ten-dollar gold piece. What was done with it, I don’t know, but I’m guessing that Papa found the man and gave it back to him. Ten dollars was hard to come by in those days.

The Kicking Horse

The horse barn stood about 100 feet east of the house. The large door opened on the south side near the southwest corner. The horses were stabled with their heads to the west. On this particular occasion, Papa took me to the barn with him. He opened and fastened the large door and, leaving me on the outside, he entered the barn back of a horse stabled in that stall. At the moment he stepped into the barn, the horse let loose with a terrific kick, hitting Papa just about on the left knee, knocking him up against the rear wall. He then rolled out the door to where I was standing. Of course, he was in terrible pain. I don’t know if he went to the doctor; I doubt if he did. Anyway, it was sure a lesson for me not to walk behind a horse since I was about tall enough to get my head kicked off. (In due time, I shall relate other experiences with horses – some funny and some not so funny.)

The Race Horse

Papa was always interested in horses since he had grown up with, and used, many horses on their farm in Canada.

Besides his work horses, during this period he acquired a race horse. I can remember it because I used to watch Papa train the animal. He had a long light rope which was attached to the halter. Papa would stand in the yard and the horse would run around him at the length of the rope. I can’t even guess how long the rope was. Papa also set a pole in the yard with an arm on it, so it would turn on the pole. The horse was attached to a length of rope that was fastened at the end of the arm. The horse would then circle the set pole by the hour, thus giving him some exercise. But, a bad end came to the race horse business.

Papa had left his plow in the field turned on its side with the share, or moldboard, turned up. He had turned all of the horses loose in this field. The race horse found the plow and proceeded to rub the back of one of his forefeet back and forth over the moldboard until he damaged the tendons in that leg and foot. That was the end of the race horse. What happened to the race horse, I don’t know; but, I do know Papa was very upset.

Lightening Strikes

Lightning--One day, I was standing in the back yard during a heavy thunder and lightening storm. There were a number of empty tin cans lying near the garden area on the north side of the house. Suddenly, there was a loud noise and the cans flew in all directions. I was pretty close, but was not injured, just scared.
to be continued... 

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