The Plank Road, My First Job

D. E. Larsen, DVM

We had moved to a small (160 acres) farm up the river from Broadbent in December of 1949. There was a lot of snow that winter. We probably had a foot of snow on the ground that January. That was unusual for Southwestern Oregon. With 2 older brothers, I learned every corner of the farm, exploring the hill in the snow.

I learned when a grouse is roasted over an open fire, you don’t want to eat too close to the bone. Drinking from a bubbling brook was a new experience for me. Finding a long dead sheep in the same stream a short distance up the hill taught me to drink upstream from the herd.

By the spring of 1950, I was a hardy 5-year-old farm boy. Left at home by myself and Mom while the other kids were in school, I was allowed to roam the farm’s lower reaches by myself. I was not supposed to go to the creek, and I could not cross the road to the fields by the river.

That spring, I acquired a new job. I became the construction supervisor of the plank road going to the mill being built up the creek. In those days, they often would build a small mill at the timber source, harvest the timber, and saw the lumber right there. When the job was done, they would pull the mill’s hardware and move to the next location.

  The creek road was gravel, but the lower road that crossed the field was a plank road. This road was being built along the fence on the neighbor’s place. I could scurry across that fence in a flash.

Ernie Bryant was building the road. He was a friend of my folks. They had been in school together, years ago. 

Ernie knew who I was before I introduced myself. I had him explain everything he was doing on that first day. I wanted to know everything if I was going to be supervising the rest of the job.  

Ernie laid out two parallel rows of railroad ties, staggered, so the joints between the ties were never lined up with the opposite joint. Then he would lay the large planks across the ties. These planks were large, rough-cut planks, probably 3 by 12 inches. Ernie nailed the planks down with large nails that looked about 6 inches long. The planks were 8 feet long. They extended out from the railroad ties about a foot on each side. I am sure the work was hard. Ernie built the entire plank road by himself.

Most of the time, Ernie showed up at 8:00 AM. That gave me plenty of time to see the brothers and sister off to the school bus and finish breakfast. The first day I didn’t pack a lunch and had to run back to the house when Ernie stopped to eat his lunch. 

After that first day, I always showed up with my lunch in a paper sack and a thermos of milk. I stowed these in the old stump on the fence line. This was an old cedar stump with a rather large cedar tree growing out of its center. All the time after that first day, I would sit and eat my lunch with Ernie. We would discuss the progress we expected to make on the road in the coming afternoon during lunch. Sometimes we would talk about Mom in her school days so many years before. After lunch, I would stand partway around the stump as Ernie and I would pee on the stump.

One morning when the plank road was getting close to the gravel road, I showed up at 8:00 AM, and Ernie was not there. I had learned from my Grandfather and Uncle Ern that to be late for anything was terrible and to be late for work was the worst thing you could do on a job. 

I sat down on the ground by the stump. I would sit on the plank road, but the planks were very rough, and I thought it would probably give me splinters in my butt. I had had splinters in my hands before. I didn’t want Mom to be digging a splinter out of my butt with one of her sewing needles.

Finally, Ernie came driving up the plank road. I stood up and greeted him as he came to a stop and got out of his pickup.

“You’re late for work,” I said. “My Grandpa says you should never show up late for work.”

“I bet you have a time clock in that pocket of yours,” he replied with a smile on his face. “I figure that if I work hard today that I could finish this road. Then you are not going to have anything to do.”

Ernie was right. This had been a fun couple of weeks. I had not thought about the fact the job would be over one day.

“I have lots of stuff to do,” I replied. “One of these days, I was going to convince Mom that I am big enough to fish in the creek by myself.”

Ernie finished the plank road that afternoon. He was picking up his tools when I came running down the road with a small bag of the large spikes that had been left on the old cedar stump. Ernie finished, reached in his pocket, and pulled out his wallet. He handed me two dollars.

“Here you go, young man. I appreciate all your help. We will have trucks using this road next week. You make sure you stay out of their way,” he said as he handed me the two bills.

Two dollars was a small fortune to a 5-year-old in 1950. I had nickels and dimes before, but I don’t think I ever had a dollar bill, let alone 2 of them. Ernie was driving down the plank road on his way home when I scrambled across the fence. I stopped and returned to retrieve my lunch sack and thermos from the stump. Then I was off again to show Mom that I was a rich young man.

The Lone Toad

D. E. Larsen, DVM

My eighth-grade year was a significant learning year for me. I had moved from the small community of Broadbent at the end of my seventh grade. We moved to a dairy farm on Catching Creek, outside of the big city of Myrtle Point. I went from a class of 8 kids to an actual junior high school with an eighth grade class of probably 50 kids, taught in two classrooms.

At home, I had a creek to hunt in and a large marsh to learn, first hand, about biodiversity and biomass. This marsh dried to scattered pools in the summer months. These pools teemed with life: catfish, bullfrogs, polliwogs, muskrats, dragonfly larva, and more. And I learned them all.

In the classroom, I found teachers who actually thought I needed to do homework. This was utterly foreign to me. I felt that if I could do well on the tests, I had no need to do the daily work. It had worked well for me up to that time, and I could see no reason for it to be different now.

“I want each of you to pick a topic from the list and write a three-page research paper on that topic,” Mrs. Meyers said. “That means you need to go to the library and find information about the topic and write the paper. And you need to list your references at the end of the paper. I expect everyone to have at least 3 references.”

I raised my hand. “Mrs. Meyers, does the list of references count toward the three pages,” I asked?

“David, you can write more than three pages if you want, but if those references fill the third page, that counts.”

That was all I needed to hear. I would do what I had to do, none of those extra pages stuff for me.

Then, this group of girls in the class wanted to meet at the city library to do the research. And so it was agreed. I am not entirely sure who was all involved, but they were city kids.

For me, a trip to the city library was a big ordeal. My mother dropped me off. I would have to start walking the two miles home that night, and Mom would pick me up. She would plan to be in town at 8:00, so how far I had to walk just depended on when we finished.

Us boys were all seated at a large table in the library. We were working hard on our topics. We each had pulled our 3 reference books and were busy getting information down. I was trying to make sure that I listed as much information on the reference books as possible. My reference list filled half of the last page.

We boys talked in hushed tones, understanding that we were in a public library and not disturbing the other patrons. The girls were in and out of the book racks and not seated at their table. They kept coming to our table and talking a bit before rushing back to the rows of books and jabbering there.

It was not long, and the old lady running the library came by and told us we would have to be quiet. We explained that it was the girls who were making all the noise.

It was not long, and the old lady came by again.

“If you boys and girls can’t do your work quietly, I am going to have to ask you to leave,” The old lady said.

I am not sure that the girls had ever been disciplined in their lives. They didn’t change their conduct one bit.

“Okay, I gave you boys and girls two warnings,” the old lady said. “You are not showing any respect for the others here in the library. I am asking you to gather your stuff and leave now.”

Leave now, I thought, I will have to walk all the way home. We gathered our stuff, and the old lady ushered us out the front door.

There we were, standing on the sidewalk, trying to figure out why we boys got kicked out when we were not the ones making the noise. The girls were still giggling about the whole thing. I don’t think I had ever been kicked out of anything in my entire life. And now I was going to have to walk two miles home, in the dark.

Then the unexpected happened.

“What is that,” Rick asked?

Coming down the sidewalk was the largest and the ugliest toad that I had ever seen. It was close to a bullfrog’s size and had nobs like projections protruding from its head and back.

“That is the biggest toad I have ever seen,” I said.

“I have never seen anything like it,” one of the girls said.

I scooped up the toad to get a better look at it. I had seen a few smaller toads before, but nothing near this size. The toad did not seem afraid at all and sort of nestled in my hand. 

“What are you going to do with him,” one of the noisiest girls asked?

“I think we should put him in the book return and give that old lady a thrill tonight,” I said.

I had noticed that she had retrieved several books earlier when she heard the lid on the book return clank.

“When she hears the lid, she will hurry over to get the book and put it away,” I explained. “Then she will have to spend the rest of the evening getting someone to get the toad out of there.”

And so it was agreed. And I opened the book return lid and carefully placed the toad in the bottom of the bin. I did not slam the cover, but I closed it in a loud enough manner that I was confident the old lady would hear it. 

Then we laughed and scattered, each heading home. I started a slow walk. I wasn’t sure what time it was, but it must have been well before 8:00.

When I reached the bridge on the edge of town that crosses the railroad tracks and the river, I stopped and watched the shack belonging to Shy the Panther. He was the town bum. There were a lot of stories about him. He was said to have got his name from his days as a boxer. There was no activity at the shack this night.

I was lucky. Mom showed up before I was across the bridge.

“Did you get done early,” Mom asked?

“We got kicked out of the library because the girls would not keep quiet,” I said.

“Are you sure it was just the girls making the noise?”

“Pretty sure, but that’s okay. I put a toad in the book return for the old lady who kicked us out,”

“David, you didn’t!” 

“Yes, it was the biggest toad I have ever seen. It just came jumping down the sidewalk. I bet it made that old lady jump when she opened the bin on the inside.”

“I bet,” Mom said with a smile on her face.

In the years following, when I needed a  laugh, I conjured up the image of that night. I pictured a hysterical reaction of that old lady when she retrieved the ‘book’ from the book return. Only to find the poor toad. It was probably unfair to the toad, but a very fitting payback to the old lady.

Photo by Lucas van Oort on Unsplash

Christmases in the Army

D. E. Larsen, DVM

“Company D, Private Drake speaking, can I help you,” Bill answered the phone on a snowy Christmas Eve in 1965. Bill and I were pulling CQ duty for Company D, a duty company for troops waiting for school at Fort Devens.

We were a couple of lucky ones; we were permanent CQs. We were given private squad rooms in the old World War Two barracks that were housing an overload of troops in the big build-up of Vietnam forces. We worked in 24 hours shifts, with 48 hours off.

“Yes, I know a couple of guys who would be interested,” Bill said.

“What are you getting us into now,” I asked? I was not expecting an answer, but Bill was always quick to volunteer my services.

“We can meet you at Battalion Headquarters by 8:15. We don’t get relieved until 8:00, but we should be able to make that schedule.”

Bill hung up the phone and looked at me with a big smile on his face.

“We have a Christmas dinner to go to tomorrow,” Bill said. “We have to be in Class A uniform and meet the Battalion CQ at Headquarters by 8:15.”

“Where are we going,” I asked?

“Does it matter? It is going to be better than eating Christmas dinner at Con 4 and sleeping for most of the day.”

At 6:00 in the morning, Bill and I took turns going to the barracks, showering and changing into our Class A uniform. When we were relieved by the next CQ crew, we walked through the snow the half a dozen blocks to Battalion Headquarters.

I imagined that we looked somewhat like Mutt and Jeff. Bill was 6′ 4″ and had a heavy black shadow on his face even though he had shaved a couple of hours before. And I was trying to match his stride, and I had to stretch to measure 5′ 8″.

The Battalion CQ was a Specialist 4, who had been in the Army for several years. He was waiting at the doorstep and fell in with us.

“We meet them at the main gate in 15 minutes,” Stan said.

Bill and I were mismatched on height, but we were both in good shape and trim. Stan was taller than me and quite well rounded.

“The main gate is over a mile,” Bill said as he lengthens his stride. I was used to matching his long stride, Stan sort of looked like a young kid who had to take four steps and then run four steps to keep pace.

By the time we reached the main gate, the snow was probably close to 4 inches deep. Mr. Terhune was waiting across the street in his VW van. He was with a couple of preteen boys. Getting into the warm van was a welcome relief.

We drove to their house in Groton, some 4 miles distant. The Terhune’s had 4 kids. The oldest was their daughter, who was a freshman in high school, and 3 younger boys. We had dinner, which Bill jumped right into the kitchen to help prepare. Then we spent the afternoon talking and drinking more than a little wine. 

Having just pulled 24 hours of duty, a full day of eating, and topped off with ample wine, I was asleep before my head hit the pillow that night. But it was Christmas to remember, and the Terhune’s remained friends and a place to escape to for the entire year we were at Devens.

Christmas in Korea was a different event but just as memorable. I arrived in Korea in the middle of September 1966, and I was well adjusted to the country by Christmas. Stationed South of Seoul, at Camp Humphreys, I spent a lot of my free time at the orphanage that we supported in An Song.

A group of us spent Christmas Eve at the orphanage. Following dinner, the group of elementary kids continued my lessons in Korean. The little girls were very serious about this instruction. They would frown when the boys were hysterical over my pronunciation of even the simplest words.

We did a Santa for the kids with toys purchased by the guys at the 177th. The kids all went to midnight mass, and so it late when they got to bed. 

On Christmas morning, we loaded everyone up and took them to Camp Humphreys for Christmas dinner with the entire company. Before dinner, all the staff and the older kids had the opportunity to take showers in the barracks. That was probably the best present we could give them. Then dinner in mess hall and entertainment in the club. All the kids were well worn out when we loaded them onto the trucks for the trip home.

The next morning the young kids were hanging all over me. It was apparent the kids didn’t want us to go. The staff was still in a state of euphoria from their day at the company compound. But we loaded up in the trucks for the drive back to the company. I opened the window and shouted goodbye, in Korean, to the kids.

“Annyeong,” I said. The boys almost rolled on the ground, but the girls laughed and waved.

 The drive back to base seemed longer than usual as we rolled down a dusty dirt road lined with dry rice paddies. My mind did drift back home with only a twinge of homesickness.

My experience in Germany was different still. I arrived in Germany in the middle of December 1967. Even though I had friends from Fort Devens, I really had no time to settle into an off duty routine before Christmas. My first Christmas in Germany was spent on the base at Rothwesten. Christmas dinner at the mess hall was well done and accompanied by some German carolers. The evening I spent at the NCO club, again filled with entertainment. It was less than ideal, but it was a pretty good day.

Christmas in 1968 found me in Schöningen, a small village on the East German border. I was stationed at Wobeck, a significant border listening post with about 70 of us stationed there. Christmas here was super. The town went all out on their decorations and festivities. There was a Christmas spirit everywhere. 

We had a major Christmas party at the ‘Swing Club’ in the Banhof Hotel. The club was not supposed to make a profit, so it had to give away a lot of booze to make sure the books came out even for the year.  Needless to say, there were a few drunk GIs.

A couple of us were invited to Christmas dinner at Howey and Holley’s house. Wives were a recent addition at Schöningen. Before this time, only men without dependants were stationed there. Holley was the best cook that I had seen since my mother. Howey was very drunk at the end of the party, and we had to help Holley get him into the car.

They lived in Wolsdorf, a little village a few miles out of Schöningen. They had an upstairs apartment in a new house, still finishing its construction. It was built on a hillside, and there were three stories with a high porch to the entry on the middle level. The steps and porch were new and not completely finished. There was no railing on the steps or porch.

When we arrived at 1:00 for dinner, Holley was slow to answer the door. She looked like she had was running on empty.

“Are you okay,” I asked? “You look like you have been cooking all night.

“I feel like it. We had quite a time last night,” Holley said. “And my night was just starting when we left.”

“You know, we can find a place to eat in town,” I said. “You don’t have to wear yourself out to feed us.”

“I should have had you guys help me get Howey home last night,” Holley said. “Let me tell you the story.”

“When we got to the house, it was not too hard for me to get him out of the car. And I sort of kept him against the wall as we struggled up the steps to the porch. We made it up here with no problem. I stood Howey up on the porch, turned around, and unlocked the front door. When I turned back around, he was gone. There he was, ten feet below, spread eagle in the snow and mud.”

“Is he okay,” Schniedewind asked? “That is a long way to fall.”

“He was too drunk to get hurt. But that was just the start of it. I had to get him up out of the snow and mud, back up the stairs, and then up the stairs to the apartment.”

“It looks like you made it,” I said. 

“Yes, I made, but there was a trail of snow and mud all the way. There was mud on the wall coming up the stairs. You know how the Germans are. They would kick us out of here for such a mess. So there I am, in the middle of the night, mopping the porch and washing the wall. It seemed like I no more than finished, and it was time to get the turkey into the oven. It was certainly a Christmas Eve that I won’t forget in a long time.”

About this time, Howey makes his entrance from the bedroom. He was fresh out of the shower but still feeling the effects of the party. We greeted him. Holley didn’t have much to say to him.

The dinner was excellent, as was expected from a cook like Holley. But the tension between the couple put a little chill in the air. Schniedewind and I made a pretty quick exit following dinner.

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas

D. E. Larsen, DVM

My first experience with a sick pig occurred during my senior year in vet school. At Colorado State University, we would only see an occasional pig. If you were not in a midwestern school, your swine medicine instruction came mostly from the book. During one of my weeks on night duty, I accompanied the intern on a farm call to look at this sick sow.

It was the night before Christmas in central Colorado, 10:00 PM and very cold, meaning about -20° F. The wind was blowing hard, and the blowing snow was obscuring the highway’s surface as we headed east out of Fort Collins.

“I hope she’s in a warm barn,” I said as I snuggled down into my parka.

“Don’t bet on it. We wouldn’t even be on this call if it wasn’t for Dr. Voss. He is apparently friends with this family. We have never seen them before.” Young Dr. Sanders explained. Dr. Voss was one of the horse doctors at the teaching hospital and carried a lot of weight, especially with the young interns.

We pulled onto the small farm and were met by two young boys. Their parents were not at home. The boys had found the sow in trouble and called Dr. Voss. The cold was almost unbearable, with the wind blowing like it was.

“Where is she at?” We asked, hoping to be lead to the barn.

“In the back of the pigpen.” The older boy replied, pointing to the low sprawling shed on the north side of the barn.

This pig pen was a fenced area with about a four-foot roof covering it. The entryway was in the middle of the shed, on the roof. 

Hanging his head through the hatch, the young boy pointed to the far corner.

“She’s laying over there,” he said, pointing with a weak flashlight.  

We went back to the truck and loaded our pockets with everything we thought we might need. Hoping we would not have to spend any more time exposed to this weather than necessary.  

Dr. Sanders handed me the flashlight after I jumped into the pigpen. Then he scrambled in after me. The wind still stung our faces as it blew through the wide slats in the fence. We duck walked back toward the corner the boys had pointed out to us. At least all the manure was frozen solid. “This would be just as interesting in the summer,” I thought.

We found the sow right where the boys said she would be. We could see the older boy hanging his head through the hatch, watching our progress. The sow was flat out. She had some mastitis and, obviously, an advanced pregnancy. The chance of helping her in this situation was nil. The possibility of getting her out of here tonight was did not exist.

“What do you think?” Dr. Snyder asked me as we examined the sow on our knees. He was trying to maintain a teaching situation, but we were both freezing.  

“I think we should give her a big dose of penicillin. Tell them to bring her into the hospital in the morning.” I replied in a typical cold student fashion.

“I agree.” Dr. Sanders said. “Let’s do it and get the hell out of here before we freeze.”

We both knew this sow needed more care than a couple of shots, but there was no way we could do anything for her in this situation. This treatment would at least give her a chance of living through the night.

“I wonder how they found her?” I asked as we headed back to the hatch. This would prove to be a question often on my mind in the years to come as I would treat animals in the middle of the night in all sorts of situations and environments.

“You guys did a good job to find her and call Dr. Voss.” Dr. Sanders praised the boys. “If she’s alive in the morning, you have your dad bring her into the hospital.” He instructed.

We jumped into the truck, it was cold, but we were instantly out of the wind.

“Get that heater going,” I said as Dr. Sanders started the truck.

It would take the whole night to warm up. We probably were close to hypothermia that night. I never heard if the sow lived through the night. I doubt very much that she did.

Photo by Ibiza Ibiza Ibiza on Unsplash

Grandpa’s Hog Snare

D. E. Larsen, DVM

   The first large boar I castrated was quite an event for me. I had been told of a good anesthesia technique that sounded pretty simple. “Inject 5 grams of Surital (Thiamylal) into one testicle. When the boar falls over, open the scrotum and clamp the cord of the injected testicle. Every time the boar shows some movement, remove the clamp on the cord until he is asleep again. Then when everything else is done, remove the injected testicle and let him wake up.” 

   Sounds simple, but try sticking an eighteen gauge needle into the testicle of a 700-pound boar who is not happy about meeting you in the first place and who is in a pen that may or may not hold him. 

First, I had to mix the Surital in a manageable concentration. Five grams are usually combined with 100 ml of sterile water. I needed to mix it so it would all fit in a 60 ml syringe. It proved a little challenging to get all the powder to dissolve in a smaller amount of water. I put 45 ml of water into the vial first and mixed it at that concentration. Then I drew it into the syringe and added enough water to bring the volume to 60 ml. Attaching an 18 gauge, 1 ½ inch needle to the syringe, I was ready for the injection.

   With all my equipment laid out by the pile of fresh straw where the boar was hopefully going to fall, I headed to the pen, syringe in hand. This pen was too large, and the boar could quickly turn around. Every time I positioned myself behind him, he would twirl around and charge me, ramming the panels with his snout. He was becoming more agitated by the minute.

   Old man Morris watched the spectacle for a few minutes. I think he was trying to not laugh. 

  “I think we need to get a hold of him,” Mr. Morris said.

  “And just how do you think that is going to happen?” I asked.

  “We should be able to get a snare on his snout,” he replied. “He wants to face you head-on, none of that sneaking up on his nuts.”

   “I will grab my snare, If I can find it,” Mr. Morris said. He disappeared into the old barn. 

This boar was a new project for Mr. Morris. He picked him at a bargain price at the sale barn and planned to make sausage out of him. They say if you put boar meat in a frying pan, it will run you out of the house. It smells as bad as the old boar. But if you castrate these guys and give them 6 months of rest and relaxation, they make pretty good sausage. I would think you would get tired of the stuff after 400 pounds. 

   Mr. Morris was a quiet man, his wife had died several years ago, and he lived alone now. I would guess the barn was older him. He had to be in his eighties, short, gray-haired, and walking with a little stooped over posture. His knees bothered him as he walked across the uneven ground in the barnyard.

   He came back with a hog snare that looked much older than him. “This was my grandfather’s hog snare,” he said as he held it up for my inspection. The smile on his face told of the memories going through his mind right now.

   This snare had a rusty cable loop that was attached to a wood handle. There was an old rope on the other end of the wooden handle. If you got the cable loop around the snout, you could anchor the whole thing to a post to maintain control of the captive. This was definitely homemade but looked like it might work.

   “If we catch his snout with this snare and tie it to the corner post, he will stand here and squeal as he pulls back on the snare. That should give you enough time to do your thing behind him,” Mr. Morris explained. “I don’t know if it will hold him for the entire thing.”

   “If it holds him at all,” I said. “All I need is a moment to get this injection into one of his testicles.”

   “How does that work?” Mr. Morris asked, clearly confused.

   “This injection will put him to sleep, and the rest of the procedure will be a piece of cake,” I explained.

   I retrieved a jug of mineral oil from the truck and lubed the old snare the best I could. I was afraid to ask how old it was and when it was last used. I kept telling myself, “I only needed a minute.”

   It took several tries to get the snare on his snout. When I finally managed to catch him, I leaned back and pulled on the handle as hard as possible. The whole time, hoping this old snare held together.  

   To say the boar squealed would be a tremendous understatement. The squeal was a harsh roar, a bellowing screech. It was the loudest thing I had heard from a pig. The boar was pulling back with such a force I didn’t know who would be tied to the post, him or me. It actually worked out almost perfectly. He pulled back till his rear end hit the far corner of the small pen. I pulled hard and took two wraps around the post with the rope, and handed the end of the old rope to Mr. Morris. Mr. Morris had a big smile on his face, knowing that his grandfather would be proud. 

The boar was pulling back, and his testicles were sticking through the slats of the pen. The injection was a snap. I popped the needle into his left testicle, and there was no noticeable response, no change in the intensity of his screech. 

   Once the injection was complete, I motioned to Mr. Morris he could let go of the rope. The boar immediately quieted, shaking his head to remove the snare. He returned to his usual grunts and grumbles.

   “As soon as he starts to wobble, we need to open this pen and try to direct him over to that pile of straw,” I said.

Things moved pretty fast, another minute, and he was wobbling. We swung open the pen, and he stumbled out, made it to the edge of the straw, and fell to his right side. I watched him briefly, making sure he wasn’t going to jump up again. There was nystagmus in his eyes, so I started with a quick prep of his scrotum and then sprayed it with Betadine.

   I washed quickly and dried my hands on a surgery towel. After putting on a pair of sterile surgery gloves, I grabbed the scalpel and incised over the left testicle and through the tunic. I pulled the testicle free and clamped the cord with a large Oschner forceps. Then I relaxed a little, did a better prep on the scrotum’s right side, and flushed the area again with Betadine. I incised the scrotum over the right testicle and through the tunic. I pulled the right testicle out and applied a clamp on the cord, just for insurance. I applied the emasculator to the cord, saying to myself, “nut to nut,” to make sure the emasculator’s crushing side was in the proper position. One good squeeze and the testicle fell free.

   “You don’t want these, do you?” I asked Mr. Morris.

   “There ain’t nothing about this guy that is going to be worth eating for another 6 months,” he replied.

After making sure the crush on the cord was adequate, I applied some antibiotic powder to the cord and released the clamp. Then I powdered the inside of the wound. I went up to the boar’s head and checked to make sure there were no injuries from the snare, then turned to the last testicle. The boar was flecking his ears now, so I released the clamp for a moment. He quieted quickly. I clamped the cord and removed the testicle with the emasculator, again, saying to myself, “nut to nut.” I powdered the cord and the scrotal incision and sprayed the entire rear end for flies. Not wanting to catch him again, I gave him an injection of long-acting penicillin.

  “Is he going to be okay?” Mr. Morris asked.

   “He will be fine. He will be back on his feet before I get my stuff put away,” I replied. “I am going to take these testicles and throw them away at the clinic. If your dog got ahold of the one I injected, it might kill him.”

   I was doing the final wash on my hands and arms when the old boar rolled up on his sternum. He stood up just as I closed the rear door on the vet box.

   “Couldn’t have done it without your grandfather’s snare,” I said to Mr. Morris.

   He just smiled and nodded his head as he put a couple of wraps of the rope around the handle.

Photo by Clint Patterson on Unsplash

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