In the Humble Opinion of LittleBill, Socialist, Atheist, and Humanist
Horse Tales

When we moved to Wyoming in 1932, we spent the first summer living on a small ranch in the foothills of the Big Horn Mountains near the tiny town of Story while our home was being built on our ranch. It has been so long since I have been out of California, or even out of a city, that I don’t know if folksy small towns still exist in the West, but I hope they do. Story was a very folksy tiny town, and as easterners who originally came out as dudes, we loved it. One of our closest friends was a little girl who lived in a ramshackle house with a treasure we did not have—a player piano which only worked with foot power, and a collection of much-used rolls of early century music.

The house we lived in was comfortable except for the bane of my existence, hordes of insects. It was a time of extensive drouth over much of the West, with few means of coping with them. My brother and sisters enjoyed chasing me with grasshoppers, because they revolted me. There were also swarms of Mormon crickets moving across the land from time to time. And we had no electricity, only kerosene lamps, sitting in pans of soapy water, in which the clouds of moths would drown horribly. (It is strange that in my later life I have been able to overcome my revulsion with my compassion for everything living, even rescuing flies and spiders.)

We had a corral and a small saddlebarn for our 5 horses and one shetland pony just over a small rise from the house. The saddlebarn was about four feet off the ground, with two large wooden steps leading up to the room in which the saddles were hung on wooden supports. To the left was one more step down into smaller room where feed for the horses and the bridles were hung.

One day, when we came back from the general store, we went down to check on the horses and found them milling about, apparently disturbed by something. Upon looking around, we found that the wooden steps into the saddlebarn, as well as the small step into the tack room had been destroyed. Upon going back into the corral, we saw that our two leader horses, Tex and Spot, were both looking into the air. They reminded me of two vaudevillians, and I swear to God I could hear them whistling.



an average patriot said...

Little Bill
You know I love to read about your childhood! You paint quite a picture and I feel like I have seen it.
I gotta tell you, those towns are stilol out there.When I was working the missile sites while in the military in the early 70s we use to to stop at little towns on the way out that didn't have a paved road or anything.
Just a boardwalk in front of the little store/ meeting place/ breakfast place, just a few old weather beaten house and not even a gas pump. Always wondered how those people survived.
Glad I remember your web address because I just updated my site and now have podcast so you can listen instead of reading and download it to your Ipod or Mp3 but I still have to figure out how to optimize things.
I lost my weblog but am rebuilding it! You take care and we will be in touch!