Remembering the good life

By John Pierre | Jul 11, 2013

I enjoy writing about people I've known in my journey through life.

Having said that, I feel the need to relate a story about some hillbillies (or country folk if you prefer) with whom I lived for a while when my family had moved away from Yelm and where I was fairly happy as a sophomore in the high school there and where I first noticed the girl who would become my wife nearly 61 years ago.

I won't specifically identify these folks, though I'm reasonably sure both have long since expired, but they were unique and I would like to relate a few bits 'n' pieces of their lifestyle.

They had no modern conveniences such as running water or refrigeration and such.

But Russell and Anna lived a simplistic life where they seemed completely happy.  From a few milk cows we churned butter and drank warm milk, worked hard and stayed healthy.

Russell lived with his significant other (Anna) whose ancestry was American Indian though I have no idea the tribe from which she might have evolved.

They relied heavily on the predications offered by the Ouija board and a Farmer's Almanac that had been published decades earlier... but they enjoyed life and I envied them that simplicity.

Russell was a dead shot with his octagonal barreled 30.06 and, often while we were milking the several cows after dark (or as they said "after night") Russell would ask us (his other boarder, Frank, and me) to keep quiet as he open his one and only oiled barn "window" and leveled his flashlight-bracketed rifle at the nearby orchard which had always been a temptation to various deer in the area.

When he clipped on the light and the reflective eyes peered back... BANG... and he always succeeded in downing the animal.

Upon hearing that single shot from a quarter of a mile away, Anna, who knew that Russell never missed, began to boil jars on her heated up wood stove to can the fresh meat.

Russell's only vehicle was a 1942 Willys jeep with which he plowed and disked the fairly good-sized area where vegetables would be planted and cultivated until canning time.  We occasionally were loaded into said jeep and took a trek to town... Yelm.  It was an occasion for us.

In the evening hours, Frank and I listened to a battery powered radio... smoked a few roll y'r owns and cussed as the conversation warranted.   It was a happy life.

All of us worked hard milking the cows, slopping the hogs and weeding the corn but we enjoyed the life.  I miss it sometimes.

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