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CHUCK HINMAN: It's Just Me No. 048: Trouble in OK Corral

A completely new to CM Chuck Hinman Story: "A friend of Chuck's is sending me more stories. Today is the first time I have seen or heard of this one. I think it is in 'It's Just Me' without the 'Again' but I'm not going to try to make that distinction for CM even when I find out for sure." -ROBERT STONE
The next earlier column: Chuck Hinman: IJMA 134, Oyster Stew tradition

by Chuck Hinman

Nancy York, brother Bob's oldest daughter has requested that I tell MY version of another infamous Hinman brothers' boyhood fight. This fight involved somebody's lost glasses lens. Ah Yes, I remember it like it was this afternoon, Nancy.

I must preface this story to say that our Dad, Arley Hinman, took something from Will Rogers in that "he never saw a fight he didn't like!" And that included dog fights and/or when his two fighting boys got into it with their fists which was frequently. I don't remember that he took sides, however, neither did he stop a fight in progress. It usually lasted until I had enough and ran to Mom bawling "Make Bob quit"!! WAH!

I didn't go to Dad. He liked fights, remember?

I don't know what created in Dad an appetite for a good fight but I suspect his interest was whetted by dog fights. We always had a brindle bulldog and all the dogs over the years had the same name, Jack. Dad preferred bulldogs because they were tough fighters and always whipped up on the neighbor dogs who were foolish enough to get involved.

In our early boyhood Dad frequently took a wagon load of grain to the Liberty elevator, I suppose for cash flow. The wagon was pulled by a team of black horses called Dick and Diamond. There was a big seat, the width of the wagon that Dad drove the horses from. Bob and I accompanied him on the trip sitting on each side of him on the wagon seat. He would let us help drive Dick and Diamond! What fun!

Of course, Jack, the bulldog trailed along chasing rabbits. Whenever we approached the Dillows place, their big Airedale "Doc" came out and was the first dog Jack had to whip. Dad would stop and enjoy the fight! Then it was on to Ray Knouse's farm and Erie Douglas' farm where their dogs were routinely whipped and sent yelping (similar to my fights with Brother Bob). By the time we got to Liberty, Jack has been involved in several fights and had some bloody bites on his face -- but he was tough and enjoyed every minute of it ... as did Dad!

After Dad settled on the grain at the elevator we would head home and Jack followed whipping the same dogs that didn't get enough the first time -- all of this much to Dad's enjoyment. I didn't share Dad's taste for dog fights even when Jack whipped the other dogs.

Now for the report on the mainliner fight, Nancy wanted.

In the 1930s, wintertimes, on weekends and after school, were spent helping Dad shuck corn. Mechanical pickers had not been invented. Dad had a regular horse (team) drawn wagon, the same one he used to haul grain to the Liberty elevator. Only for shucking he added what was called a bang board. That consisted of three 1 by 10's the length of the wagon stacked on top of each other, 30 inches high, to throw the shucked ears of corn against. Then they dropped down in the wagon.

When all three of us shucked in the same wagon on Saturdays, I took the row of corn next to the wagon (Dad used to call me Shorty), Bob took the second row because he was taller, and Dad took two rows on the other side of Bob. Altogether we were shucking ears of corn from four rows.

Well, you are probably already ahead of the story when trying to figure out "what could possibly trigger a fight in this calm pastoral setting?" Well, PLENTY!

I suppose it's natural that an "errant" ear of corn COULD find its way to the side of the little guy's (Me's) head -- but BY DARN -- not two ears in succession thrown by the same person and it wasn't Dad!!

WHOA NELLIE!! The fight's on. We had enough heavy winter clothes on that you didn't get hurt too badly unless you took a direct hit to the face. Both of us wore thick glasses and we didn't take time to remove our glasses before fists started flying. Nancy apparently remembers her Dad telling her that I knocked the lens out of his glasses. I can't remember being so lucky but maybe he was right. I sure hope so -- he had it coming! Knucklehead! Dad would always let us fight it out on the ground or wherever as he picked up all four rows and went on shucking without us.

When this particular fight was over, Bob wound up with the glasses that had to be taken to the optician in Wymore on Saturday night to replace the knocked out lens. But what lens -- where was the missing lens?

We couldn't find it! When we tried to rejoin Dad at the wagon, he was mad because the lens was missing and "by dam," his worst words, he sure as "heck," my worst words, didn't have money to waste on glasses!

He demanded that we both return to the scene of the fight and keep looking for the missing lens until we found it! In the meantime as we looked and looked and softly cussed our mean ole Dad, the sun was going down and Dad headed to the house with the load of corn without his little boys! ... This is more serious than ever before!

When we tried to join him pleading the lens was hopelessly lost, he wouldn't hear anything of that story. Seems like he mumbled something about "till Hell freezes over," whatever that meant! Mean ole man!

He insisted that we get a lantern at the house and return to the fight scene until we found it. In the meantime the rest of the family was going to town for the Saturday night outing without us. I think we both fought back tears and lumps in our throats, mad at Dad not each other. We had become buddies.

I would like to have a recording of Bob's and my conversation as we trudged back to the fight scene with our kerosene lantern saying the worst things we could think of, in boy talk, about our mean old Dad! We were down on our hands and knees going over the same area where we lad looked hopelessly for several hours before. Jack was trying to be helpful! I think he was on our side against Dad.

WAIT, WHAT IS THAT SHINY THING. I FOUND IT! I don't remember who found it but we were both overjoyed. We immediately started running for the house both yelling, "We found it!"

We could tell as we approached the house that Mom and Dad and Joy Ann had not gone to town without us! Oh Goody -- a typical boy's expression of the times.

We didn't even have time to take our usual Saturday night baths which we didn't mind!

And thus ends another Saga of TROUBLE IN THE OK CORRAL

.I hasten to add, that after we grew up, Bob and I spent many happy hours reminiscing over all the boyhood scrapes that two healthy Nebraska farm boys got in to as they were growing up. We were actually best friends and didn't know it!

Bob passed away a couple of years ago and I dearly miss him. I'd like to hug him and call him our pet name for each other -- KNUCKLEHEAD -- THEN WINK BEFORE HE SLUGGED ME! -Chuck Hinman

Written by Chuck Hinman, ImPeruvians Writing Club, February 7, 2004 (Substitute Assignment)

This story was posted on 2012-01-01 07:10:52
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