We didn't kill for killing's sake, though, and left harmless critters like bull snakes and black snakes in peace, as they were not the enemy. There are a few things I did as a kid that I look back on and think perhaps they had a hand in hardening my future attitude. As I said, life on a farm is down-to-earth, and a lot of the time you found yourself facing reality head-on. We had a different view on pests, and it wasn't always very humane. For instance, I remember the time we went up to one of the horses and stole a hair from its tail.
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This had to be done with great care if you didn't want to end up taking an unexpected and painful flight across the barnyard. Now, a horse's tail hair is long and strong, but still fairly thin, and we threaded it through a kernel of dried corn that we had carefully drilled a hole through, and tied it on securely. The other end we nailed to the roof of the workshop.pierreducalvet.ca/170244.php
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Then we waited until Mr. Magpie came along and gobbled it up. He was then trapped! At this point a hired hand walking by saw what we were doing and told us to hang on to the bird and that he would take care of it. A few minutes later he returned with a dynamite cap and about six to eight inches of fuse. He then joined the fuse and magpie together using the reverse procedure to how we got the horse's tail hair and tossed the bird into the air. The bird took to the wing instantly, and a few seconds later a loud blast and the wide distribution of feathers announced that another farm pest had bitten the dust.
Although it was mostly farm pests that bore the brunt of our adolescent brutality, we occasionally teased the billy goats by inserting Lady Fingers into their rear ends and then lighting them. We found the resulting scene of old Billy snorting and galloping across the yard highly amusing. Of course this was usually a one-time performance, as they were usually pretty skittish about any further contact with us. There was always a clear line between friend and foe for me even as a child. Looking back, I suppose this was some early conditioning, preparing me for my life in the war.
Enemies had to be dealt with whatever way you could. It was them or us—and it wasn't going to be us.
For a while Don and I hunted gophers. They would dig holes and burrows in the irrigation ditches, and these holes would divert water that was much needed by the trees. This meant that the farmers had to hire extra men to continually walk the orchard, finding and repairing the holes. This led local growers to put a bounty on these incorrigible critters that offered five cents for each left ear.
This turned into quite a little business for us. We would lay traps in the gopher holes and then go back later, and if we had captured any, we would then make sure that they never did any more digging! With a bag full of left ears for our trouble, we would present ourselves at the end of the day and get paid.
All went well until in the true tradition of entrepreneurship we thought about how we could increase our profitability. I can't remember whether it was Don or I who thought of it, but we decided we could double our profit if we presented both ears for payment; after all, who could tell the difference between a left and right ear anyway?
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Of course it didn't take long for our employer to catch on to what we were doing, and that was the end of a beautiful business partnership. Herb's school life was pretty much that of the average all-American kid; he played baseball and basketball, skipped a few lessons, had crushes on sweet redheads and not-so-sweet blondes, got disciplined, and missed homework deadlines. The difference, however, was that he had to leave school during the tenth grade and go to work.
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The Great Depression era was economically tough on most American families, and his was no exception. He was the oldest and knew where his responsibilities lay. This pattern of sacrifice would repeat itself as the world moved inexorably toward war. In Grand Coulee he worked as a mechanic in a service station. At the age of seventeen, he became a jackhammer operator on the Grand Coulee Dam. The dam had been started in and is an amazing feat of engineering and sheer hard labor. There is enough concrete in the dam to build a three-thousand-mile, four-lane highway clear across the United States, and the base of the dam is almost four times larger than the base of the Great Pyramid of Giza!
Herb's work on the dam ironically produced most of the electricity for the Boeing Aircraft plant that built the big, beautiful bomber the B Superfortress and prepared him for his next challenge, which was to work on building the Dutch Harbor naval, air, and submarine base in Alaska. So there he was, still a teenager, working on Umnak Island, eight hundred miles southwest of Anchorage in the Aleutians.
Suddenly the most intense bright light floods the aircraft, blinding us — the tension in the aircraft shot up, hearts started beating a whole lot faster as we instantly realized that we were being singled out of the sky by a searchlight and were now firmly in the sights of air and ground fire, we were the main act, and center stage. From that moment everything went into slow motion as we pass through the target — seconds felt like minutes and minutes, hours.
This personal view gives us two perspectives, the first is the story of Herb Greer speaking to us aboard a B29 through the written entries of his diary and then the second recounted from his armchair 60 years later. Written with an immediacy that can only be shared by those who were there, while capturing for posterity their bravery and dignity of sacrifice.
It is a well-told memoir of the men whose missions will live forever in history! This is the story of the last few months of WWII in the Pacific, seen through the eyes of one man, a radio operator aboard a B29 Superfortress who kept a diary of 28 missions over Japan. The diary tells of the horrors of war. It was written in darkness, and often fear, with a pen-light during lonely hours confined for up to 18 hours at a time.
Herb Greer our main author, 2 This is the story of the last few months of WWII in the Pacific, seen through the eyes of one man, a radio operator aboard a B29 Superfortress who kept a diary of 28 missions over Japan. Herb Greer our main author, 23 years old, frightened and sitting on up to 20, pounds of jellied gasoline napalm , while blindly flying through constant flak bursts and fighter opposition.
The plane is blacked out save the dull red glow of the instrument panels as they pass through the target area.
Fire from the Sky: A Diary Over Japan by Ron Greer
Suddenly the most intense bright light floods the aircraft, blinding us - the tension in the aircraft shot up, hearts started beating a whole lot faster as we instantly realized that we were being singled out of the sky by a searchlight and were now firmly in the sights of air and ground fire, we were the main act, and center stage. From that moment everything went into slow motion as we pass through the target - seconds felt like minutes and minutes, hours.
BOOM, an explosion, the plane rocks, bucks, flak is searing its way through the fragile fabric of the fuselage, loose items are flying around, I'm scared - they say you can taste fear - well they're absolutely right. This personal view gives us two perspectives, the first is the story of Herb Greer speaking to us aboard a B29 through the written entries of his diary and then the second recounted from his armchair 60 years later.
Written with an immediacy that can only be shared by those who were there, while capturing for posterity their bravery and dignity of sacrifice. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages. Published August 26th by iUniverse first published September 5th More Details Original Title.
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