Sunday, October 23, 2011

Personal Journal of Leland Keith Stoker, Post 5

The Bull
Sometime that fall I experienced something that will go with me to my grave. Dad had accumulated a few more cows by this time. He had enough that it was necessary to have a bull around. The crops had been harvested so the cows and the bull were allowed to run in the fields to clean up whatever crop residue there was. I had been warned to always stay away form bulls because they were very dangerous.
On this particular morning as I prepared to catch the bus, the folks told me that they would not be home after school. They told me to ride the bus up to the Warr's place which was just up the road about a quarter mile. It was a nice sunshiny afternoon and I completely forgot about my morning instructions. After I got of the bus I then remembered what was supposed to have happened. There was no problem. After the books were taken in the house I would walk on up there. I ambled along as only a first grader can and decided to go around the house to the back door.
The back porch door was about midship of the back of the house which was the north wall of the house. As I moseyed around the northwest corner of the house all of a sudden I looked up to see that feared bull coming through the small, east, gate into the back yard. He was almost as close to that back door as I was. With the rationale of a scared first grader I screamed and made a headlong dash for that back door. There was no question in my mind that he, too, was running for that door to get me.
After getting inside I was one frightened boy. We had no telephone and I was sure that if I looked outside through the window that bull would see me and come after me. It is amazing what one's imagination can conjure up. I sat in the middle of the house until it had gotten quite dark. There was no way the the light could be turned on because then that bull could see me. The longer that I sat there, in the dark and quiet, the more frightened than ever I became. Something had to be done. But what?
Walking up to the Warr's was out of the question. The only other choices were to stay there or go across the road to the Niewert's. They lived across and just a little west of our place. The problem was that they were an old German immigrant couple and spoke very little English. I hardly knew them. But they were close. That outweighed all the other negative aspects. I carefully plotted my escape. If I mustered up all my courage and strength, then a mad dash could be made out the south door, across the road, down the road to their place. Maybe my luck would hold and that bull would be on the north side of the house.
With that plan in mind, I dashed out of the house and made it to the Niewert's. I am afraid that I was almost hysterical as I pounded and yelled at their door. They were very kind as they came to the door and realized that something was very wrong. They took me inside and tried to comfort me. That was difficult to do with all the pent-up emotion. Mrs. Niewert then made some tea for me thinking that it would calm me down. That was one of the few words that I could understand, but I knew that I had been taught to not drink tea. She was just as sure that that was what I needed. Fortunately, just about that time Dad and Mom showed up looking for one lost kid. Never did parents look so good or welcome.

Siphoning Gas
Before we moved from Springdale, Dad bought a 1933 Dodge truck. He used it to haul sugar beets and potatoes. It was also our only means of transportation. It was even used as transportation to drive down to Ogden, Utah area to visit relatives. He had gasoline delivered out to the farm by a local fuel dealer for use in the truck. It was the only gasoline powered vehicle on the farm. This was put into a 55 gallon drum.
During the summer after we had moved to Unity, I watched Dad use a piece of garden hose to siphon gas from the drum into a 5-gallon can. He would then pour the fuel into the tank on the truck. This was intriguing to a six year old. I tried it several times but was unable to get the gas to come out. It would start up the hose and I could tell it was coming up. But I couldn't get it to come over the top.
One Sunday afternoon I thought I had it figured out. What needed to be done was to suck harder and longer. I got the equipment in place and placed the hose end in my mouth. Then I exhaled all the air that would go out and then sucked from the very depths of my lungs. Here come the gasoline. Right into my stomach.
That was instant disaster. I was immediately violently ill. After choking and gagging for a few minutes, I could hardly walk or even see and had a terrific headache. Jesse guided me on a staggering trek to the house. Dad and Mom took over and called the doctor. He told them to feed me raw egg whites to make me upchuck. The thoughts of it was almost enough to make it work and the real thing did make it work. Another disaster averted.

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