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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 lie alive.

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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