GENERAL ARTICLES

Old MacLachlin Had a Farm

W. O. MITCHELL September 1 1944
GENERAL ARTICLES

Old MacLachlin Had a Farm

W. O. MITCHELL September 1 1944

Old MacLachlin Had a Farm

W. O. MITCHELL

AS SOON as we got into the yard, I wished we’d come sooner, right away after Mr. Brimacombe said about Old MacLachlin not having his crop in yet. It wouldn't be so good if Old Mac had gone and died without anybody knowing about it. I sure wished Jake and me had come sooner.

Old Mac he wasn’t around the yard; there wasn’t much of anything living there; no dog came out barking; no chickens were strutting around, just a scaldy looking rooster pecking at the bare ground. From one of the crazy fence posts a meadow lark said she was spring a couple of times.

I commenced to think how a farm can get old just the way a human being does, just like old Mac with his grey hair and his mustaches like a couple of grey oat bundles either side of his mouth. All Mac’s buildings had got grey, real grey. She’s sure awful what the prairie can do to a yard that won’t fight back: choke her with weeds; pile her with dust; there isn’t any fence can stand up to prairie long.

“Look at there!” That w'as Jake; he’s our hired man and a tw'o-war veteran. He had hold of my shoulder real tight.

“What?” 1 said.

Jake pointed over to w’here the seed drill was; it hadn’t any wheels on it; they were lying beside it on

the ground. But Jake wasn’t pointing at the drill; he was pointing at Mac’s cow with her udder swelled up, pressing against the sides of her legs. She was pulling some straw's out of some old bundles left in a rack from last fall.

“Come on, Kid,” Jake said.

I was thinking, please let there not be anything happened to Old Mac, and him with Fergus that’s in a prison camp since Dieppe. Jake and me, we’re fussy about Mac. He’s Scotch; he talks with more burrs than you can pick up in a whole day after gophers. Jake and me should have gone over to see him as soon as Mr. Brimacombe, that’s our mailman, came by and said that Sam Botten was angling around to put Mac’s crop in for him. Jake claims when Sam dies they’ll have to keep an eye on the Golden Gate; he says Sam’U steal her off of the post and make another trip back for the hinges.

There wasn’t anybody in Old Mac’s kitchen; there wasn't much of anything except an old cookstove in the middle of the floor. Jake he hollered:

“Mac!”

There W'asn’t any answ'er. Jake yelled again.

I heard some springs creak in the next room, then:

“Aye?”

We w'ent in.

Even under a log-cabin quilt Old Mac looked big; his both legs lay big down the bed; his hair all mussed up from lying there made his head look bigger than she really was. His eyes they were sort of mad-looking, real fierce under those clumpy-looking eyebrows like grey bunches of wolf willow. There was silver stubble growing bristly out of his face.

On the table beside the cot there was his pipe and a plate half full of old porridge. There was a picture of Fergus, too, with a real broad smile and kilts.

“Ennythin’ the matter?” Jake asked.

Old Mac grunted.

“You all right?”

“Aye.”

“Funny time a day fer a fella tuh be takin’ him a lay-down.”

Old Mac just kept right on staring up at us.

“Funny time a day fer . . .”

“I haird ye the furst time. Canna mon no ha’e a rest wi’oot the whole district cornin’ argy-bargyin’ aroon!”

“Nope,” Jake said. “Not if he ain’t gittin’ no crop in this late in thuh spring.”

“Is that so? Do ye tell.” Old Mac had started to sit up, only he lay back real quick like something grabbed him and she hurt.

“Jake grabbed for the corner of the quilt. “Looks like you ain’t ...”

“ ’Tis nothin’ at a’, an’ I’ll ask ye tae ...”

Jake yanked back the quilt. I never saw anybody with a purple leg before; Old Mac’s was, all the way from his knee to his ankle.

“Just a sma’ bruise,” he called it; he said he got it from the drill wheel falling on his leg. When Jake asked him some more questions, we found out the wheels had been taken off, at night. Jake he didn’t say anything for a minute after Mac told him that. Then he said:

“Sam Botten bin around to see yuh?”

Mac said he had.

“Before er after them there drill wheels got took off?”

“Before,” Mac said. “The day before.”

Real slow Jake said, “Now ain’t that funny. What’d Sam want?”

“He came fer tae poot in ma crop. ”

“Whut’d yuh tell him?”

“I’d prefair tae do it ma’sel’.”

Jake he didn’t say anything right away. I knew what he was thinking. He was thinking about a bay mare 15 years ago, the one Sam traded him. Sam said Jake’d be tickled to death to see her pull. When Jake got her home, he found out she couldn’t pull taffy. Jake told Sam about it, and Sam just laughed. He said .she was just the way he claimed; Jake’d be tickled to death to see her pull, and it was just too bad she couldn’t.

Nobody, ever got the best of Sam. He’s one of the kind doesn’t go to the trouble of owning any land; he’s got two tractors and a couple of combines so he can seed seven or eight sections each year. He does her on shares, and he’s always got crops spread clear over Crocus district; whenever anybody’s hard up, Sam he’s right there to put in a crop. The other fellow always gets the short end of the deal.

Sam he makes money other ways too. He buys scrap iron, and horsehair, and pelts, and beer bottles.

Miss Henchbaw, she sniffed at Jake's story tellin'—But that was afore he showed her how to nail a kiyoot with a fancy bit o' history

He’s always offering a person 10 or 15 cents below the going price for skunk or weasel pelts. He’s sure fussy about a dollar.

Jake got up off the side of Mac’s bed. In a real gentle voice lie said, “I figger she’s jist about time somebuddy nailed that there Sam Botten’s hide to a fence post.”

JAKE he started in nailing that night. But right about here is where I better tell how the history got tangled up with what came after. Most of the time at Rabbit Hill 1 don’t do so well with history, because I get most of it from Jake, and Miss Henchbaw, that thinks she knows it all, says Jake doesn’t know his history right. She says it isn’t true Jake wrassled Looie Riel and took Chief Poundmaker’s bow and arrow away from him at Cut Knife Crick. Whenever I write down Looie Riel was a tall, hungry-looking fellow that wore gold cuff links, chewed Black Judas tobacco, and had a rabbit’s foot fob to his watch, she gives me D.

But lately I been getting an H, and that’s because of Old Mac’s coulee, that some folks call Indian Writing Place because on the rocks at the south end she’s all covered over with Indian writing. Most of it is pictures like what the grade ones draw, all mixed up with other stuff, like Imma Shoelack loves Steve Kiziw, and Joe Broomshawe, Broken Shell, 1932; but of course she wasn’t, the Indians did that. Ever since we started taking up when the Indians roamed over the Crocus district, I been spending a lot of time around Mac’s coulee. Whenever I find an arrowhead, I take her to school and get a good mark. Since I started this spring, I’ve found a war club, the red stone part of a peace pipe, two dozen arrowheads, a bone-handled razor, and three dozen beer bottles.

After we moved on to buffaloes, my grades got even better. I found seven skulls half-buried at the foot of

the cliff where the coulee cuts down real sharp. And even if there wasn’t good grades in her, I guess I’d be fussy about Mac’s coulee in spring. Here’s how she is: Still, still as water, with the sun coming kind of streaky through the wolf willow along her edgeswhat you might call stiff sunlight the way she’s full of dust dancing all along her. And when you lie on your belly at the bottom of Mac’s coulee, you’re in a world; she’s your own world, and there’s nobody else’s there, and you can do what you want with her. You can look close at the heads on the wild oats all real feathery; you can look at the crocuses and*they’re purple, not out-and-out purple, but not blue either. If you look real close they got real, small hairs like on a person’s face close to a mirror. And there’s tumbleweeds caught down there; they make you think about umbrellas that got their cloth ripped off of them—like bones, only not stary-white like a buffalo skull. Dead plants are better than anything animal that’s dead.

The day Jake and me found Old Mac with his bad leg, I walked home a ways with Jake, until we came to the far end of Mac’s back 40, where the coulee is. I left Jake, so I could take a look around for more Indian stuff and buffalo skulls. When I got home for supper, Jake he had told Ma all about Mac. After supper she phoned Mrs. Tincher so she could call a meeting of the Women’s Aid and they could rig up a sort of a plan where each one took a day looking after Mac. Right after, Jake phoned Dr. Fotheringham to go take a look at Mac’s leg.

The next day Jake spent the afternoon over at Mac’s putting the seed drill back together. After school I went over to give him a hand.

THE first day two things happened: Sam Botten came over to see Old Mac, and Jake told me about the buffalo jumping pound. I better tell about the buffalo jumping pound first; she’s tied up with what happened to Sam later on. You’ll see what I mean.

I just got back from school, and I said to Jake:

“Jake, I got H in school today.”

“Whut!” Jake straightened up, and he had grease clear across his face. “Has she bin gittin’ after you?” “No, I mean I got a good mark again in history. Brought in a couple more buffalo skulls.”

“Oh,” Jake said, “that’s nice. Whut the heck’s skulls got to do with her?”

“We’re takin’ up about the Indians and the buffalo. Say, Jake, did you ever see a pound?”

“Dang rights. Ain’t I had tuh go git Queen and Baldy outa ...”

“Not that kind. Like the Indians had, where they run buffaloes sc’s they could kill a lot and git meat fer pemmican.”

“Oh. Why shore. A course I seen ’em.”

“What’re they like anyway?”

“Why they’re— uh—she bin tellin’ you fellas whut they wuz like?”

“All she said was they was a sorta place where they run buffalo, herded ’em, then killed ’em.”

“Well, I tell yuh. I seen plenty of ’em, and there wuz one partic’lar kind I—uh — invented myself.”

“Did yuh, Jake?”

“Yep.” Jake was looking off toward the coulee. “Whut they call a buffalo jumping pound—run ’em over a cliff, like—well see that there coulee?”

“Yeah.”

“Why do yuh figger yuh found so many arras an’ skulls round there?”

“Why ...”

“She’s a buffalo jumping pound, the one I’m tellin’ you about, the one I figgered out fer Chief Weasel Tail of the South Blackfoot in the early days.”

“You mean Mac’s coulee!”

“Yep, Mac’s coulee. I can remember her like yesterday.

Weasel Tail he come to me an’ he says, Jake, he says, we gotta have buffaloes. We need her fer meat, an’ we need her fer tepees, an’ we need her fer moccasins. We need her bad, real bad. There’s bin a sorta flint drout around here an’ we’re all outa arras. The pemmican we was savin’ up from last year, the kiyoots got at her. He hitched up his britch clout-—he was a great big slashin’ fella, wore nothin’ but a britch clout— he hitched her up, an’ he says, my braves ain’t touched off but a couple a buffalo fer two months.

couple a What we gonna do, Jake? I

dunno, Weasel Tail, I says; an’ he says, Jake, they’s a lotta bqffalo hangin’ around only we can’t git at ’em. You gotta give us a hand, Jake. She’s got me beat, I says to him: an’ he hitches up his britch clout agin the way it was all the time slippin’ down on account of his belly bein’ so shrunk up not havin’ enny buffalo to eat. Jake, he says, you gotta figger her out fer us. Ef we don’t git no meat fer our stummicks we might as well go throw ourselfs over the side a that there coulee. Well, sir, right there she come to me, she come to me how tuh git them pore Indians some grub inta their stummicks. Weasel Tail, 1 says to him, you go git you all your braves, build yuh a fence anglin’ tuh meet that there coulee where she’s steep, then go round up ever’ buffalo fer a hunderd miles around— herd ’em with a hunderd drags behind and two hunderd swings to the side, trail ’em right into that there coulee, an’ there’s yer grub.”

“Gee, Jake!”

“Buffalo!” Jake said. “You never seen so menny in yore life. Thousands an’ thousands of ’em, thicker’n grasshoppers, large an’ small an’ medium-sized. Cows with their calves a-bellerin’ after ’em, beardy ol’ bulls roarin’ so’s you couldn’t har’ly hear yerself think. An’ dust—-they riz a dust that made her just like night fer 50 miles around. They come on the run, slaverin’ at the jaws ...”

“But if she was ...”

“Stampedin’ like they wuz, the shrink musta bin somethin’ awful on all them buffalo—musta dropped a thousand ton to the milemade a fella shudder tuh . . ”

“With all that there dust how could you see ’em?” “See ’em! There wuz a million red lights a-shinin’ through the dust, a million red lanterns where their eyes wuz, two million bloodshot eyes that lit her up. An’ the smell—she wuz enough tuh give a badger the heartburn—like the inside of a blacksmith shop a mile square with a million blacksmiths shoein’ a million horses that wuz how she' smelled. They wuz runnin’ on smokin’ hoofs rod hot, they wuz coinin’ so fast. An’ then they hit that there cliff when) the fence angled in. They wuz water there in them days. Soon as them buffalo commenced to go over, there come a hissin’ an’ a roarin’ an’ a blowin’ cloud a steam came up from them four million hoofs hittin’ that there water—scalded 15 braves and 15 ponies to death. The rest got caught in the blizzard.”

“Blizzard !”

“Yep. Never seen nothin’ like it. Steam hit the dust, turned her to mud, an’ she started in to mud. She mudded 15 feet a mud in half an hour the first mud blizzard I ever see 50 Weasel ’Fail’s braves got smothered to death a sittin’ on their ponies.”

I looked at Jake a minute. “Jake,” I said, “that's real hist’ry. That’s hist’ry!”

“A course,” Jake said, “I wouldn’t go tollin’ that to to folks that are fussy about hist’ry book hist’ry ~ Continued on page 22

Continued from page 17

the kind that like her sort a watered down. She might be a mite too rich fer Miss Henchbaw.”

But there was where Jake was wrong. Right about there I thought of.something. “Jake,” I said, “you claim there was a million of them there buffalo?” “Yep.”

“And they run ’em over the cliff?” “Yep.”

“Where’s the bonas?”

“Huh?”

“Where’s all of them bones? Oughta be more’n a few skulls left outa million buffalo.”

“Yeah. Ye’re right there, Kid. Uh— why—the way she wuz—say that there water jug looks kinda dry. Mebbe yuh better—oh—now I —they shore wuz a lotta them bones, a whole mile along that there coulee, hunderd feet deep, wide as the coulee. Then we had them real bad dust storms a coupla years after—covered ’em plumb over. Jist take a look at that there coulee—only ’bout fifty foot deep, ain’t she?” “Yeah.”

“Useta be she wuz two hunderd in Weasel Tail’s time. Them bones filled her a hunderd feet; dust covered her over about fifty. Now she’s only fifty -—see? What you might call a reg’lar buffalo mine down there, Kid.”

“Jake,” I said, “like I said, that there’s history.”

Ï HE! AD ED for the house to fill the jug for Jake.

She was Mrs. Tincher’s day, and she was peeling apples with flour right to her elbows. There was a saucer full of crocuses on the table.

From in Old Mac’s room I heard him growling; there came a creak out of the cot spring. Mrs. Tincher she dropped the paring knife and she hit for the doorway. There came another squeal from the springs like when somebody lights on them real hard.

“That’s the way, Mr. MacLachlin,” Mrs. Tincher said, “you jist hike that there log-cabin quilt up under yer mustache so’s you don’t catch cold.” The kitchen door opened and I figured she was Jake, till Sam Botten pushed right through the kitchen and into the bedroom. Me right after.

He stood there looking at Old Mac and like always he was sort of chewing; he stood there real tall and skinny, turned kind of sidewise, and I could see the corners of his jawbones going, where the skin was pulled tight across them.

“Heard you wasn’t feelin’ so good, Mac.”

Mrs. Tincher headed for the kitchen. With his eyes ringed like knotholes, Old Mac looked up.

I could see he had tight hold of the quilt; he has very old hands, bumpy like tree trunks are bumpy.

Sam said, “Figger we might make us some kinda deal, Mac.”

“We canna.”

“Land’s mighty ...”

“I’m pootin’ her in masel’.”

“You’ve only got . . .”

“Why don’t yuh go seed yer brother’s?” That was Jake, Mrs. Tincher went to fetch. Sam’s brother he doesn’t live here any more, not since he moved back to the States and left Sam to sell his land for him. Sam didn’t even try; he wrote there weren’t any buyers, then harvested a bumper crop off of his own brother’s land three years in a row.

“Why—hello, Jake,” Sam said. He was turned kind of nervous to the doorway. “Dropped in tuh see how Mac wuz doin’.”

“Not so well. Doc says he’s got some of that high-dro-foby in his leg.”

“That so?”

“Yep. Kiyoot.”

Sam’s jaw quit working; he swallowed; his jaws started in to chewing.

“Kiyoots is bad this year,” Jak said. “Aim tuh git me a pelt.”

“How?”

“Usin’ a little ammunishun outa Old Mac’s granary.”

“That so?” Sam turned toward the door. “Wouldn’t be too shore ef I wuz you.”

“On yore way out,” Jake said, “don’t git too near that there well.”

“I ain’t likely tuh slip.”

“Can’t take no chances. She’s the only well Old Mac’s got.”

I guess Looie Riel was beat before he even started to wrassle Jake.

BUT the next day after school, I found out Sam Botten wasn’t beat. I didn’t see Jake till just before supper, when I went out to get the wood for Ma. I met Jake. He didn’t look so good.

“What’s wrong, Jake?”

Ele pushed past me into the house. I followed.

“Jake!”

He grabbed the basin, dippered some water out of the hot-water tank next the stove, then out to the washstand. I waited till he finished wiping his face. “What’s wrong, Jake?”

“Sam Botten wuzn’t foolin’.” “What’s he gone and ...”

“Old Mac’s granary — ain’t got enough seed in her to fill a hen’s crop.” “But ...”

“Sam he knew there wuzn’t none when he wuz over to Mac’s yesterday.” “Do you think Sam ...”

“Shore he did. That there granary’s clear down by the bluff. A couple a trips with that there truck a his at night was all he needed. There’s tire marks in the dirt right next.”

“What can we do? Get the Mounties and ...”

“Too late fer that,” Jake said. “Be thrashin’ time afore we kin git her back.”

“Whut you gonna do, Jake?”

“I dunno,” Jake said, “yet.”

All through supper I could see Jake was figuring. And after supper whilst I was doing homework, Jake he sat there on the other side of the table. He didn’t seem to be getting anywhere.

Me I was thinking she’s awful the way things go; nothing ever goes right all at once. Up till I came home and Jake told me about what happened to Old Mac’s seed grain, I’d figured she was a hundred per cent day. Take at school in history when Miss Henchbaw started asking us what we knew about the buffalo, I told all about the jumping pound just like Jake explained to me. Jake he said not to, but I figured if I told her like she came out of a book, Miss Henchbaw would think she was just dandy. She did.

I got another H, and Miss Henchbaw said we’d take a holiday the next day, and go visit Mac’s coulee, and see where the Indians run the buffalo over. Of course I left out about her raining mud and like that.

And then I had to come home and find out about what Sam did; I guess there’s got to be some wild oats in every crop.

I heard a cranking sound and I looked up; Jake was on the phone. He phoned for two hours, nearly 30 calls. He didn’t say much, just said Old Mac needed grain for seed. On an old letter he marked dowm the ones that had grain to spare. When he’d made the last call, he turned to me. The way he looked, Sam Botten was beat this time for sure.

“A hunderd fifty-five bushels. Johnny Lammery and Pete Springer, that didn’t have none left, is donatin’ Continued on page 24

I Continued from page 22

their teams and wagons to gather her up.”

Jake he’s smart.

WE DIDN’T have school the next day; like she promised Miss Henchbaw took us all to Mac’s coulee. That was where we run into Sam Botten again. He looked kind of startled when he saw all us there, and Miss Henchbaw she got to talking with him and she told him why we weren’t in school, and she told him all about this being a buffalo jumping pound, and she explained how the dust had covered her over, and think of all the hones of that noble animal the buffalo that were lying there right under our feet, and what a cruel slaughter it had been. She said even if the Indians did need meat, they didn’t have to go and run over a million at a time.

Sam he said he never heard about her before, and Miss Henchbaw said didn’t he know this was an old Indian camping ground, and wasn’t there all the writing on the stone, and hadn’t I found seven buffalo skulls this spring. Then Sam he said come to think of her, he’d read where they did discover a bunch of bones in a couple of places that had been covered over, only she was in Alberta. Right there he stopped, and he leftjhià mouth open.

Miss Ifenchbaw she asked him what was wron^g-.but he didn’t answer her; he was oüt öï there like a licked rooster. There was a funny way for him to act; I decided I better tell Jake when I got home.

Jaké he wasn’t listening to any talk about pounds that night. Old Mac had balked at taking the grain folks had gathered up for him; Jake had argued with him, but Mac wasn’t giving one inch. “ ’Tain’t no use,” Jake said, “she’s got me beat.”

“But isn’t there somethin’ . . .” “Nope. They ain’t nothin’ nobody kin do. He’s bin lyin’ there like a old he-bear with all them there wimmen fussin’ around him. Says he ain’t takin’ no charity—ain’t havin’ his land seeded with neighbors’ grain.”

“But he can pay ’em back when ...”

“I never seen nobody so stubborn in all my life—stubborn as a badger—a dang, old, stubborn Scotch badger.” She looked like Jake was beat. All through school I thought about her, and she looked like Jake was beat. Jake was right; Sam Botten was just like a coyote, tricky. Take the way he was all the time chewing, even when he didn’t have a chew of tobacco, like he never had enough to eat; and the way he was all the time looking at a person over his shoulder. Right about there 1 looked up and saw Sam Botten, up in front, right in Rabbit Hill School. Miss Henchbaw she was showing him my buffalo skulls hung up along the top of the blackboard.

I got to remembering how he acted after Mias Henchbaw told him about the buffalo jumping pound; he sure was acting funny. I guessed I’d better tell Jake for sure when I got home.

And after I told him, she was Jake that was acting funny. He stared at me, and then he. bust out laughing so hard I thought he was going to choke; he even cried some, he laughed so hard. And when he finished, he said, “Come on, Kid, you and me’s goin’ visitin’.”

SHE WAS still light when we got to Mac’s. We found Sam Botten there. He was trying to buy Old Mac’s coulee; he just got done offering Old Mac $50 for her when we got there.

“Whut yuh want her fer?” Jake said from the doorway.

Sam he turned quick, then he turned buck to Old Mac quick. He said:

“There’s whut I’m offerin’. Yuh kin take her er leave her.”

“Whut yuh want her fer?” Jake said. “You ain’t needed,” Sam said. “My bizzness is with Mac.”

“Whut good’s that there coulee?”

“I said you wuzn’t needed.”

“I sorta figgered I wuz,” Jake said. “When I want you tuh stick yer nose in, I’ll ask.”

“He says it’s for tae get the gravel,” Old Mac said. “I canna figure it oot. There’s na gravel in the coulee.”

“Kinda white, bony gravel, Sam?” Jake said.

“Kinda felt sorry fer yuh, Mac,” Sam said, “laid up like yuh bin. No crop in yet—got no seed—figgered a little money’d go a long ways tuh . .

“Yeah,” Jake said, “I noticed you shore bin helpin’ a lot.”

“You keep ou ta this!” She was just like Sam bared his teeth at Jake for a minute. “Whut yuh say, Mac?” “Weeel, since I canna ...” “Wherever there’s a dollar I shore do reely on Sam’s judgment,’’Jake said. “Now, I gotta hunderd dollars in the bank, an’ she’s worth it jist tuh see whut he . . . ”

“Two hunderd,” Sam said quick. Old Mac he looked up at Sam kind of dazed.

“Three hunderd,” Jake yelled. Jake he didn’t have any $300 in the bank. “Four hunderd!”

Old Mac he looked real flabbergasted. “I—noo that ye’re gettin’ sae high—I ...”

Jake he did a funny thing. He let his left eye drop down at Mac, and he sort of nodded his head so you could hardly see. Then he started in coughing to beat anything, and he headed out to the kitchen like he had to get a dipper of water. He pulled me along with him.

He went right on out the kitchen; he wasn’t coughing any more.

“Jake,” I said, “why’s Old Mac’s coulee ...”

“Kid, when I done her, I never knew helpin’ old Weasel Tail wuz gonna pay me back double—seein’ them . there Indians an’ Sam Botten both with their stummick full.”

“But what’s she all . . .”

“Reglar buffalo mine!” It was Sam Botten, and he was waving a piece of paper in his hand. “Same as in Alberta where they run her jist like a mine— buffalo bones at $17 the ton!” He looked at Jake. “Yuh ain’t changed a bit, Jake. Fifteen years ago she wuz that there bay. Now she’s Old Mac’s coulee. Useta be a jumpin’ pound—Indians run over buffalo by the million. We gotta war on now—need explositives, an’ they’re a-makin’ ’em outa bones. Bought me a $50,000 buffalo mine fer $400!”

After he’d gone, I turned to Jake. “Jake! What’d ...”

“Reg’lar buffalo mine,” Jake said. “Old Mac coulda . .”

“Too bad Sam didn’t come tuh the district till ’21.”

“Old Mac coulda had all them

bones ...”

“Nope.”

“Well—if they was all ...”

“They wuz, Kid, only I fergot tuh tell yuh one thing. This ain’t thuh only war we had, yuh know.”

“What’s that got tuh do with ...” “Sam oughta knowed they had tuh have them there explositives last war same as this one.”

“Then there ...”

“Plumb slipped my mind tuh tell him. She wuz mined out in T4—plumb out.”

“Then there ain’t any ...”

“Kid, see that there fence post?” “Yeah?”

"I’ve nailed me a hide to that there post—kiyoot hide.”

Jake spit.