Memoir: “Arrows Axes and Scythes”

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“Pit”: From soon-to-be-published Arrows Axes and Scythes

An Excerpt

Pit

The Krumers had a barn behind the house. A few chickens were kept there. I have a vague recollection of backyard slaughter–Mrs. Krumer would dispatch the chickens by chopping off their heads. Mr. and Mrs. Krumer were practical people, she the more practical of the two. Her speech was direct, but that direct manner masked a generous heart. Never did either of the Krumers complain about the antics of children running about the property and getting into mischief.

One area of the property we ran about was the barn. This was a musty, cavernous building. No animals were housed in it, except the chickens. A loft offered vantage of the yard and beyond. Behind the barn, an empty, cement manure pit lay ready to catch the waste of horses long gone. The pit was deep and had steep, sloping sides.

The pit held great fascination for Charles and Clinton. They devised a challenge: each of us was to walk around the ledge of the pit. Not much of a challenge, until we reached the chute, where the pit abutted the barn. At this point, the ledge disappeared and we had to leap across the gap created by its absence. The trick was to leap without falling onto the concrete below.

In the picture I am approaching the chute. There was never any question of meeting my obligation. I steeled myself to the danger and managed not to fall. I often think that meeting the boys’ challenges at a tender age trained me for life. It made me obstinate, determined and persistent. To others, this may be my most annoying flaw. It also, I believe, may be my greatest strength.

We had just the one dog in these early years. Over time, more were to join the family. Rex, the dog shown, was our loyal companion. He once leapt to the boys’ defense, against strangers, on a lonely country road. Rex was a mixed breed, mostly collie, and had a playful disposition. I remember the day he died. A car was barreling down Lattintown Road and Rex ran into its path.

A. G. Moore

February 2, 2018

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