(This is part of the Growing Up In Utah's Dixie series, by LaVarr B. Webb)


The year was 1934. We were hauling hay from fields

in and around Virgin. Ray Maloney was pitching the hay on

to the wagon; Allan Maloney and I were arranging each pile,



After the load was on, Ray would drive the team to

the stack. Once, as we came out of the field, Ray dropped

one wheel of the wagon into a ditch, the load tilted, and

the next thing I knew, I was running through the air, trying

to get away from the hay which was about to bury me. I

managed to hit the ground upright and still running.


I had been standing up. Ray and Allan were sitting

down. When we lost the load, they rode the hay to the

ground, and were buried. They dug their way out of the

pile, very itchy and coughing and gagging. By the time we

had the hay reloaded and unloaded on the stack, it was

time for a swim.


We went to a hole in the river just northeast of town.

There was a high vertical bank on the town side of the

river, but the other side was quite flat, and there was even

some sand between the rocks on which skinny-dipping boys

could relax, but the best part was the high bank with trees

on top, all of which provided shade in the late afternoon.

The pool itself was rather shallow, and though one could

not do much swimming, one could mud crawl.


While we were mud crawling, heads barely up out of the

water, I looked up and saw a large rattlesnake swimming

down the river and into our hole. Needless to say,

we vacated the hole. We were not able to sink him, or

even stop him, but we made that hole-stealing rattle snake

very uncomfortable for a few minutes, as we pelted rocks

at him.


I think it was the next day when Ray threw a cock of

hay up on the load. I stretched my big Webb feet out,

ready to step on it, to tromp it, and integrate it into the

rest of the load. Just as I put my feet up, another big

rattlesnake popped out of the pile.


Again, just I did before when the load tipped over, I

started running. I ran right off that load of hay, and tried

to run while in mid air, but I hit the ground too soon, and

that snake, also abandoning the load, just missed going

down my back through the neck of my shirt.


Now, Allan and Ray laughed and laughed. They thought

a boy trying to run in mid air in order to keep a rattle snake

from dropping down his neck was very funny. How funny,

I didn't realize unto years later.


It was 1957, and I and my brother-in-law, George Keil,

were hauling hay. I was pitching the cocks up onto the

wagon, and he was tromping. Just as I picked up a cock, I

noticed a large king snake trying to crawl out. I hurriedly

tossed the cock up to George, and I watched as he put his

foot out, ready to tromp it. Then he let out a yell, and

started to run, and I laughed and laughed at a man trying

to run in mid air in order to keep a large king snake from

dropping down his neck.