Ray's Corner

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The Early Years


"...So I'll tell you starting where I was born. I was born way back here east of Bear River here. It was so far east that the trees all grew out straight instead of up straight and every time you cut one down you had to chain it to another one to keep it from falling off the earth. And I was born in a log cabin and my father built this log cabin right around this great big stump - the stump was about eight feet over - and he cut it off flat and we used that stump for our bed and we used it for to set on and for a table. And we didn't have no windows in the log cabin; we just had open holes put in. In the winter time when it got cold we'd put deer hides over the cabin. At night time when it became bed time why we'd all lay on this stump with our feet all in the center and we'd all lay around like pie shaped and Mother would cover us over with deer skins or moose skins or bear skins, something like that.


We grew up very tough, and we were very tough, it was a tough country! And in fact it was so tough there that we used to have to tie the baby to keep him from bighting the dog. And there wasn't a dog around there that had a full pair of ears - the kids had chewed them off. And the kids were kept tied until they was three years old and when they was three years old they was cut loose and from then on it was every dog for himself! And it was a very common sight to see a dog going through the wood about 60 miles an hour ki-yi-ing, a kid hanging on his back chewing at his ears.   


Well I remember when I was three years old - it was in the fall, the first snow - and my Father took me outside the shack before daylight and he said "See that track in the snow?" And I said "Yes." Well he said "That's a rabbit track!" He said "Your breakfast is on the end of that track now get a going!"  Well, I started after this rabbit following his track and I followed it for about an hour. And by and by I see where he'd gone under a brush heap so I went under the tree where the brush heap was and I jumped on the brush heap and I see the rabbit go out the other end. And I took after him and I chased him, oh, maybe five minutes and I overtook him and I caught him by the tail. And the first tree I come to I went one side of the tree and the rabbit went the other and he was going so fast that he hauled himself right out of his skin and when he hit the cold snow why he froze to death.  So I went over picked him up and took him back and had rabbit for breakfast. Well, we always had to give Mother the hind quarters of a rabbit because she couldn't go out and hunt any for herself and we always had to share the rabbit up with her. And after that I had to do all my own hunting to get anything to eat.  If I wanted something to eat why I had to do the hunting.


So the rabbits had long tails like cats when we were kids but we kept breaking them off and breaking them off and they kept getting shorter and shorter and shorter and now they don't have any tails at all, just a little puff of hair. And they would be pretty hard to run down now because you'd have to catch one by the hind foot. But we grew up that way, we grew up rough and tough!...."