A Teenage Chapter
By Wayne J Ririe
(From NETWORK, the family newsletter,
volume 1, November 1996)
On the Ririe farm it was a six-day
run from early morning to sunset. Our Dad seemed to always remember a
job to absorb every minute. This busy schedule left only Sunday between
church meetings to have outdoor fun.
The so-called 'town kids' had Saturday
afternoon and church-sponsored softball. I used to wonder why the Stake
President never let his own kids off from farm chores to play at least
once in a while.
There were some definite rewards for
our hard work. Among them a Dodge pickup to use any time it wasn't tied
up in farm work, and in my teen years I had a new Buick to race around
the valley with. Perhaps my most treasured reward was the charge account
at Paul (Diamond) Dixon's lumber yard which allowed me to buy all the
rifle and shotgun shells I could use.
After church and Sunday dinner, I would
pick up Richard Moncur and Larry Moss and we would terrorize the neighborhood
and hills with gunfife, Mom always fretted about my escapades because
it was on the Sabbath Day. She had good reason to worry but not near
as much as Florence Moss, because it was her son, Larry, who got shot
three times. The number one was when I loaded a 12 gauge shotgun and
laid it on the bottom bunk in Jim's and my bedroom while I made my last
toilet stop before taking off. I was just opening the bathroom door when
I heard a loud explosion and soon smelled the powder burning from the
12 gauge. Upon entering the bedroom there was Jim, who was about age
11 at the time sitting on the bed with a startled look on his face. He
had sat on the bed, picked up the shotgun, aimed at the floor and pulled
the trigger Unfortunately for Larry, he was in the way and got three
or four beebees embedded in his leg. He bled like a stuck hog for a while
but was soon game for the afternoon trip.
Accident number 2 occurred the next
summer. Our big sport was to each hide behind a rock formation up in
the hills above Ririe while the others shot at the rocks which we hoped
would protect us. It was great fun as the rock chips would fly all over
and you could hear bullets ping all around.
We were walking through a formation
of several large rocks towering ten or twenty feet above us when an unlucky
lizard ran across the face of a rock. The bullets flew around like a
war zone and wouldn't you know, Larry got a piece of shrapnel in his
arm, He was so tough he didn't even flinch as we tried to locate the
entry place and dig out the lead or rock chips.
Now comes the stupid accident--even
beyond carelessness. Larry, Richard and I were walking along a canal
bank in H.T. Moss's field when a big house cat ran across the canal on
a pole. These wild cats hung around barnyards and kept themselves alive
on mice. Moncur thought it would be fun to try to shoot the cat off the
pole into the steam. We really were not out to kill cats, we were looking
for pesky squirrels who burrowed through ditch banks causing ruptures.
This could almost be rationalized into a Boy Scout good deed which was
surely acceptable on a Sunday afternoon. Larry was walking about 12 feet
in front of Richard when the 410 shotgun blast rumbled past, catching
a few stray beebees in Larry's poor wounded arm. Larry is a temple worker
in the San Diego temple. He has had a successful career as a dentist
and a successful hobby as an artist. The Lord certainly protected 3 foolish
hunters who would later repent and become missionaries.
The scariest experience for my mom
was a trumped-up non-event. One Sunday as Richard, Larry, and I were
driving back from the granite dry farm where we had been playing with
dynamite (we were into the big time explosions now!). Richard noticed
two marks on my wrist that looked like a rattlesnake bite. I had not
a guess as to how or where the marks came from. Anyway, when I got to
school the next morning the word was out. . ."Wayne got bit by a
rattler up on the granite dugway while rolling rocks, and Richard had
sucked out the poison!" (Brave boy) What could I do but go along
with the story? A classmate, Joy Bowen, brought a rattlesnake skull to
school and I stood in front of the class while Joy fit the fangs very
neatly into the two red marks on my wrist. The teacher, Mr. Reading,
even pointed out where the fangs had pulled out at an angle, leaving
two marks to prove it. They were making a fabulous falsehood even more
fabulous. I was a celebrity. How could I ever deny it? All went well
until along came the only athletic event I participated in during my
high school years, my moment of glory. I was boxing Bill Groth in the
annual boxing event called the "Smokeless Smoker."
I don't ever recall my dad ever attending
any of the several plays I acted in or any of the band concerts I stumbled
through, but there he was on the highest bleacher sitting by Fay Anthony.
When my name was announced as the next fighter, big mouth Fay said, "Wayne
surely isn't going to box tonight so soon after his rattlesnake bite." I
was had! Soon my mom and the whole family was concerned about my life.
Oh boy! The whole affair was way out of hand now and strictly non-deniable.
The proof was there and Moncur was enjoying keeping the flame of the
When I got home from my mission four
years later I tried to convince mom that the snake bite was a hoax. She
really never quite believed me. She thought I was just trying to cover
up a foolish chapter in my life.
All in all, growing up on a farm in
Ririe, ID was more than just a life . . . it was a great adventure. From
shooting lizards, tipping over toilets, and riding a rubber raft down
the river, it was great fun while it lasted.
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