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Friday, January 31, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER chapter 24 Planting a Vineyard

Grape Vineyard
courtesy free clip art
Lucia had moved into the maid’s room shortly after we hired her and has become a member of the family.  The kids have taken to her and are calling Auntie Lucia.

If it hadn’t been for her caring for us, life would have been different especially for Nan who had come to depend upon her greatly.

Bessie asked her once, “Where did you come from?”

Lucia said, “From a long distance away.  My husband and I were from Italy, which is another country and we were going to grow grapes.  I still have some seeds if you would like to see them.”

Bessie said, “Maybe later, but could we plant some of them and see if they would grow?”

Lucia said, “We could try.  I have several kinds of seeds.  We could try all of them. Ask your Papa if he would make us some boxes to plant the seeds in.  We should start them in a short time for it is the season.”

I asked Lucia how she wanted the boxes made and after she described them I had our new stable hand to make them.  

Lucia said she would send for several other varieties of grape seeds and try them all to see which ones were most adaptable for our climate and soils.

I had one of the share croppers to come over and break up a couple of acres and harrow it smooth.  I got some good soil for the boxes and left it up to Lucia and Bessie to take it from there.

I decided if the grapes didn’t make it I would use the area for a larger garden.

Grandpa laughed at Bessie for wanting to do some farming but made her a hoe that was right for her size.  He took her out to a weed patch and said she needed to learn the proper way to hoe weeds.

It wasn’t long before her tender hands were showing a blister and Grandpa said, “I think you better hire someone with tougher hands to do the cultivating and you just be the manager.”

She answered and said, “Thanks for the hoe grandpa.  It was real nice of you to teach me a lesson.

Bessie wasn’t smiling when she said it like she usually did when talking to him.  Right then and there he decided he wouldn’t do her like that anymore for he was making fun of her and she knew it.

Later he went over and asked Nan if she said anything about her experience and Nan said, “No, she didn’t mention it.”  

He knew he had done wrong and that it would take some time before he made it up to her.

After three months some of the seeds were turned into small vines and ready to be planted.  The whole family showed up and by noon they were in the ground and watered.

Lucia said, “There probably wouldn’t be any grapes the first year but the plants would grow strong and be ready to produce the next year.”

They had eight varieties but most were for juice and wine.  

Before the year was out Grandpa had pretty well made up with Bessie.

He helped with the weeding and cultivating and lent a hand with the watering system.  

I had to admit that with Auntie Lucia’s help my little girl was beginning to show her first signs of being a woman.  It was mostly in her demeanor for it was too early for the physical change to be taking place.  

All the time the grape stuff was taking place something Psychological was taking place in Nan.

She was just a couple months away from the birthing to take place.  I wasn’t being very passionate due to the situation and Nan was easily irritated.

She hadn’t ever been short like that when carrying Mark, so I was at a loss.

I couldn’t think of anyone I felt at ease talking to about it.  Finally I thought I would talk to the doctor using the pretence of wanting to know how she was getting along.

It didn’t take him long before he realized there was something else going on. He just came out and asked me why I was here.

I stumbled around till he stopped me and after detailing what he thought the problem probably was I said, “You nailed it.”

He said it wasn’t uncommon for this to happen for after having what was to be the forth child there can be the feeling that all she was good for was having kids.  She needed to be noticed as a person and paid attention to.

When I left the office I had all the information I needed to solve the problem.  It only took a day or two before Nan was all smiles again except for the occasionally kicking and stretching that was going on.

The doctor said that the things he told me should be remembered after the baby was born and used accordingly.  

There were some other things going on in our daily life for we were short of rain this year and it was going to affect the crops and that was bad news for the sharecroppers.

My main share cropper and manager over the others suggested we bring out the well digging machine and start digging wells. 

Since we still had breezes blowing he suggested allowing the farm hands to run it and all we would need was fuel, casings and a windmill for each well.

I quickly agreed to his plan and had Sammie order in all the supplies we needed.  It cost us as much as we were going to make this year to set everything up, but from now on we would have enough water in a dry year.

Another thing we discovered was by making sure the crops always had water it increased the yield per acre.

The family was involved in many enterprises and for the most part we were all still young.  The oldest members had children who were approaching their late teens and were kicking up a little dust but not so much as to embarrass the family.

One of the investments was the farms that had sharecroppers on them.  I tried to create an atmosphere where they felt like a family and where they cared how each other was doing.

I set out to show when one suffered a loss or there was sickness I would pitch in and help them and they began to realize that they weren’t alone and they should follow my example.

It doesn’t always happen when a neighbor falls on hard times that neighbors rush in and take up the slack.  Sometimes the opposite is true where they try to take advantage of one who faces hard times.

The out growth of my effort was the whole of them worked to help each other be successful and were able to put aside all the little jealousies that could only harm all of them.

I put aside a certain amount of each year’s earnings in case one of them needed some help and often some of it was needed.  It was the same with my immediate family.

As I mentioned before everyone bought into this idea of first being loyal to the family as a whole.  We were loyal to Pa and Ma and then to one another, not taking advantage in any way.  We faced a problem together. 

Shame or no shame
courtesy free clip art

As we all have families now we wanted to instill the same values in the offspring, but it is going to be an almost impossible task for times are changing.

Among my sibs there are no illegitimate children but all around us in both the city and the country it is happening more often.

This being one example of how things are changing and we can only hope that we can instill our values in Ma and Pa’s grandchildren.

While some are saying “It Don’t Matter” but I’m here to say - - - It do.”


Thursday, January 30, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 23 Nan Said, “Fix it,” So I did

courtesy free clip art
We keep all of our buggies and horses at a barn we built.  Then we hired a stable boy to take care of the horses and equipment.  He was pretty good at keeping the harness repaired and oiled up as well as caring for the horses.

We had built a couple of rooms in the barn for him to live, and he had been working for us about three years.  Laddie was the kind of guy you would hardly notice for he was so quiet and reticent.

I assumed that as long as he did his job it didn’t matter if he said much.  He had a brother a little younger that would come over and help him out once in a while but we didn’t hire him cause it was only a one man job.

Laddie was in attendance at church every Sunday and special meetings.  He went to church a lot more than Nan and I did.

He asked if he could talk to me one day and I said if its important I guess so.

Laddie said that he needed a job that would pay him twice as much as he was making.
I told him I was paying him a good salary as it was.  He said yes he knew that but he needed more money now.

I said, “You know the job you have doesn’t warrant any more money.”

He said, “Yes I know but I’m hoping you have another job with better pay I could do.”

I said, “I can’t think of anything right now.”

He said thank you and very disappointedly started to walk away.

I said, ‘Maybe if I knew why you needed more money we could figure out something.”

He said, “I would rather not talk about the reason.”

“Would you rather talk to Nan?”

He said, “Yes that would be better.”

That evening he came over to talk to Nan about his problems and he brought one of the young church girls with him.

Nan took one look at them and said, “I hope you are not going to tell me what I think you are going to tell me.”

They both got very red in the face and he said, “Maybe.”

Nan looked at the girl Gracie and asked, “How long has it been since you gave it up.”  

Gracie said, “Two months.”

Nan said, “You are as bad as me getting pregnant.  When I got married I conceived the first time.  You should have known better.  You have been taught in church to wait till you are married.”

He said, “Yes, we know that but at the time it didn’t seem to matter.”

Nan said, “It always matters.”  Then Nan asked, “Do you want to get married?”

They both said yes but we can’t live on what I make and her parents don’t want another mouth to feed.  

Nan said, “Go in the kitchen and get some lemonade while I talk to your boss.”  

Laddie said, “Don’t tell him!”

Nan said, “Everybody is going to know shortly if we can’t work something out.”

Nan laid out the whole situation and said, “Fix it.”

I looked at her and said okay for I didn’t want to spend the next hour arguing with her.  
I told her to get them and started laying out the problem and the solution.  

“In about seven months you are going to present a bastard child to the world unless we do something quick.  Let’s forget about your parents for now for all they will do right now is to holler at both of you and that isn’t going to help.

Both of you meet us at the hall of records when they open in the morning.  I will have a talk with the registrar and have him to fill out the form for a marriage license.  All you will have to do is sign your name and he will marry you.  It should all be over in five minutes.  Then we will go over to the pastor’s house and have him get together with your parents and you and tell them you are married and pregnant.  

The marriage license reflects the date you first had sex so you have been legally married for two months already.  If anyone needs to know when you got married you tell the date on the marriage license.

The registrar can’t remember events only dates so as far as he is concerned you were married two months age.  

Now as to a job you are going to be a chicken farmer.  There is an extra house on the home place and you will be a helper to the man in charge and after he retires you will take over if you learn the business and do as well as he does.  You will make more than twice as much as you do now.

The place is almost fully furnished so you shouldn’t need anything for a while.  It may take a while for the parents to accept what has happened but they will, especially after the grandchild is born.

After you are settled in, you come back and Nan will teach you how to enjoy each other without getting with child unless you want to.  That can wait until after the baby is born.

After they left Nan said, “I knew you could fix it.”

Things worked out pretty much as we wanted it to and they are eighteen years old now and just had a little boy to go with the girl they had before.

Lester dropped the Dr. before his name because people were always thinking he was an M.D. and since he no longer was teaching it wasn’t a positive any longer.

He was still sure the auto business was the way to go and went to see the main overseer at Ford again.  After many contacts he managed to get one of the prototype autos to try out for a while.

They also told him about future plans for a low price car that would be available as soon as they could set up what they referred to as an assembly line.

He discussed with them about setting up a sales store but when he told them where he wanted to establish it that said it couldn’t be profitable and gave him a list of reasons why.

This didn’t discourage him for he started looking toward the big cities.  It was too early to start investing money in the project but there were some properties that had promise.  
After several discussions it became obvious that Lester was going to be looking to the family for the investment cash.  This caused some raised eyebrows among the elders of the family for it was all of their money.

There was no issue raised concerning the investment for it was still some years away. As it turned out Jake was the one who was more favorable toward the new endeavor than any of the rest.

I think it had something to do with the oil business.  There was already an increase in the kinds of autos on the roads today.  I tried to stay neutral in the discussion but I felt surer of making money with farm products such as grain and such.

Both the sheep and the Herefords were beginning to show an increase of profits.  As the herds increased instead of selling part of the herd we would buy additional grazing land and let the herds increase but this year, some of them would have to go.

After a couple of years Nan began to be able to read me and my moods.  I would try to not show my feelings when around her but to no avail.

Each time she would expose some secretive feeling I was trying to keep hidden, and I was weakened and am at the point where I am almost completely open with her.  

We have three children now two of which Nan had with her first husband but are mine now and the one we had together.  
For the last few weeks I knew she was observing me and figuring out something that I was desperately trying to keep to myself.  Then one evening after we had retired for the evening she came out with it.

She said, “There isn’t any point of you denying it so confess up.”

I tried to muster up my manhood and said, “I don’t know what you are referring to.”

She said, “We are quite active in the evening wouldn’t you agree?”

I knew she was laying a trap for me but went ahead and answered; :Yes very active.”

“But with all this activity you feel something is missing don’t you?”

I really wanted to lie as badly as I ever had before but gave in and said, “You are right.”

“Then if I’m right you want another child… don’t you?”

I was amazed as to how sensitive she is to understand me.

I had no alternative but to answer truthfully and say, “Yes.”

She laughed and said, “Well I have good news for you.  You are going to be a father again.”

I said, “Are you sure?”

“Am I sure?” she asked?  “Yes I’m sure but this will be the last one for four is enough for us.” 

I told her I wanted a girl like Bessie. 

She smiled and said, “You will get what you get and be happy with it.”

“How did you know for I never mention about having another babe.” 

She said, “I figured it out about three months ago.  Then I became pregnant two months ago. 

When Laddie came over with Gracie and she was with child you began to change and I knew the spirit of fatherhood was upon you.  She said she hoped it would be a girl for me.”

I said “It don’t matter” but in reality, it does matter.


New Deputy was too Busy!
courtesy photobucket.
When anything different occurs in our town it always makes a splash for the town isn’t very large and everyone knows or wants to know everyone’s business.

The sheriff thought he should have a new deputy so he hired a trainee from the East.  
He just came in and began to do his duties without being introduced.  I saw him once or twice the first couple of days but didn’t really meet him.

On Saturday it was time for the monthly dance at the community hall and there was a good crowd there.  
The musicians were wound up and playing away when the new deputy came in and said we was making too much noise and would have to tone it down or go home.  
This was something new for the sheriff never complained before. The men started to object and argue till the deputy put several of the men under arrest for disturbing the peace.  
Again this was something that never occurred before, and it just so happened that Nan and some of the other women got caught up in the foray.

When I saw her under arrest I went and got Judge Larson to come out and try to talk to the deputy.  When the judge tried to speak to the deputy he said “Old Man you better get on home before I put your in jail.”

The judge said, “You had better release all these people or I will put you in the county jail for a year for inciting a riot.”  The Judge went on and said, “It’s apparent you don’t know who I am.”

The deputy said, “You are some old fool who I’m arresting for insulting and threatening an officer of the law.”

The Judge just walked away and into the Mayors office.  He told him to fire both the sheriff and the new deputy.  A few minutes later the mayor went to the Sherriff’s office and said neither you nor your deputy work for this city any longer, you’re fired.

The sheriff didn’t have any idea what was going on.  When he arrived at the jail he asked me what happened and after I give my side I of the story he looked at the deputy and said, “Give me your gun and badge.  You are fired because I don’t want a crazy person working for me.”

I was glad to see this idiot dismissed from duty permanently because if it hadn’t come down the way it did the deputy would have been as the song says,  “Heading for the last roundup,” for neither him or anyone else messes with my Nan.

Judge Larson insisted the sheriff arrest the deputy for putting his hands on him and shoving him into a wall.  The sheriff was worrying about his own job so he put the deputy in a cell.

The mayor confessed maybe he was a little hasty in firing the sheriff and that he could keep his job.

A Judge (Judge Barton) from the next county was brought in the next day to hear the case against the deputy and when he heard Judge Larson was manhandled the trial was over.

He sentenced the ex-deputy to a year in the county jail and a five hundred dollar fine.

At present the deputy is enjoying the counties fare three times a day.  He was also ordered to leave for the East as soon as he was released at the end of his sentence or be prepared to serve an additional year.

As I thought about this whole scenario I still can’t understand why it came about.  Was it a case of the new deputy trying to show he was in charge or was he that much of a bully?  In any case it happened and is over.

Getting back to the coming wedding, Luann called Nan and said it’s been a month since Sam proposed and that’s long enough to wait.  I don’t want someone else have a shot at him so Saturday is the day.

I hope no one get’s sick and delays the happening.  She said I have had a dress for what seems like a long time to be married in and I’ll be wearing it come Saturday.

We all gathered in the church and while waiting for the bride to make her entrance someone raced down the aisle and shouted the doctor is needed immediately.  The doctor headed out to his buggy as the bride started down the aisle.  He called for me to bring the preacher and grabbed LuAnn by the arm and out they went.

The preacher got into the buggy with the Doc and Luann and away they went with the wedding crowd following.  By the time we got to where the sick person was they just finished saying their I Do’s and were man and wife.

The doctor said he had to get the patient to the operating room and remove an appendix.  He said it won’t take long and afterward we will have a party celebrating our getting married.

This was almost too much excitement for me.  Nan and I went for a ride in the moonlight and the air was filled with romance.  We missed most of the reception but we wasn’t sorry about that.

I told the Doc I hope he enjoyed the rest of the evening as much as I did.

He looked at me puzzled but said, “I intend to,” and off they went.  

I must admit I must have looked sheepish as I said to Nan, “Let’s go home and enjoy the rest of the evening.”

She said, “Okay but you better behave yourself or you will sleep out in the barn.”  

I replied, “If you weren’t teasing me my feelings would be hurt.”

The next morning, we got up too late for church, and Nan said, “I think that is going to be the last wedding I’m going to let you attend for you get too excited and worked up. I’m afraid you will hurt your self not to mention me.”

I didn’t dare answer her and changed the subject; “I wonder where Doc and Luann have made it to.”

She said, “Forget about them come on back to bed and let’s catch up on our sleep.”

It was Ma’s idea to move to town for she liked the idea of not having to do all of the farm stuff; the milking and feeding all the animals, the canning and dealing with the hog killing and curing the ham and sausage.

Using the scrub board and boiling the clothes to get them clean was a backbreaker.

Dr Lester keeps up on all of the new inventions and he got me a washing machine as they called it.  I have had a washer woman come over and wash most of my clothes and I hated to get rid of her so she still comes and runs the new machine as Dr. Lester taught her.

Ma said, “I just go down to the store and buy whatever I need to cook instead of having to put it up and store it in a pantry.  I can even buy Polk Salad all year round in a can.  I almost feel guilty life is so easy.

We have a couple acres and that is no problem to take care of.  Pa likes to have a garden and raise a few things like green beans and turnips.  He still has his dogs and they have taken to city living.

At first they barked at everyone who went by but have settled in and now mostly just watch people.  Once in awhile Pa can’t stand it any longer and he hitches up the buggy and he and the dogs head for the home place.

He makes the dogs ride in the buggy with him until they get out of town and then he lets them get out and hunt along the way.  He misses the old place but is glad to get back to town and sit on the porch with the dogs.  

When he was on the farm he always kept his shot gun along side himself and it is one of the habits he can’t seem to break.  You will always see the shotgun within arms reach.  It is clean and loaded.  As time went by the word got out about the shotgun and nobody bothers anything on our place while others miss something every so often.”

One of his old horses got sick and had to be put down. They were such good friends and been together so long I put him down instead of Pa having to do it.

I took Pa out to the ranch and had one of the cowboys round up a few of the horses.  Pa picked out one that had a few years on him.  He said he didn’t want a young horse that was too full of life to match up with his other horse for it would be too hard for the older horse to keep up with him.

I agreed that made good sense for they would be miss matched.

Matt and Mark are both wanting to go hunting and fishing more often nowadays. When I couldn’t push them off on grandpa I ended up doing what I loved as a kid but have less interest in lately.

At least they can bait a hook with dough balls though worms are yet to be mastered.  

Matt thinks his dogs are the finest dogs alive.  In the daytime it is squirrels and rabbits and night hunting is… well our last episode must have been hunting for skunk for that was what we found.

The two dogs, the two boys, and their father were banned from entering the house.  My kind wife threw some clothes out the back door and demanded that we burn our clothes.  I hated to see some of those clothes go for I had them since I was a teen.

We couldn’t go wash in the river for it had ice around the edges and the well was just a little better.  We built a fire under the hog scalding tub and jumped in before it got too hot. The bottom was so hot you had to keep your feet moving in order not to burn them.

Well for the next four days I couldn’t go to work, and the kids had to stay with me in the barn.  We kept burning our clothes and putting on fresh ones.

Nan said she was going to the church and beg for some old clothes for us.

After the fourth day we weren’t completely over our adventure but Nan let us back into the house though I had to sleep in the office.

The boys never mentioned going night hunting again and it wouldn’t have done them any good anyhow.

When I was a kid “It didn’t matter” if I got skunked but now it does matter.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 21 Land Good for Sheep

Sheep and Lambs
I had one of my share croppers, Josh who was successful a successful farmer go over all of my families properties that were being sharecropped.

His opinion was that some of the ones that I bought at the tax sale couldn’t be successfully farmed.  I told him I was giving them two thirds of the earnings.

He said, “You could give them one hundred percent and they would still go hungry.”

I told him that I didn’t go over the property before I bought it and that was the reason I was having him do it.  

He said, ‘They are large in acreage but the soil is too rocky and hard to cultivate. About a fourth of it could be used for hay but the rest is just good for pasture.”

He laughed and said, “You could become the biggest goat rancher in the county.”

I had to laugh with him at that for that wasn’t my cup of tea so to speak.

“Okay,” I said, “Let’s get serious and decide what to do to make this profitable.”

“All told you have three hundred acres that you could graze and about fifty good for whatever kind of hay you wish to sow.  It would seem that sheep would be your best bet for they will give you two shots at making money. Their lambs and the wool they would produce.”

“What would that entail?” I asked.

“Except for the hay fields pull down all the fences so they could range the whole property.  You might see if the properties next to yours would be for sale thereby increasing your grazing area and being able to increase the flocks.”

I told him, “You sure have a handle on this problem.  That only leaves a couple of issues to deal with.  One is to find experienced hands to handle the sheep and what to do with the people who are trying to farm the land now.

I don’t want to just run them off for they have enough problems as it is.  I’m going to leave it up to you to figure out how to locate sheep to stock the land and find the needed help.  Then I will see what I can do about getting jobs for the men in the families that will be displaced.”

Josh said, “You know I have the place I’m sharecropping for you to keep up and I don’t know if I can spare the time to do what you want me to do.”

I suggested, “You have two grown sons that can handle the place when you are away.”

He agreed they were already doing a lot of the work and he would still be there most of the time after everything was setup.  

I said, “You can probably use the extra money you will be earning for your services.”

He said that was an understatement for as the kids were getting bigger it was costing him more to care for them.

I sent Josh to tell the farmers that they were no longer needed and to come and see me. I sent two of the families to the oil fields where Jake said he could use them.  

One went to work at the locker and butcher shop for he had a lot of experience in butchering.

Another was to handle the production of the hay fields.  Then there was two who had enough of farming and were returning back East.

Nan said, “You trying to help those people turned out to be a large task.”

I had to agree with her on that one but the end result was we were now in the sheep business and I could see where it was going to be profitable.

As time went by it was a pleasure to ride by and see the fields with the sheep grazing and making money for the workers and the family.

We had an event that got the attention of the town’s people which was a new doctor named Dr. Samuel come to town.  Our doctor was so busy you could hardly get in to see him so a new M.D. was welcomed.

People still flocked to our old Dr. but the new doctor was getting the over flow.  After six months there was some grumbling about the new doc wanted to operate on people a lot more than the old one did. He was quick to want to open people up and oft times he wasn’t too successful.

I decided to send Dr. Lester, my brother-in-law to the big city to check on the doctors past.  Where he was supposed to be from and check him out.

Information was hard to come by but at the hospital he discovered that he had his license taken from him for performing unnecessary operations on patients.  This was an eye opener.  

When he came to our town he just opened an office and started doing business.  He had all kinds of official looking certificates of graduation from the best schools of medicine so we never looked any farther.  

Doctor and Nurse
courtesy photobucket
I went to the local hospital and talked to a couple surgical nurses and asked about the surgeries that he had done and if they seemed to be necessary.

For the most part they had to be done.  There were one or two that might have been questionable but some things you don’t know until you open a person up and then a hard decision needs to be made.

I went and had a long talk with the doctor.  He had admitted he had made a mistake in one or two cases but he said truth be known every doctor has done the same but it isn’t brought to light.

He acknowledged that he had one case where the operation wasn’t necessary since he has been here but the problem was caused by the lack of diagnostic equipment at the hospital.  He said medicine is at the stage where you proceed on an educated guess while risky it is all we have at present.

After talking to him for three hours I was convinced that the punishment was too harsh and brought about by the politics of the governing board.  

Everyone admitted he was one of the best doctors in practice today but had lost his license to practice medicine.  

He said their censure had nothing to do with his ability to practice medicine and he thought he could get away with setting up an office here in our small town.  I figured I was a pretty good judge of character and we should give this man a chance for we needed a good surgeon on staff at the hospital.

I had Dr. Lester to start working on getting Dr. Samuel reinstated and his record cleared.  We hired a couple of lawyers who liked to sue institutions and after they talked to the review board, Dr. Samuel was restored and licensed to practice medicine.

We never let all this become known in town about what was going on and Dr. Sam kept doctoring while we cleared the matter.  I went over and told him we expected his best efforts and would, “Beat the hell out of him” if we discovered any funny business.

He assured us that he understood what we meant and was prepared to give us his best and he said I want to settle here for good and will be looking for a wife to help me.

I must confess that last part leaked out and all a sudden Doc Sam was inundated by the women who considered themselves marriageable material.

Jake had sent Luann, one of his daughters to college and she just graduated and was staying with us for awhile.

I had nothing to do with what happened next for I stayed as far away from being a matchmaker as I possibly could.  Nan was another story.  

She considered herself to have knowledge of who should marry who in our town and as it just so happened the Doctor was being asked to dinner almost every night.

He couldn’t resist our chef’s cooking, so he showed up each time he was invited.

Nan made the kids eat in the kitchen and that left Me, Nan, Luann and the doctor at the main table.  The doctor and I concentrated on eating our food while Nan and Luann carried on a conversation.

Nan would bring up the subject of marriage as often as she could.  Some of he lead-ins would be like, “Dr. Samuel at what age do you think a girl should be wed, take Luann for instance.”

Or “Dr. Samuel do you want children and what kind of a mother do you want for them?”

This went on for about three months and as soon as I and the Doc was finished I would get us out of there.

Now I did observe that the Doc was turning down many of the invites from mothers of daughters and was instead coming to our house.  I supposed he was looking favorably on Luann.

Then after our meal on a Saturday night in June he spoke up and said I would like to ask Luann to be my wife if she is willing.

I was dumbfounded.  This had to be the strangest courtship ever.  The thought came to mind, the chicken dinner courtship.

I had to hush Nan up so Luann could answer.  Nan considered it a done deal but I wanted them to discuss it and be sure they were in agreement about this whole thing.

I had to all but drag Nan out of the dining room so they could have some privacy.  Nan had her ear at the door trying to hear but they spoke in whispered tones and after an hour they announce they had decided to wed but…

I could see it in Nan’s eyes, “No, no no, buts.”

We want to have a courtship and get acquainted without the chicken holding sway.

Nan had been holding her breath and finally started to breathe normally again after hearing what the “But” was.

After Doc had left Nan had to know how long the courtship would be.

Luann said, “A month or six weeks and if everything goes well we will be married then.”

I supposed if it took a little longer “It don’t matter” but Nan didn’t see it that way.


Monday, January 27, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 20 Treat People Fair

Ready for Business
courtesy free clip art
It has been over three months since we went to the big city and signed the agreement for our new locker and butchering plant.  Tomorrow it will be completed and we will be open for business.  We don’t expect to do a lot of butchering for most ranchers do their own. 

Our trade will come from people who have a small place and raise one or two beefs for their own meat.  

We look forward to the slaughter of a number of pigs though. Seemed like the whole town wanted to see the new facility.

The lockers were being rented as fast as we could fill out the papers. Between the Ice house, the butcher shop, and the lockers we had the cold storage business sewn up. 

Jake’s older girls, Mae and June wanted to return to our town and work in the new business; they had enough of the smelly oil fields and the smelly guys.  The chaps made a lot of money but most were uncouth, hard drinking and bad mouthed.  Their women were treated very badly and they didn’t want to end up like that.

One other reason for coming back was grandma and grandpa.  They didn’t like not being able to see them.  The girls moved in with grandma for the house they lived in was plenty big for all of them.  They made grandpa feel special and he ate it up. 

Elle’s husband George was in charge of the shop and he was straight forward with the girls and said family or not you must do your job in a business manner.

It would be a shame if I had to tell your dad you were trying to take advantage of the fact you are family and not measuring up.  They said they understood and all they needed was some instruction and they would do their job.

He said, “Good, remember you are representing the family and all of us will be judged by how you conduct yourselves.  It takes a life time to build a good reputation and only a few mistakes to destroy it.”

I could see that George was a good choice for the manager’s job for he knew his business.

I received a call from the ranch foreman and he said there was some trouble on the ranch and perhaps I should come out before they took it upon themselves to handle it. 

Matt wanted to go with me and I said okay but he would have to lock the dogs up because they would be fighting the dogs on the ranch and I didn’t have time for that.

For some reason they didn’t like each other and had been fighting since they were pups. 

When Matt and I arrived at the ranch house the foreman’s wife gave us a cold drink which was welcomed and the foreman’s wife entertained Matt while I looked into the problem they were having.

We went out on the ranch and found where one of our young cows had been killed and partially taken for the meat leaving most of it to rot.  The thief only took what they could eat before it would start to decay and not be fit to eat.

To me this was extremely serious for the animal was worth a lot more for breeding purposes than for meat and to be wasted like that caused anger to rise up in me.

My ranch hands all wore side arms and I always carried the small but effective pistol inside my coat.  We tracked the rustler back to a share croppers place and called him out. 
Share Cropper
courtesy photobucket
He came out with a shotgun and said what do you want, get off my property.

The hands moved over to the side of the man with their hands on their guns. It was obvious that this was a show down and shot gun or not we weren’t going to back down.

I told the man not to raise his gun or he would be shot before he could aim it.

Then I told him to put it away before his family lost their father.  He laid his weapon down and then wanted to know why we were there. 

I told him to stop his foolish talk for he knew why we were there.  That cow he slaughtered was worth more than he would earn all year and now I wanted to know how he intended to pay for it. 

His wife and five or six bare footed kids came out on the porch and looked like they were hungry.  It was a pitiful sight but I still wanted to know how he justified killing an expensive animal.

He said I had to feed my family for they were without anything to eat for days.  He went on saying the farm’s owner was taking most of the earnings from the place and not leaving enough for them to live on.

After looking at his wife and kids I decided something needed to be done for it looked like he was hard working yet was about to starve.  I told him to hitch up his wagon and meet me in town at the feed store and bring his wife and kids.  Later that day they showed up and I had some food ready for them to eat.

Nan was there so I told her to take them down to the church and get the children some used clothes that would fit them.  Then we loaded up enough food for them to get by for a month.  I said don’t waste this and make it stretch as far as it will.  I haven’t taken you on to raise and this is just a little charity.

I also told him to leave my cattle alone or the consequences wouldn’t be pleasant. 

As they left with clothes and food I told him I would see if I could get him a better deal with the owner of the farm. 

In the past I had met the farmer who owned the farm and instinctively didn’t like him.  He had several properties and treated all his share croppers the same way.  He would be off on vacation trips enjoying himself while his workers were having to do without the bare necessities.

Something occurred to me that he being gone most of the time he might be negligent in keeping up his taxes and I was right.  His properties should have been sold for taxes long ago. 

When I questioned the assessor he said the owner was good for the back taxes and when he got around to paying them he would do it.  I went and brought Judge Larson down and he asked why these properties hadn’t been sold according to the law. 

I told the Judge you should be put in jail for your neglect of your duties.

Judge Larson said these properties are for sale to the first bidder as of now.

I thanked the Judge and invited him over for Sunday dinner.  I said I want all of the delinquent properties right now and gave him a check for the full amount.  He gave me a temporary deed until they were registered to me and new deeds drawn. 

The next few days I went to each of the farms and introduced myself as the new owner.  After talking to each of them I said there was a new deal in the offing and from here on they would get two thirds instead if the less than a quarter of the earnings.

I told each of them they were not getting the most out of the farms for there was greater potential there. 

I had a successful share cropper on one of my places to show them how they could increase their crops output without any more labor. 

I knew that when the former owner heard he had lost his properties he would have to be dealt with. 

He came in to see me with a myriad of threats.  I stood nose to nose with him and asked, “How would you want to fight this, in the courts or right here and now?” 

He looked as if he wanted to hit me but didn’t try it.

I was a little disappointed for I would have liked to whup him for the way he was treating his workers but he decided he didn’t want any part of a beating now or in court.

Normally Jake would have handled something like this but he had taught me enough for me to deal with it properly.

Some might say “It don’t matter” how he treated his people but I say it does matter.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

IT DON’T MATTER Chapter 19 Always Changes

free clip art
After the latest round of violence I would like to say “It don’t matter” but it does.

It seems that as soon as one episode is over another begins.  It maybe that our family’s success is what draws people to try to get the advantage over us.  

Almost every kind of method of robbing us of our wealth has been tried and has ended up in violence much of the time.  My family is not the type to roll over and let people run over us.

This is the start of 1900s and I hope before this century is over that all of this evil will be put far from the people living at that time.  It would be a sad commentary if things were the same or even worse.  Surely people will have learned to respect each other by then, and not prey on others in some divisive way.

There are so many new inventions today.  I have water in the house, electric power and finally I had a telephone installed.  Then my brother-in –law who is a dealer said for me to get ready for a new car.

He says my buggy mentality is holding me back.  Well maybe so but I am able to get to where I want to go just fine.  

Bessie is attending school.  She isn’t sure she needs to go but is thinking about it.  

Matt has been more obedient since Ma came and straightened out his thinking. Of course he plans to be a great hunter when he gets bigger.  We may allow him to hunt by himself on our forty acres in about another year.

I go out with him and the dogs about once a week, and it is a lot of fun to watch him try to keep up with the dogs.

The widow woman has worked out and we had her move into one of our extra rooms. This gives Nan a chance to get out among women her age and talk about things of interest without the kids interrupting her every minute.

As for me I am satisfied to go down to my little office and watch the people go by. Some are very animated when they talk and even more so when someone disagrees with them.

When it gets real hot, it is nice to go down to the ice house and cool out for a while.  

I think Alice is going to have another baby soon.  Either that or she is putting on a lot of weight in a hurry.  I think Nan should have a talk with her about seeing the doctor about how to not get pregnant so often.

Baby Mark is expressing his likes and dislikes and wants to be more independent.  He sees Matt out playing with the dogs and can’t understand why he can’t rough house with them also.

Every three or four weeks I take the boys out to the ranch to see the cattle and some new horses we have.  I can see it won’t be long before they will want to be cowboys like the hands on the ranch.  

Matt thinks they are the grandest men alive especially at branding time. They let him help brand one calf and he can’t wait until he can help with the entire yearly job.

This brings us to Ma and Pa.  Ma has grown tired of the country life now that the kids are gone except for short visits.  She is casting her eyes toward the town life where the milk is delivered in bottles instead of going to the barn and getting it.

Elle and her husband are moving back but will locate in town and Ma wants to be near “Her Baby.”

Pa is content to live out his days on the farm where he has been for all these years.  He gets up early like he always has and checks to see if everything is running smoothly.
The thing is that most of the work there is being done by hired hands and Pa isn’t needed with the hard work anymore.

It is hard to admit that your time has passed and the younger generations have taken over.

This is difficult for me   for it concerns the two people I owe my very existence to.  It is going to get serious if some solution isn’t found soon.

Nan suggested that I have Sammie go and talk to Pa and tell him that he needs help at the feed store and the ice house is demanding more of his time as days goes by.  That sounded good to me, I just had to convince Sammie that it was a good idea.

Sammie was debating the issue and I was about to give up when Alice spoke up and said. “Go” and get your folks.  We have a house that is vacant and they can move in there.

The moved entailed a lot arguing about what to take with them.  I took the first load and left it up to Sammie to sort everything out after that.

Thankfully they were settled in by the end of the day.  Sammie finally had to promise to go back and get anything they wanted.  Only then would Pa consent to leave.  

After a few days Pa began to get involved in the workings of the feed store and he liked the ice house especially.  He had a chair in there and would sit and watch the ice freeze or so he said.  I think he just like to be in there where it was cool.   Another thing that helped his transition was he knew almost everyone who traded there.

A salesman came by and just about convinced Sammie that he should put in a butcher shop and a locker for keeping meat frozen.  He explained how it would keep the meat from spoiling and that he could rent the lockers to people who killed their own beef.

Afterward he talked to me about it I researched it and got all the information I could. Since Pa was helping out at the store I suggested that we go to the big city and see what they had to offer in the way setting up both a butcher shop and a locker system.

As soon as Nan and Alice heard about our plans to go to the city, they started to make plans to go also.  They told Elle and the three of them took over the agenda.

I told them to go and do what they wanted to do but me and Sammie had business to take care of.  We went to several lockers and got their opinion of who they thought were the best people to deal with in setting up a plant.

We contacted the one most recommended and they were very helpful.  They suggested that they send someone out to our place and design a plant that would meet out needs now and the future.  By the time they were done explaining their system we were convinced to go ahead with the project.

We were ready to go home but the girls were just getting started with their shopping. Then at night they wanted to go and see the Vaudeville show.

I must admit we had an enjoyable time and experienced some new and tasty food.  We gave them one more day and then it was go home time.

When I saw all the stuff they bought I went down and bought some crates to pack the stuff in and then had to hire a wagon and a couple of strong men to haul them to the train.

They had bought something for everybody even for Jake and his wife and Clayton and Ada.  I said to Nan that you know they don’t live in town any longer don’t you?

She said, “Oh, didn’t we tell you. We girls are going to visit them at the oil fields and will take the things with us.”

I said, “You know I can’t let you be gone for very long don’t you?”

She just laughed and said, ‘You won’t die because you survived while I was getting over the birth of Mark.”

I said, “Somehow that don’t make me feel much better.”

The next day was busy.  The girls packed up all the kids and left on their visit.  

The man, Ralph from the locker manufacture’s arrived and for three days we were busy laying everything out.  It was decided that the new facility be incorporated into the ice house which save quite a bit of money.

He left us with sketches and was off, back to start the actual manufacturing of our equipment.  He said by the time spring was over we would be in business.

We decided Elle’s husband George would be put in charge of this part of the operation. He wasn’t much of a butcher but could handle both sales and the business end.

George kept in contact with Ralph as to when the construction would start and to our surprise he had the construction crew on the way.  
They planned to do business with the local merchants as much as possible for this would save a lot of waiting for material and it made for a better relationship with the local people.

Years later I would hear one of the local merchants say I supplied what ever it was for this locker.

After a few days I used the phone to call Nan and said, “Please come home I need you badly.”

She said, “Alright I think our visit is about over, we have talked about everything we can think of.  I’ll see you in two days.  Can you last that long?”

I said, “I think so, but some of the flirty girls are looking better than when you were here.”

She said, “Maybe I better make it tomorrow.”  We had a good laugh at our bantering back and forth and after saying our “I love you” we hung up. I was looking forward to seeing Nan and the kids.

The dogs were missing Matt. They couldn’t understand where he went to, leaving them alone for they went where ever he did.

Some would say “It don’t matter” if dogs are lonely, but it does.