Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 10: The year of the big flood down the Boulder Creek

The spring of 1936 was the year of the big thaw after a winter of heavier snow in Boulder than anybody had seen in a long time. Men working on the Spectacle Lake reservoir on top of the mountain were forced to stop before they could complete the dam as they had expected to do if it had been a normal year. Nor had the spillway been built. The spring of 1937 followed another snowy winter and there were rumors the reservoir was leaking which nobody took too seriously. 
After the snow finally started melting on top of the mountain an excited caller on our telephone told us that the unfinished dam had broken! A huge flood was on its way down the Boulder creek. It would be roaring down the west fork of the Boulder to where the east fork and the west fork joined, so frantic calls were going out to everybody who had ranches along the Boulder creek. Mother and Dad were very concerned because the King ranch bordered the Boulder creek, but the old ranch house had been built on the hill for the very purpose of not being on the creek bottom where floods in the days before most of the water had been diverted by a pipeline and dams were much bigger.
We had been used to seeing the bridges swept away from time to time. In fact the main highway bridge into Boulder had just been rebuilt and because it had been designed by engineers to last, it was claimed with great satisfaction that no flood would take out this bridge.  
The cheese factory house had been built on the creek bottom toward the east, so Mother and Dad jumped in the car with Margie, baby LaRae, and me to rush off to checkout the flood. When we got to Boulder the flood had not arrived yet. The river bottom was so quiet and peaceful we all had trouble believing a flood was really on the way. My Uncle Crae came from the Boulder side meeting up with several other young men and they walked up the creek aways.  
Suddenly Mother looked up and saw the flood coming in the distance and started screaming at Crae and the others to get out of the creek bed fast! They looked up and saw what they said was a giant wall of water bearing down on them and were soon running east as fast as their legs could carry them.
I looked and looked and could finally see it. It looked like a huge writhing dragon gobbling up the trees and rolling big boulders with a roar like I had never heard before or since. We raced back up the hill west toward Salt Gulch. 
The flood roared by us throwing the new bridge up in the air like it was made out of matchsticks. We ran further back up the hill for fear the brown muddy dragon might devour us. Margie was so frightened she jumped up and down and screamed to the top of her lungs. Mother, of course, was ready to slap her out of her hysterics until Daddy stopped her.

I could not believe how the creek bottom looked after the flood had gone roaring by. It was almost completely denuded of all the beautiful trees that had been growing there for years. Big boulders that had never been there before were evidence of the power of the flood waters that had deposited them. The creek bed looked very ugly to me now when I thought of how many hours we had played in the water when it was low, catching tadpoles, covered overhead by a canopy of green we had taken for granted. I felt like crying.
But the adults were all saying well at least nobody has been killed even if it might take another fifty to a hundred years for it look like it did before. 
 The towns people were still determined to build the Spectacle Lake reservoir so pretty soon men went to work to build the dam back to preserve precious water that was flowing down the creek going to waste when it could be stored and used to save somebody's crops when there was a drought.  

The creek bottom came back enough by the time Crae was called on his mission two years later, that he baptized me in a pond that had been dammed for the purpose of swimming. I can remember some green that had revived and a tree or two that had not been uprooted entirely. But nobody was ever going to forget the biggest flood that had ever come down the Boulder creek in anybody's memory, thanks to the town which had more or less caused it by not quite finishing the reservoir before Mother Nature went on a rampage and dumped record snow falls on top of the mountain.

You can never predict Mother Nature. I had been terrorized many times already by flash floods. Sometimes we would have to wait a day before we could cross the Escalante river half way between Escalante and Boulder when it flooded. The bridge in Calf Creek which flowed down a canyon into the Escalante had been washed out many times by flash floods. The natives all knew a rainstorm in canyon country where the water had no place to go would cause a flood, but still the saddest stories I ever heard were about impatient people who tried to beat a flood and  brought eternal sorrow on their families when somebody didn't make it out of the roiling waters.
Canyon country and floods went together, and after the Boulder Creek flood I was especially worried my dad would be one of the impetuous fathers who could not wait to cross an uprising and drowned his whole family in a flood in his eagerness to get to town to buy a bottle.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 9: Bill, the hired man, grabs me and makes me go down into the corn with him!

I had not been paying the slightest bit of attention to Bill. I had been interacting with hired men since I was born. My Grandpa King was known for giving wandering transients a job, a bed, and some good food to eat, so there was always someone I did not know working for him. He seemed to like to talk to men from the outside world as did my dad who had partied up and down the state with a lot of men.
I was sure that whatever went on in the old falling down cabin where Bill lived having sex, if that is what they did, was only a small part of it. Bill was apparently quite entertaining for my dad to pursue a relationship with him when he was sober, but then he had interacted with his own father's hired men all his life, too, so his dad was the one who had undoubtedly given him a taste for enjoying the world through the eyes of wanderers.
I did not even realize Daddy had gone somewhere when Bill unexpectedly accosted me out by the corrals where I roamed freely. Margie was given to allergic attacks out around the hay so she wasn't with me. The family had found out she had quite a severe allergy to hay that was probably going to limit her work activities in the out of doors.  The Salt Gulch ranch was a lot more of a hay producing one than Grandpa's Boulder ranch. Alfalfa did not grow nearly as well in the sandy soil, so Grandpa only raised wild timothy in Boulder. Mother was already going to help Daddy improve his alfalfa acreage by planting more seed and buying good fertilizer.
Anyway Bill suddenly grabbed me by the hand out by the corrals and said, “Do you want to go tend the water with me?” I had never had a hired man ask me to go tend the water, and I was thinking about whether I should agree to go when he started dragging me down around the hill. This forcefulness I definitely did not like and I began to get alarmed. I was even more uneasy when he headed toward the corn with my hand grasped firmly in his. He thrust me down on the ground where the corn hid me.  Then he set down beside me. 

 To my shock he pulled up my dress and I felt his hand slip down inside my underpants. He quickly found my two small mounds and began to caress them. I had been taught very well by hot tempered adults not to say anything when they were doing something to me I thought was very wrong. For a child to argue and resist determined adultgs only seemed to make them more determined. I am talking mostly about my mother here who went crazy if her child objected to her disciplining. She always thought she was being sassed, which was a terrible crime in her eyes. I made myself wait a few minutes before I started to wiggle, saying, “I have to go! My mother is going to be looking for me!”
That thought seemed to make Bill nervous enough that he reluctantly let me up, and I hurried back toward the house. I was feeling almost crippled by what had just transpired. I could not even run very well. I went into the house I think still in profound shock trying to decide what I could do.
My first thought was of Daddy's altercation with the cattle rustler, his former best friend. I decided immediately that if Daddy found out about him molesting me, Bill was as good as dead. I was sure he would not wait for the law to take care of him. 
The law played a very small part in our lives being so far away, in the country seat or somewhere. We had no law officers in Boulder. Besides that, Daddy might think it would be best to take Bill out before he landed in jail. Bill was very nervy and might do a lot of reckless talking when he should keep his mouth shut if he knew what was good for him.  
I just could not make up my mind that what he had done was bad enough to deserve the death sentence, so I didn't do anything for several days. Bill must have interpreted my lack of action as willingness, because he grabbed me again a few days later. This time he went on a little longer with his business in my underpants before I could persuade him I needed to go now, my mother would be missing me. 
Quite a few days went by after the second encounter, and I still could not decide whether Bill should be executed. I thought my mind was going to crack with the strain. So Bill naturally took advantage of me being in such a quandary and grabbed me again! 

As I was sitting down in the corn which by now had grown another few inches so it quite adequately covered us both from view,  I tried to think of the reasons Bill would take such a terrible chance grabbing his employer's little daughter, just barely turned six a couple of days before, for his sexual purposes. I recalled some information I had just heard about Bill.
Mother said that Bill was extremely angry at Daddy because Daddy would not take him to party with him on the weekends. “He hired him to do the chores,” said Mother, “because I told him I would not do them anymore when he was gone. Bill is crazy if he thinks Clyde is going to take an ugly old thing like him to Escalante to party!”
She was almost implying Daddy could find younger and handsomer men to enjoy his company. I was sure she did not know what she was saying, but I began to suspect that after all the attention Daddy had paid him during the winter rage and jealousy over Daddy's weekend partying still going on without him had caused Bill to go crazy and go after me in revenge. He was in such a state that imagining how much pain Daddy would feel if he knew what he was doing to his little daughter gave him more satisfaction than any possible worry about what Daddy might do to him as a result of his crimes.
Well, he could be killed, that is what could happen to him!  I knew now beyond a shadow of a doubt I had to do something before Bill did something even worse. He was actually causing me to have sexual sensations this third time around which I did not know a child as young as I was could have, as stimulated by the fingers of a grown man.
This was finally horrifying enough to help me to remember the danger he posed to me while he was still working for Daddy. In this emergency situation, I came up with a plan. 

I started staying very close to my mother. I kept Margie with me so he would not have the chance grab her. If I went outside I never went further than ten feet from the kitchen door where I would be able to see my mother working.

My constant vigilance was the only thing that paid off. Bill never got the chance to grab me again. As Daddy's interest in him appeared to have waned, he took to killing rattlesnakes about the fields as a hobby. Pretty soon he bragged he had enough to circle his hat. I never thought of a rattlesnake again but what I connected it to Bill, the most poisonous human being I ever ran into or would ever encounter again in my lifetime. 

When I started school that September and I had to ride the bus, I was very worried that Bill might try to way lay me when I got off the bus over the hill from the ranch, so I insisted that Mother and Dad be there to pick me up. When they did not show up I got very angry at them. I would dart along behind the trees, making my way over the hill and down into the ranch as though pursued by a demon. I let them think I was afraid of coyotes but my urgent commands caused them to show up almost every day.
I did not worry about Bill grabbing Margie because once I was gone I figured she would not go out around the corrals for fear of having a hay fever attack. She would stay in the house helping Mother with baby LaRae. I may have even warned her not to go far from the house, I don't remember.

I said nothing to anyone about what Bill had done to me. He worked for Daddy about a year longer and then by mutual consent they terminated their working relationship as well as their socializing one. I was playing once, however, on top of the hill in the middle of the ranch a year later when I was still six, and I looked down and saw Bill and Daddy together shoveling or doing something in the field next to the corn. 
 I glanced back and they had disappeared! I figured Bill had taken Daddy into the corn just like he took me which was tall enough to cover them. Daddy had followed along like an obedient kid.
I had a sudden vision in my mind of Daddy when he was not a lot older than I was following hired men like Bill into the corn or wherever they wanted to take him. Daddy being a boy could not have escaped a hired man hungry for sex as easily as I had, even. I recalled one who worked for the Kings for years who had never been able to find a woman to have anything to do with him. It could have been somebody like him who taught my dad the ways of men with boys. His dad would have made him work in the fields no matter what kind of poisonous men might mess with him there.

About ten minutes later I turned my attention back to the corn field and Daddy and Bill had reappeared and were innocently going on with their shoveling. So that is how Daddy does it, I thought, when he is on his own ranch.  He goes into the tall corn. Daddy seemed to be a very sexually active man at that age, because it would not be long until Mother was pregnant again!
I told Daddy I was sorry I did not think I was old enough to drive Old Pet and her teammate hooked to the hay wagon. I didn't tell him I did not want to work with Bill. I just said I would wait until I was a little older to drive the team, thank you. Daddy did not object. I was a girl after all, and there was plenty for me to do in the house with Mother who seemed a lot safer to me than a rattlesnake like Bill.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 8: How Daddy became two fingered Joe and I find out the good die young

I was concerned when Daddy started to work so hard on the Salt Gulch ranch now that it was going to be his, that his right hand would give him trouble. Daddy only had two fingers on that hand, his thumb and fore finger. The other three had been chopped off in a wreck that he caused.
I don't remember the actual wreck, but I heard about it many times. During the cheese factory days Daddy was going to Salt Lake now and then to take the cheese, and get freight in the truck. My aunt Vesta decided to come and visit her sister and Mom and Dad and asked Daddy if she could hitch a ride with him. 
Oh poor Aunt Vesta! If she had only known more about alcoholics she would not have risked her life or her sanity on a trip clear from Salt Lake to Boulder with Daddy! In those days the trip was much longer than it is now because the road around the east end was so slow, narrow, and twisting, and very slick if there had been a storm on it.
They were driving down the road when Daddy became quite tired or drunk is more like it.  Some versions have a young hitchhiker he had picked up riding with them who disappeared after the wreck, but Daddy decided to trust Aunt Vesta to drive his truck rather than the young stranger. He asked her to take a turn at the wheel for a while as he was probably about to pass out.  She protested saying she had never driven a truck before, but Daddy's drunken behavior was making her so nervous she agreed to change places with him.  She soon got the hang of driving a truck and approached a car going so slowly that she decided to pass it.  
As she was just passing the other car Daddy raised up and saw that she was on the wrong side of the road, so he grabbed the wheel and turned it so sharply, the truck tipped over.  His window was partially down and when he grabbed it to brace himself three of his fingers on his right hand were chopped off when the truck hit the ground.  
Daddy did not even seem aware of how serious the injury was, but he was soon taken off to the hospital to have the dangling fingers cut entirely off and the wound sewed up.  Aunt Vesta was severely bruised all over, but none of her bones were broken.   

Daddy had the nerve to be quite mad at Aunt Vesta because he lost his fingers. This made Mother so angry she tried to beat him up. I am sure Aunt Vesta vowed never to ride anywhere again with my dad, but it was a little too late to prevent the damage done to both her and Daddy.
Daddy was worried he would not be able to do farm work, but he was soon managing everything well enough. His drinking buddies all started calling him “Two -fingered Joe.” That nickname would stick to him for the duration of his years of heavy drinking.
What I didn't like was that I was even destined to be called “Two-fingered Joe” by the mean school boys. 
Little children would ask him what happened to his fingers. My Uncle Vance's little girl was one of them. My mean dad told her that the birds had picked off his fingers, and when she got home she started screaming and crying when some birds swooped down in the yard. She explained she was afraid they might pick off her fingers and that is how they found out what my dad told her, so none of Mother's people were too happy with my dad for years.

What I loved the most about all Mother's brothers was that none of them drank. Her brothers were all good looking guys who loved to dance and party just like Mother did, but they could all get together and joke and laugh without drinking a drop of alcohol! Mother said her brother Guy had once tampered with alcohol but her dad would always go to all the dances, too, usually to play an instrument in the band, and when he saw any of his boys going outside to drink he took them right home.
I know Grandma King could never get Grandpa King out to socialize with the Mormons to a dance. I wonder if it would have made a difference if Grandpa King had acted like Grandpa Wilson did when his sons acted up. Mother and Aunt Vesta were always the life of the party they were such good dancers, but like most Mormon girls they did not even like liquor.

My Uncle Crae came down to visit his Mom and Dad and he came over to the Salt Gulch ranch and worked with Daddy for a while. There was even talk that he might go in with Daddy on the ranch after his mission. 
Grandma and Grandpa Wilson no more than got one son off a mission until they sent another. Guy and his girlfriend had gotten married in high school because there was a baby, my cousin Claudia, on the way, so he and little Uncle Bill were the only ones of Mother's five younger brothers who did not go on a Mormon mission. Crae was glad to go on his mission, which shows how different Mother's brothers were from Daddy and his brothers. 
He even met his wife on his mission.  She was a rare Mormon girl who was so devout she was determined to serve a mission to spread the gospel.  Crae married her before he went into the service. She revealed to the family she was pregnant when he became a crew member of a B29, flying bombing missions over Japan.
Uncle Reed was the only King son who ever went on a mission even though he broke the rules someway and got sent home early. Some Mormon ways stuck, but some of the things he observed people doing caused Reed to imagine a whole bunch of religious people were hypocrites. When he could not take any more deaths, he would say the religious people poisoned these people. I think what he meant was that religion could poison the minds of the people, but his logic was not too clear, so his message whatever it was was pretty much lost on people.

I paid very close attention to Reed however, because I thought he was kind of an oracle. I paid a lot less attention to my Wilson uncles who went on missions, even though you could not get my Uncle Crae angry. He was like my Grandma Wilson. He was not going to quarrel, and he never did that I know of. 
Mother did not take after her mother and brother Crae, but her dad, so she was a fright when it came to getting mad just like he was, but she loved her brothers. She could never be mean to any of them, at least when she was an adult. I would like to bet she gave them enough smacks when they were young they learned to respect her temper just like they did their dad's.
I could not count on any of them cussing her for whipping her kids, but she did not whip us when they were around. 
I did not know that Crae was the Wilson family angel and would not be with us long. He was my only relative on both sides of the family who would die in the war and there were a lot of King cousins who ended up in the service before they were through as well as three of Mother's brothers. Crae never saw his little girl, Trudy, born after his plane was reported missing coming home from a bombing mission.
 It was said of Crae when he was reported missing that he did not have anything left to do to be a real good guy. Margie and I enjoyed having him in Salt Gulch a couple of months before I turned six. He was a good influence on our dad, and we hated to see him go on his mission and right after it to war.
Thanks to him I did not refuse to be baptized. Because he was coming to baptize me before he left on his mission, I swallowed my doubts. When he dipped me in a Boulder creek pond and prayed, I actually felt a connection to God Almighty. That is how powerful my Uncle Crae was.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 7: Daddy goes for his gun to kill a cowboy who rustled his cattle

Sometime that winter Mother, Dad, Margie, and I were driving around Boulder in another used car Daddy had just traded for when he suddenly spotted a cowboy he knew. He stopped the car, jumped out, and ran over and accosted him. This was the first I learned that this cowboy named Carter who was practically Daddy's best friend had rustled some of his cattle! 
Both Daddy and Reed had built up a small herd of cattle from dogies their dad gave them if they would feed them, and Grandpa allowed them to run their cattle along with his in the winter on King Bench and Bounds bench, his winter ranges. Grandpa's brand was a big K, Reed's was a three bar and Daddy's was a lazy eleven.
I guess Carter had stolen the cattle from the winter range. Now he and Daddy were swinging at one another, calling each other all kinds of names. I thought oh oh when Carter knocked Daddy down in the dirt. His brand new Stetson hat flew off. He jumped up and ran to the car and flung open the door.
I am going home to get my gun!” he shouted to Mother. “This SOB is not going to get away with stealing my cattle!!”
What Mother shouted back barely penetrated my mind let alone Daddy's. “What is wrong with you, Clyde?” she screamed, “Carter has just been to court. He has been sentenced to state prison for five years for stealing your cattle. What more do you want?”
Then why is he home walking around like he got away with it?”
The judge let him come home to put his affairs in order.”
I am still going to kill him!”
Oh, don't be so stupid,” said Mother. “You will go to prison if you do.” 
Daddy finally subsided a little from his white hot rage, and Mother made him go back and pick up his Stetson hat out of the dirt. She knew if Daddy lost his new hat, he would just have to buy another one because he never went anywhere without a Stetson hat on his head. 

And I wondered just what gun he planned to kill Carter with.  Maybe he had a six shooter I had not seen, but Mother said no, he was a good rifle shot, and everybody had 30-30s in those days to shoot deer.  
I think Daddy's pride was hurt because he was getting the worst of the fight, but I was very alarmed to hear him actually threaten to go get his gun to kill a man. He had been drinking a little, though, and that always got him more fired up than he should have been. 
 If he had been sober I think he would have found out what was going on instead of running over and trying to beat Carter up with his bare fists. Then too, there was that business of him being his best friend. Like Bill Isabel I wondered? Terrible suspicions had tortured me ever since Daddy had taken to visiting Bill Isabel. Maybe that was why he got so mad he wanted to kill him when he rustled his cattle. He felt doubly betrayed. 
I thought a long time about what I had just seen. What it meant. I wondered, too, if Daddy had read too many wild west stories. I know Carter and his brothers just loved those tales. Maybe that is why Carter decided to become a cattle rustler. But I just could not believe Daddy would consider killing a man over rustling a few of his cattle. 
Alcohol already had unhinged his mind a little bit I thought. If he had actually had a gun in the car which country men often did, he might have shot Carter! Especially if Mother hadn't been along to talk some sense into him.
Mother had a hotter temper than Daddy did, but she did not drink, thank goodness. I was beginning to wonder whether Daddy could stay out of prison! It seemed to me like people put people in prison around there for mighty little. Five years seemed like a long time for a man to stay in prison when his being from a poor family and not having any money might have caused him to steal another man's cows. 
I hoped Carter was not as mean as Daddy. If he was, after he brooded in prison five years, he might come out and shoot Daddy! 
Oh why had I been set down to live in the last frontier of the wild west? Boulder was the last town in the United States where the mail was delivered by mule, and my two uncles, Reed and Max, had had the mail contract. I saw them come into town leading a string of mules just before Max got killed riding in a rodeo with grounds where the rocks had not even been cleared.
What was going to happen next in the wild west? I hoped my family and I could survive being born in an era where danger lurked around every corner. 

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Memoir: Chapter 6: Mother throws potatoes when Margie and I put off mopping a great big floor in the old Salt Gulch ranch house

When Mother thought she was close to having her third baby, Daddy drove her to Boulder and dropped Margie and me off to Grandma King's. Mother's brother Crae was visiting, and he was going to drive her to Escalante to stay with Grandma and Grandpa Wilson. Grandpa Wilson wasn't actually going to deliver her baby, but he was going to be standing by when the CCC doctor was called. 
Mother had Grandpa deliver Margie in the old ranch house because she said she trusted him to know what to do more than she did the Salt Lake doctors when she could not go into labor. I thought it very strange for a daughter to ask her father to deliver her baby, but it saved money, so I supposed it was okay. They did a lot of things in the old days we would not think proper now. Grandpa Wilson was also very strong and could do more than a mid wife might be able to do with a problem in the birthing.
But just when Mother needed to get to Escalante the worst way a heavy snow storm dropped four feet of snow on the roads. Crae finally ended up harnessing a team and taking the buckboard to Escalante. They trusted horses more than a Model T in deep snow! 
Mother said even that was plenty scary when crossing the Hogsback which at the time was only wide enough for a car with canyons dropping off on either side. 
Grandma King's brother Dave was visiting from Montana, traveling with them to see if he could be any help, and she said he told her how brave she was to cross the Hogsback in such terrible weather. He kept looking off each side into the canyon and saying they did not have roads like that in Montana!
Don't get me started on the lower road into Boulder. I hated that awful road. Daddy scared me so many times on that road it is a wonder I lived to be a grown woman. No don't let me rant about the bad roads! We have a baby sister to get born here!
Mother got along fine giving birth to this baby, but when Daddy called to see if he had a son she had to tell him no but this baby had the most hair on her head anybody had ever seen on a little girl. Daddy was disappointed anyway, but Mother said she and Daddy did not deserve a son. He would have ruined one. I was not sure by then but what he wouldn't.

Daddy took us to town to pick up Mother when she was ready to come home, although I doubt if she was ever really ready to come home to Salt Gulch and the primitive conditions we had to put up with over there. Especially with a new baby.
Mother never nursed her children. She was a big believer in formula but I think she just did not like babies that close to her. But she was very conscientious about making the formula just so and boiling diapers. Margie and I sort of left her alone as much as we could and played outside as she was always short tempered when she had more to do.

Besides I was busy getting acquainted with all the animals of Salt Gulch. I knew we wouldn't be able to pet a baby until she was a lot bigger. I was absolutely fascinated with Old Pet the  swaybacked work mare who had been part of the main team for years in Salt Gulch. Her back swayed so deep I didn't see how she could work with such a handicap. Her back must have hurt her something terrible after a hard day's pulling in the fields. Daddy said no, she didn't seem to suffer from her swayback, as she was the most patient old mare alive, smart and willing to work long hours without protest. 
I knew Daddy hated old Fred, Grandpa King's prize work horse in Boulder. Fred could pull huge heavy loads all day, he was so big and strong, but if anybody the least bit inexperienced tried to handle the team, he would take the bit in his teeth and run away! I heard a terrible pounding down the road one day at the cheese factory house and looked up and saw Fred and his teammate thundering past dragging a wagon that was breaking all to pieces. Daddy was very angry at Fred because they had to spend a lot of time fixing the wagon. He said he would not own a workhorse like Fred! All Fred thought about was running away and trying to get out of work.
But what got me so excited in Salt Gulch was Daddy saying that maybe this summer or next he would let me drive old Pet and her teammate hooked to the hay wagon. I could drive them out in the hay field so the hired man would not have to stop and climb on the wagon and stomp the hay down and drive the team forward. I could not wait! I stopped thinking about horses to ride since Daddy said none of them were gentle enough and started thinking about driving the team come summer. I was sure I could do it the summer I turned six.
I thinking I was so lucky getting in on the last great days of the horse age. Daddy had two teams, although Bess and Betsy, the second team, a pair of black mares, both had gimpy legs, they could still be used to rake hay. Teams were used to mow, rake, plow, and pull the hay wagons. Nobody had bought tractors yet, although Mother was already talking about Daddy buying one. I thanked God the summer and winter ranges were both so rough, nobody would ever be driving cattle with anything but a horse in southern Utah canyon lands. Cowboys would always need to train horses to work with cattle.  
Daddy was always looking for his horse of dreams. Every cowman usually had at least one great cow horse in his life time. Grandpa King's was old Breech, a gray gelding people still talked about he was such a great horse, his faithful mount for years when he was an active cowboy. People talked like old Breech could think just like a man. 
Now Grandpa's favorite mount was the Old Bay Mare. What was so wonderful about her was that you could go up to her anywhere in the fields and slip a bridle on her. Grandpa just dropped her reins wherever he tended the water and she would not stray. You could not teach a horse to do that without a lot of work. Old Bay Mare and her colts just did it. Horses were like people, they all had their winning ways, and were kept for years because they had some trait that came in very handy when punching cattle.
Now we had dear old Pet with her swayback in Salt Gulch who I thought was positively a noble old mare. She had given birth to a big sorrel colt with just a little bit of a swayback. Daddy said that Pat would make a fine work horse because he was Pet's son.
There was even a genuine wild horse some King cowboy had caught chasing horses out on the open range among the riding horses acquired with the Salt Gulch ranch. I asked to ride Darky, but Daddy said, “No!” Old Darky was a great horse to ride on the trail he said, but he was treacherous. He would sometimes buck, especially when he hadn't been ridden for a while. He was a wild horse that never quite took to working that willingly for his captors. 
There was so much to learn on the Salt Gulch ranch, I was busy all day long. Daddy decided to plant a big patch of field corn down around the hill to feed the pigs come winter, so after he did that, of course he had to plant a patch of oats to feed the horses. 
He put Bill, the neighbor who had become our hired man now living on our ranch, to working so hard cleaning ditch he was probably sorry he ever said he would work for Daddy. The Kings were known for getting their moneys worth out of their hired men. They did it by working right along side them and shaming them into about killing themselves to prove they were just as good a worker as their boss.

I also remember Mother throwing potatoes at us that winter when Margie and I failed to mop the kitchen floor after she told us to.  It was such a big floor for a four and five year old to mop, we kept putting it off until Mother finally lost her temper and started throwing a bucket full of potatoes all over the room just as hard as she could.  We kept dodging them as they flew past us.  I thought she would never run out of potatoes to throw at us.  We got a bucket of water and warmed it with the teakettle of hot water on the stove and mopped the floor as fast as we could.