‘Old Bill must have had some mule in him’

From our March 2013 issue

By Al Murphy – Pitt Meadows, B.C.

After my dad’s death in June 1939, we five children (ages 6-12) were split up and moved to a mixed farming district in Egremont, which is 45 miles northeast of Edmonton, Alta.

We all went to mother’s relatives, the Wengers and Stimples. They farmed 160 acres within a radius of three miles.

At that time most of the farming was done with horses, although Uncle Paul had a John Deer tractor and a 1940 Nash car. He farmed Grandma Wenger’s homestead where I went to live.

One day, I took a wagonload of wheat to the elevator in Egremont with a team of horses named Kate and Bill.

I swear that old Bill had some mule in him, because whenever the pulling got heavy he would lay down in his traces. Old Bill did just this when we were going up the incline to the elevator.

It was the threshing season and a long lineup soon formed, since we were blocking all traffic. This was embarrassing to me, at 14 years of age.

The elevator man came and tried to move old Bill, but he wouldn’t get up. We went across the tracks to the village and got a truck to hook onto the neck yoke pole to pull the load of grain in. Old Bill had to get up then.

I never forgot this incident.