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Monday, September 10, 2012

UNCLE DAN Chapter 8

Cows and Sheep

After Uncle Dan sent his nephew (my cousin) to stay with me his brother-in-law stayed with him and was able to get some work.  My cousin also helped to do the necessary chores around the ranch, but I on the other hand now I had another person to feed beside myself. I enjoyed the company and I budgeted 10 dollars a week for our expenses.
Though I was suppose to be making one hundred dollars a month the rancher would only give me 10 dollars each week and he was saving the rest for me like a savings account.

I had learned to drive some time before and the rancher would come and check on his cattle each week and let us drive to town to get our supplies.

One week the rancher didn't show up and we ran out of food. It was the only time I have really been hungry. It felt like I was going to starve to death. After a few days he showed up and was very nonchalant about the whole situation. I felt it best to restrain my tongue and didn't act like I was disturbed.

The only entertainment we had was once a week we would splurge and catch the greyhound bus and go to Hayward Ca. And attend a movie. We had to be sure to catch the bus back to camp otherwise we would have had a thirty mile walk. We would get off the bus at the prison stop and had to go through a guard station. It was dark as we approached the gate when all the sudden lights would come on and almost blind us. After identifying ourselves they would let us pass through.

They raised a lot of vegetables on the prison farm and the prisoners liked to get out of their cells and work in the fields. I got to talking to some of the inmates and recognized one of them as a school mate who was a couple grades ahead of me. We conversed about past times and people we knew. I never talked to him again but would wave to him from time to time.

Then something happened that complicated things. We had everything under control but the rancher showed up one day with about a hundred and fifty sheep. This really made our life difficult because the cattle were contained by the electric fence but the sheep could walk underneath it and scatter in areas they shouldn't be. Further at night we had to round them up and drive them into a pen and make sure they had water. Oh yes, we didn't get any extra pay for the additional work.

The months came and went with some mishaps beyond our control like having to dig a hole and bury a cow that died. We had to dig it with a broken shovel we had found right next to the cow so we could roll her over into the hole because she was too heavy to move by hand.

One day the rancher came and said his lease had expired and the animals had to be moved back to his ranch and we were no longer needed. He owed me about 450 dollars that he had held back from my pay and he gave me all of it when I finished. I had made the deal with the rancher and my cousin was forced on me but I reluctantly shared some of the pay with him.    

To be continued - - - 
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This post is shared at:  “Tell Me a True Story”


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