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Archive for August, 2012

LAST CHANCE!!!!

Thirty six more hours until FGHS Memorial Scholarship golf tournament.  I think we have room for a couple more teams.  Call someone or let me know and bring a team out and play for prizes, both cash and merchandise.  It is all for as good cause, 100 % going to the FGHS Memorial Scholarship.  It is worth the entry fee just to ride around the ridges on which Eagles Nest golf course rests.  Remember, your entry fee includes breakfast, snacks, beverages, and a sack lunch at the end of the tournament.  Isaac will be nowhere in the area on Friday and the weather promises to be beautiful so come join us and play for a good cause.

The deadline has passed for Friday night’s  banquet reservations but I am sure we could squeeze in a couple of more, so, if your plans have changed come join us.  I would even give up my dinner if someone wished to come who has not made reservations.  So pick up the phone and call someone or get on the internet and reply to this post.  I suppose that if are reading this, you are already on the internet so just go to the comment section and I will pick it up and be back in touch.

Remember, this is the one time of the year that all monies raised go to support the scholarship.  I hope to see you there.

 

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Richards story of the “dumb bull” is interesting and I remember the story being told many times. A few names to mention in this saga would be Luther Curnutte, “Woody”  Rayburn, Gorden Tucker (probably) and of course my dad. There were others but I don’t remember their names.

This whole episode got started because the yound boys in the neighborhood were begging the older men to take them hunting. There was’nt much entertainment in those days, so night hunting was one way the guys would get together and enjoy male company. Beat hanging out at the bar (if there had been one) The older men wanted to let the boys know that night hunting was a mans sport so they thought they woud teach them a lesson. Well, it did but it didn”t turn out quiet like they planned.

As I remember the “thing” was made from a piece of Sourwoood tree. The reason for sourwood was that when this species got to be several inches in diameter it was generally hollow from the inside decaying. This was just a characteristic of the tree. This made a nice hollow tube that could be expanded by a chisel, knife, or a hot piece of steel until the walls of the tube were quiet thin. Good for resonation.

The hide that was stretched over one end of the “thing” was from a groundhog. Groundhogs have a very strong hide and will stand a lot of stretching and pulling. Also it is large enough to cover the area of the hollow log that was used for the insturment of torment. Some of us more “back woods” people can even remember making shoe laces or strong pieces of leather to fasten things together with from groundhog hides. (yes, there are still some of us who can make something from nothing and don’t need to pick it up at the hardware store) What was done in the case of the dumb bull, they stretched a “green” hide (and I ain’t talking enviromental) over the end of the log and let it dry. It was tacked in many places so it would not pull loose from the wood. As it dried it shrank and became very tight. You know the old saying, “tight as a drum”, well it was.

A small hole was punched in the center of the hide but instead of string I remember the builders of this “thing” used hair from the tail of a horse. It was long, strong, and available. (if you had a horse which they did) A large button was used on the inside of the “bull” that kept the hair from being pulled back out once it had been inserted through the hole. Pine rosin was rubbed on the hair so when you pulled your fingers over the hair it it slipped and let go rapidly. This action was transfered to the groundhog hide which amplified the whole action and made a heck of a noise. As my dad related it was LOUD.

This whole action took place (as I remember being told) up the “holler” behind Arthur Hattens house. The “dumb bull” was high on the ridge across the road in front of his house. The dumb bull operator pulled the string (horse hair) only three times before it broke (probably a good thing) but his was enough to set the whole operation in motion.

Dad said that when the “bellowing” started, someone said, HIppopotomus, then Rhinosourous. Each creature mentioned was more horrific than the others. Someone said run for your life and they did. What happened then reminds me of the song,”Battle of New Orleans”. Dad said some climbed trees, some ran, and some stuck to him like the rosin on the horse hair. You can only imagine the stampede of ten or twelve young men coming down the “holler” on a dark night with the devil in persuit.

Some of the boys may have run home, but most of them ended up at my dads house and wouldn’t go home. My dad being the oldest of the group was given the blame for torn clothes and bodies. The whole thing died down after a time,
This is a little addition to the “dumb bull” story as I remember it being told.

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This incident happened sometime in the mid 1930s and I would have been 5 or 6 years old at the time so my memories of the incident are not totally complete, however, I will relate them as I remember them.

As my Dad described it, their dumb bull was made by using a section of a hollow log, perhaps 3 feet long or so, with an animal hide stretched and fastened very tightly over one end of the log much like a drum head on a snare drum. A small hole would be punched in the center of the animal hide and a piece of strong cord or string 2 or 3 feet long with knots tied on one end would be dropped from inside the log down through the hole in the animal hide. The string would be coated heavily with pine resin. When a person pulled the resin coated string between their fingers it would truly produce a hideous sound that would truly make you quake in your shoes. By pointing the log in a direction, the sound would be directional and guaranteed to make anyone think that “the hounds of hell” had been set loose.

I believe it was in the fall of the year and living far out in the country during the deep days of the 30s depression there was no TV and little radio so one made ones own entertainment. I believe 4 or 5 of the neighborhood men decided to create some fun and play tricks on the neighborhood boys and young men. I believe my Dad was the perpetrator of the entire affair. I don’t recall if Woodrow was one of the members of the “outlaws” or if he was in the group that was going to get the “bejabbers” scared out of them.

Night-time hunting was a great sport and means of entertainment at that time and the decision was made to get a group of the neighborhood boys together and take them hunting. I don’t know how many of the boy there were but I imagine there was perhaps 10 or 12, maybe even more. A couple of the bad guys would collect the boys and take them into the woods just a bit after dark. They would have been carrying kerosene lanterns or carbide lamps(the types used my miners at one time) to provide light to make their way through the briars, brambles, woods, and barbed wire fences as they made their way to the area where the hunt was to begin.

In the meantime the perpetrators had earlier gone deep into the woods and were high atop the hills in a distant field. So the group of hunters, after climbing through wire fences and finding their way via lantern light, were noisily making their way toward what they thought was going to be a night of sitting around an open fire and listening to the hunting dogs track their prey and hearing all of the tall tales that men tell when they gather. I am sure they were already being entertained by those leading with tales of ghosts, monsters, and wild animals, so there would have been an apprehensive mood set, but from the leader’s standpoint, the best was yet to come. I also believe it was on a dark night with little or no moonlight.

It was about this time that the ones operating the dumb bull decided to “cut it loose” and that they did with a long, wavering pull of the fingers tightly on the string, and from all descriptions, the sound was all it was meant to be. The group of young hunters hearing the awful sound stopped dead in their tracks. I believe there ensued a discussion of what that awful sound was and where did it come from. I am sure that there was a lot of speculation by the leaders, for the benefit of the young hunters, as to what they thought. I am sure the words monster, a fearsome wild animal, and ghost being some of the words used.

At about that time, having given the already scared youths something to think about, the dumb bull operators gave a couple of more rips that were much scarier and profound than the first. One of the leaders with the young hunters shouted, “Run, it is upon us” and with that the stampede was on, all the while the dumb bull bellowing behind them. They threw lights and caution to the wind and blindly ran through briars, into trees, and into and through barbed wire fences. Upon reaching the road, they scattered to the wind to their homes with, I am sure, tales of the terrors that had invaded Queens Creek and how they had managed to escape. Many had cuts, bruises, clothes torn from them by the barbed wire and brambles and horrible memories that would keep them from much sleep that night.

As the story of the event circulated through the neighborhood many parents became very upset with threats of civil suits, etc. I don’t believe they were ever able to put a name to the perpetrators of the event and I don’t think the stunt was ever tried again.

Robert, this is about the best and most that I can remember of the event. In thinking about the event it might be fun to go to Queens Creek and recreate it, but then again, the past is best left to the past.   I hope this provides you with a bit of pleasure in remembering those times and especially the memories you have of your Mom and her family. They were the best.

Richard

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