Mason County News
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At the Top of Erna Hill
Wednesday, December 5, 2012 • Posted December 5, 2012

Now that we have all been given a lesson in Lasses Making, there are other events that are worth noting that have somewhat of a humorous nature for most of us and most can relate to those times as the GOOD OLD DAYS but they were not as forgiving as we wish to believe but we were in those times together as not many advantages were handed out at the end of WW 2 with employment in our area almost none!!!.

My brother, Cub, and our cousin, T. C. Hight were released from service in late Oct. of ’45 and returned to the London area of milk and honey. But they, along with a couple thousand of the area released at the same time, found that there was not enough MILK to go around. So Cub returned to farm life, which was not too lucrative and T. C. leased the Cosden Gas Station from Jack Dayton to make his fortune. But such was not fast coming to any returning veteran so the VA established a vocational school system for the Vets which did give some income while in this local school system.

Of course, love entered into the lives of Cub and T. C. and each became hitched about the same time. T. C. married Billie Soloman and Cub married Alene Kimmel and each set up house keeping, of all places, London, but of course, that was home. Groceries were hard to come by, as money was tight. While T. C. was operating the station, he and Billie rented a house directly across the street from the station and she being the duty prone wife, had saved enough to buy a steak from Bob Mc Kinney’s grocery and she went across to escorts T. C. home to have the steak that was seasoned and laid out to cook for supper. They went into the house and T. C. was washing up and Billie went to cook but she discovered that the steak laid out was gone so she rushed into tell T. C. and the hunt was on, as steak was a rare commodity and worth the time to find. Well, it seems that Billie had a pet Fox that had the run of the house and he seemed to like steak as well, so he sneaked it off the table and into a corner and consumed the rare steak, which was to his liking. When T. C. found the thief, out to the country it went and it died a natural death of lead poisoning soon after.

During this time, venison was meat of choice as it was free to some extent and the meat went well with biscuits and gravy. Beside, there was a thrill to the hunt, which I never quite got the understanding of, but I did like the venison. T. C. and Billie moved out to her fathers place about 2 miles north of London and one Sunday afternoon, Cub and Alene went by for a game and they began talking about how good fresh venison, biscuits and gravy would be so they planned a hunting trip that afternoon. Guns were always at the ready so they loaded up in T. C.’40 model Ford Coupe and off to the killing field they went to fulfill they craving for meat.

Their choice for the hunt was the Franklin Draw on the Palmer Road toward Menard. So, Billie was driving and when they got to the drop off point, Cub and T. C. got out and told the girls to meet them at the same spot about dark, So the plan was in place and they walked across Franklin to the south side and skirted the large shinnery thicket which covered the bottom to the draw of about 100 acres, up to a small spring, sort of a seep, and a large pile of brush was pushed up about 100 yards from the seep so they selected this as their blind and they crawled into the pile and got situated for kill and the time was about 4 PM. Meantime, as Billie and Alene were going back home on the dirt road, Mr. W. W. Williamson, who lived at the junction of the Hext/Palmer road, stopped them asking if they had trouble, Or, that was his reasoning for the stop because he was very suspicious of travelers on the Palmer Road. Billie quickly replied that she was just learning to drive and they out practicing driving skills and they exchanged greetings and left for home.

Cub and T. C. were quietly settled into the brush pile and after about their third smoke, or about 5 PM, they heard a vehicle coming up the south side of Franklin and coming around the bend, it appeared, coming directly toward the brush pile. So, each of them found some wiggle room and went further down into the brush pile and T. C. looked toward Cub, saw his hat hung on a limb sticking out the top of the pile so, he told Cub to get it down and they went to the bottom of the pile. The vehicle contained the rancher and her two kids, Bill Royal being one of the kids. She pulled up near the seep where there was a salt lick and they poured out salt and they kept hanging around with both kids throwing rocks, which were in abundance, at every target on the hill, including the brush pile. Finally, they got in the vehicle and left so by this time, the sun was getting low in the sky and their ride would be coming soon. After much tearing of cloth and skin, they wiggled free of the brush and made a b-line for the road but there was an obstacle between them and the road and it was the shinnery thicket. They plowed through the thicket leaving behind shreds of clothing and much skin, as they were scratched as if they had been in a fight with a bear. Got to the road and about 20 minutes later, Billie and Alene came driving by going west and went up the road about a mile and turned around, so Cub and T. C. moved to the fence but when the ride came by, it was going about 20 MPH and did not stop. Alene yelled out to them, Mr. Williamson had seen them come by and he knew that there were only two in the car and they would have walk home, which was about 6 miles away. Well, they made it home about mid-night, but only to dine on cornmeal mush and I guess that it went down rather well.

Acknowledgement is to be granted to Mr. W. W. Williamson and Judge M. D. Slater for their efforts in the conservation of wildlife in the area. Mr. Williamson owned the headwaters of the Little Saline north of London and The Judge owned the lower end of the Creek, east of London. During this time, white tailed deer were not plentiful, as they were the object of many predators, which were men and screw -worms. The most helpful venture was by the Feds when they established the worm eradication program and the deer began to flourish when this became effective, but another thing that was beneficial was the fact that T. C. moved away and Cub became busy at making a living and using the long pastures as his hunting areas. I will say that no meat went to waste.

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