(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
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.