Throwing Rocks

When my grandfather obtained the farm we lived on, he built up quite a large herd of cattle.  He never learned to drive a truck or car; so, when he had a bunch of calves to sell, he would round them up and hire a large truck and trailer to haul them.  

To save a lot of time and bother, he installed a huge drive-on scale in his front yard next to the corral.  After my dad acquired that farm, we no longer needed the scale, which sat idle for a number of years.  To protect the wooden floor of the scale, he built a roof over it, resembling a covered bridge similar to covered bridges which span creeks and gullies in the northern states. Dad enclosed the roof part at the pitch of the roof and, adding a two-foot square door, he had himself a nice pigeon house.  The size of this compartment was about twenty feet long and twelve feet wide.  Grandpa Kana loved pigeons and the pigeons loved this house, so over the years, his pigeon flock numbered in the hundreds. Later, my dad removed the wood floor and dismantled the scale, filling the large hole with dirt and gravel.  He parked his Model A Roadster under the pigeon house.  It made a nice garage and also housed the pigeons.

On many occasions, I would pick up a rock and toss it into the open door of the loft.  Depending on the size of the rock and how hard I chunked it, a large flock of pigeons would fly out of that opening.

There is more to my story. On one occasion I picked up a really big rock, took aim, braced my right foot firmly on the ground and let that huge rock fly.  I thought that rock would really scare those birds.  Problem is I’m the one who got scared.  The rock was just too heavy and my throw didn’t reach the loft and, you guessed it, went right into the back window of that Model A parked under the roof! There was glass everywhere because safety glass still wasn’t invented.  I knew I couldn’t weasel out of this so I readily admitted to dad it was my fault.  I guess the punishment wasn’t too bad because I do not seem to remember just what it was.

But then, this was only one of many times I got into a predicament and can’t remember my punishments.  Most of the time Dad would grab me by the ear, twist it to where I had no choice but to drop to my knees, and calmly ask me if I would do that again.  I would hurriedly answer “No Sir!”

When my dad weaned calves from their mamas, he would keep them separate in a smaller pasture.  On one occasion he told me to round up the calves.  There were about 6 of them and they weighed about 600 pounds each.  The calves were very frisky on this particular day.  I had to chase them into a narrow gate which led into the cow pen.  Each time I got them close to the gate they would bolt outward and run all the way to the back of the pasture.

I noticed a black and white calf was the leader and the one causing the mini-stampede every time they got to the gate.  It was July and I was very frustrated and exhausted by the third attempt.  On the way toward the far corner of the pasture, I picked up a post oak rock almost the size of a baseball.  I promised that black and white rascal if she knew what was good for her she had better act right this time!  

No such luck.  As they all ran into the pen, who should appear at the gate running out?  Sure enough it was that black and white.  

From about fifty feet away as she streaked by, I mustered up all my frustration, anger and pent-up energy and let loose of my baseball-sized rock. I didn’t quite lead her enough and that rock caught the heifer on the inside of her back left leg and broke that leg bone clean in two.  No more problems getting her into the pen after that.  She just very slowly and painfully hobbled in.

Now I had the problem of telling my dad the news.  Right then I felt sorrier for myself than I did for that poor heifer!  I won’t go into detail about the few choice words spoken to me that day. 

 Luckily, it was early in the day and we could take her to Prause Meat Market and have her slaughtered that same day before a fever set in. 

Mr. Prause had sons and grandsons who played baseball and he just couldn’t believe I had chunked a rock hard enough to break that leg.

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Fayette County Record

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La Grange, TX 78945
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