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Location: Clearwater, South Carolina, United States

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KS - The blue box - 2

Another keepsake in the blue box is a small cardboard container that once contained 50, 22 caliber Rifle cartridges. Within this is three somewhat corroded 22 cartridges and two sets of rattles that were very unceremoniously and indelicately removed from the non-serious ends of slain venomous vipers. This happened in 1959 as well, when a friend and I were varmint shooting a few miles out from the city of Great Falls, Montana, just before I joined the Army.

Besides the two rattlesnakes, several other varmints either came to the end of their career or were greatly affrighted by a closely passing projectile. Being young and ignorant of many things, our motto was: If it moves, shoot it! Of course this did not apply to people, but there were very few of those around, as it was in an area called the “badlands”, mostly sand, rocks, scrub trees and weeds.

The main target of our varmint shooting was a furry mammal called a “rock chuck”. The ranchers in that area had to pile their hay very high – about like a two-story building – to be able to get to it in the deep snow in winter. The “rock chucks” thought the hay piles were a great place for a home and burrowed all through them. This left a certain odor on the hay and the cows were then very reluctant to eat it.

Thus the ranchers were glad to have anyone come along and rid their hay of these “rock chucks” – though in this case they would have to be called “hay chucks”. My friend and I were only too happy to oblige and created havoc among the hay varmint population. That was then and this is now – I even have trouble shooting crows stealing fruit from my trees in the yard. I mostly just shoot to scare them away – though I accidentally did kill one last year, and gave it a proper burial - but I won’t go into the grisly details of that.

The aforementioned memorabilia reminds also that this was a time of running – away from God. It didn’t seem to be a conscious thought process, but somewhere along that time I determined to find out what was so bad about “the world” and why all the Sunday School lessons and sermons had warned so much against living like that. It also brings to mind the power of prayer – those of my Mom and Dad for my safekeeping. Most of all it showed to me – after the fact – the power of the Grace of God in keeping me, and three years later rescuing me from myself.

To be cont’d - - - ec


Blogger Bonita said...

I wonder if your rock chucks are what we called 'woodchucks' - I can't imagine what you are describing. In the rodent family?

I grew up in Great Falls, and I remember reaching down into a gopher hole to get a pet...I turned him loose after using a rope snare.

2/21/2006 05:03:00 PM  
Blogger adannells said...

I have a kept all my journals from since I was fifteen. It has only been 6 1/2 years but it is still great to look through them and read how I viewed the world then. I know it will be nice to have them when I am older and have grandkids. They will probably get a kick out of reading them. They also help me to see how much I have grown in my relationship with the Lord. Sometimes I am amazed at how silly I was and I bet in another 5 years I will look back on now and think the same thing.
But I think it is wonderful to keep little keepsakes that remind us of where we have been.

2/21/2006 06:32:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - These would seem to be one in the same animal, or a very close relative, rock chucks are just what they called them at that location. When were you in Great Falls? I was there about a month in the summer of 1959.

adannells - By all means treasure your journals and for the reasons that you mentioned. I so wish that my interest in writing had come at an earlier time in my life. Would have especially loved getting the personal history of my Mom and Dad. Hopefully our written history will keep us from repeating mistakes in the future. ec

2/21/2006 10:54:00 PM  
Blogger Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

I have no box like yours. Sometimes I rather wish that I did.

2/22/2006 01:08:00 AM  
Blogger madcapmum said...

When I was a kid, we lived on an acreage and the magpies made morning hideous with their screaming. My dad got some kind of light shotgun and was determined to shoot at them to scare them away, but I don't remember that gun ever being fired. My mum said he was a terrible shot and just gave it up after a few tries.

2/22/2006 09:43:00 AM  
Blogger mreddie said...

SSN - Box or no, I am determined to chronicle as much of my life and experience as I can for the sake of my young ones coming along.

MCM - Scaring was my usual exercise as well and I don't know who was surprised the most when he fell to the ground, possibly me. ec

2/22/2006 02:53:00 PM  
Blogger Bonita said...

I was in Great Falls from 1945 to when I graduated in 1962...went to collge at the U of M in Missoula, lived in Kalispell for 5 years before we moved here....

2/22/2006 08:49:00 PM  
Blogger mreddie said...

bonita - That is so awesome, we were there at the same time - may have even seen each other in passing. I was there for about a month in the latter part of June and almost the whole month of July in 1959. ec

2/22/2006 10:45:00 PM  

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