I have told you folks a number of times, I don’t know where my memory is going to lead me. I started out thinking of a young hound dog that came to our place, one time, when we lived on the farm at Hollenberg. Before I could get anything written, I found myself involved in a Dutchman’s store in Lanham, maybe, 10 miles from Hollenberg, right on the Nebraska – Kansas state line. The town itself was an oddity. It’s main street ran east and west, right on the state line. You might ask, “So what?” Normally it wouldn’t mean anything but in early days of the 20 th century, Kansas voted the state dry, no liquor could be sold in Kansas and that included the south half of Lanham. If south side resident wanted a drink, he had to walk over to the north side to get it. This Dutchman ran a grocery store but also was the local telephone operator with the office, sort of walled off, in one corner. Winnie, a senior in High school and later to be my brother Ted’s wife, was a good friend of the operator of our local Central Office and spent some time with her. The switch-board in our little town was not complicated and Winnie learned to operate it and would fill in on it at times. One day she had to make a call to Lanham. Her friend, warned Winnie that she might have to ring for several minutes before the Dutchman would answer. If he was waiting on a customer, the switch-board had to wait. After quite a spell he answered, rather gruffly, “Hallo!”. She asked, “Is this Lanham?” He barked back at her, “of course! Who da deffel you tink it vas? Chicago?” I don’t know what she thought at the time but later, she thought it was hilarious. I have one more little item that, at least, mentions Lanham’s name. One day while we still lived out on that farm, a fellow living over by Lanham, came by our house looking for a lost, strayed, or stolen horse. Dad assured him he hadn’t seen any stray horse but he asked for a description of it. Dad asked what it’s color was. The fellow was sort of nonplused, I guess one could say. He scratched his head and finally said, “Well now. I guess you could say, yes you could say, he’s sort of a, yes sort of a humpf color.” Dad was sure he had never, in his whole-put-together, even seen a humpf colored horse. He agreed it truly was a “horse of another color”.
Now about that hound dog that came to our place. It must have been a coon dog. I don’t know if they are used in hunting coon, now,or not. Years ago it was a very popular sport in the deep south. They trail by scent and when they latch onto a scent, they get excited and start baying. It’s hard to explain a bay, or baying, sound. It’s not much like a bark. It’s much deeper and more like a wolfs howl but is a single deep sound, repeated over and over, about every breath. I don’t remember just how he showed up. I know we heard him on a trail, several times, while he was with us probably rabbits, there were lots of them around. I’m sure he could feed himself quite readily. I have a strong feeling that Bernard found him down on the creek and brought him home. He was a friendly little cuss. He was on the small side and I just took it for granted that he wasn’t full grown but his breed might have run to the small size. He made himself right at home with us. There was one little incident while he was with us. There was a young couple living about 2 miles south of us and the wife’s brother came to visit them, that summer. He was a wrestler but whether he was a professional or maybe a coach, I don’t know, but he had all the young neighborhood boys interested in wrestling. I know that Bernard was in on it and he had Bob and I wrestling most of the time. It was hot summer time and Bob and I had a make-shift tent out on the lawn that we were sleeping in. It was, probably just a sheet thrown over a cloths-line. Anyway, the hound had free run and one night Bob woke me up, That pup had come in the tent with us and I was wrestling with him, in my sleep. I don’t know if I ever got him pinned or not but I must have hurt his feelings as he left right after that tussle and never did came back.
Telling about that pup reminded me of another batch of pups. And this is one that I’ve never told before. A neighbor of dad Boice’s had a pair of German Shepard dogs. This was in July of 1930, not long after big stock crash of Oct. 1929. Whether the coming depression had any effect on it or not, I don’t know, but his last batch of pups didn’t sell. The city of Wolf Point, 50 or 60 miles north of our town of Circle, was having a big, really big, celebration. Wolf Point was located on the north side of the Missouri River and their only contact with the south side was by ferry, in three quarters of the year. The other quarter of the year, when the weather got down to a minus 50 to 60 degrees below zero, the farmers could drive their horse drawn, 100 bushel, loads of grain, across the river on the 3 to 4 foot thick ice. Margie experienced a verified minus 54 degrees temperature in the winter of 1929. A brand new all steel bridge had just been completed, across the river, there a Wolf Point bringing on this celebration. As I remember, we camped over night. there. Louie Hofeck, the fellow with the pups, had brought them up there with them, figuring, if he couldn’t sell them, he’d give them to some Indian. He had them in a fair sized cardboard box and the evening we got there he struck out looking to dispose of them. He soon found a big Buck Indian. He opened his box and asked the Indian to look at the pups. He looked at them with approval but shook his head and said, “No. I got no money.” Louie said “you don’t need any money. I’ll give them to you.” He said, “What’s the matter? Them sick” Louie said they were very healthy, he just couldn’t feed them any more. The Indian took them. I guess he thought that while Louie wouldn’t feed the pups, the pups could be feeding him.
My son Bill and grandson, Steve run the parts store door and I go out once in while. Not to give them advice. Thee Smart Alexis are doing better than I ever did. But, anyway the subjects of airplanes came up and Bill remarked that there must not have been many airplanes around, in 1930s. How wrong he was! True, there were no commercial air lines, but Barnstormers? They were a dime a dozen, well maybe not that plentiful but, if there was a celebrations, there would be several Barnstormers there, Fact is, the first date I had with Margie, my wife to be, though neither of us had any inkling of what the future held, I took her for a flight. I am not through with the Wolf Point celebration but I want to carry this Barnstorming a little bit farther. After WW-1 The Government sold surplus army airplanes, for, almost, a song. The only one I ever got acquainted with was the Flying Jenny. The Northern Pacific was laying rails from Glendive into Circle when Sam and I first saw Circle in 1927 and it was completed and a big celebration was held on June 2, 1928, to welcome the first train. That little town of Circle, with a population of 500, hosted a crowd , estimated, at over 10,000. It attracted a flock of Barnstormers. There was only one accident. One plane came in a little too low and wiped out his landing gear. The only injury was a bloody nose for one passenger. It couldn’t have been more than a year later an air show was put on and I have no idea why. It was held in a pasture several miles out of town. I think they intended to put on the show and sell rides. I know one pilot announced that he would fly his plane upside down and another was going to demonstrate a loop-the loop. I don’t remember how the looper made out but pilot flying upside down didn’t do so good. Evidently he didn’t have a proper carburetor for every time he got upside down, his engine would sputter and start to die. He had to give up on that and before landed a wind- storm came up and it was a duzzy. When he came in to land the wind was blowing almost at the landing speed of the plane. It was blowing hard enough that men got out there as he touched down, and were able to get hold of the wings and hold the plane steady while they drove stakes to anchor it down.
Now the next air show we saw, ( Margie and I were newly weds, by this time,) was the one at Wolf Point. The Barnstormers were out-classed so badly by a new comer that they weren’t even noticed. The new comer was a Ford TRI-Motor monoplane. He, also was taking up passengers and, to top it off, on one flight he was going to take up a parachutist who would jump from the plane. I happened to get tickets for that flight. The door was located on the right side and my seat was the first one ahead of that door. My window would open and it worked out that a rope was tied to the door handle and run out and around the right wheel support and back through my window. There would be a lot of air pressure on the door so they asked me to help pull the door open when we got high enough. I was glad to do it and it was exciting. The ‘sky diver’ did make the jump and the pilot circled him down as far as it was safe. That was an unforgettable flight.
I have room for one more airplane incident, well maybe two. This was after had moved to western Nebraska. One summer day I was out in the yard when I heard a airplane coming. I never missed a chance to watch an airplane fly. Soon I spotted it coming at not much over tree-top level, and straight for our place. I’m sure (I think) he wasn’t over a hundred feet in the air. There was a hay-rack close by as well as a bunch of mother’s laying hens scratching away at what ever hens scratch for. But when they saw and heard that plane coming, they dove for that rack and in two seconds there wasn’t a hen in sight. I’ll bet they thought that was the biggest old chicken hawk any one ever did see. I never did hear mother mention it but I’d just about bet that none of them laid another egg for a month.
I thought that would be the last but I have one more. Years ago there was a child in Scottsbluff whose life depended on obtaining a certain serum, at once, available in Denver Colorado, 235 miles away. A pilot was found in Denver that would fly the serum to Scottsbluff but he couldn’t arrive in Scottsbluff before dark. Where could he find a lighted place to land? They came up with a field, close to town and they would have it lighted with head lights from cars, for him to find and land on. Everything was arranged and he was on his way. He arrived on time and found the field without trouble however the cars were there with their lights on but, arranged in a circle. He buzzed the field, but of course, couldn’t land so swung around and tried it again but still couldn’t land. But this time he came close enough to them that they got the idea and formed a lane which he was able to land and the child was saved. It looked like they were stupid but most of them had never seen a plane land. Oh well. Hickory Bill