As I Remember, Chapter 26

This entry is part 26 of 39 in the series Ted Bio

CHAPTER 26

      We stayed in Boise for a year or so. I spent one of those summers up at Granger Washington, working for a logging company that was cutting cottonwood on the river. I worked as a mechanic and welder, taking care of all their equipment. It was hard to find a job for me in the winter time. A bad back is sure one big handicap. The last winter we were there, I went on the road selling advertising. It didn’t work out so good.

      I had sold my Golden Hawk and was driving an old Pontiac. It caused me a lot of trouble. The sand plant over at Emmett had sure gone to pot. Their sales were way down. They sold a lot more stock in the company, then finally sold out to Del Monte. For Dell and my share, we ended up with only a few thousand dollars. But I guess we were lucky to get anything. We were on the right track alright. That plant today, plus that mountain of sand, is worth millions.

      We moved back to the Emmett Valley. There was an extra little house at the Harwell ranch. We moved into that. At least we would be close to Stan and Gertrude. Brother Cecil and his brother in law Vern Leighty had just planted a young cherry orchard. I told them. “I will take care of your orchard this summer, for the use of the land between the rows. I will keep it cultivated and irrigated. I will raise watermelons and cantaloupes in between.” It sounded like a good deal for both of us. This was something that I could handle. I planted it all. About fifteen acres. We had a beautiful crop coming on. Helen did most of the irrigating, I did the cultivating. She loved to work outside. She was the kind of a woman that needed something to do.

      Then one day along toward the end of July, disaster struck. We were just about to begin to harvest the crop, when Cecil and Vern dusted their prune orchard, which was on the west side of this field. The prunes had got mites on them and they dusted with sulfur. A breeze was blowing from the west that day and the melons also got dusted. That next day, they were a sad looking sight. The vines were curling up. The whole patch would be dead in a few days. I began to look around for the cause of this. Then I picked up one of those sulfur sacks that was lying on the ground. And right there in front of my eyes was the answer. CAUTION, it said. DO NOT DUST AROUND CUCURBITS. Then there was more. This stuff would kill the vines of any of the cucumber or melon vine. And it took very little of it.

      Helen and I were surely disappointed to say the least. We showed the patch to Cecil and Vern, also the empty sack and the warning. I guess they realized what they had done. Cecil said, “We carry insurance. I guess it’s about time that we found out whether or not it is any good.” They called their insurance man. He come and took a look. He shook his head. “A lot of different things could cause this.” he said. Then refused to pay any damage.

      Both Cecil and I went to different lawyers. We both got the same answers. Cecil and Vern were well protected. But I would have to file suit and take it to court. Cecil and I both understood. We shook hands and said. “See you in court.” I began to strengthen my case. I called the county agent and had him look the patch over. He knew what this dust would do. I found another fellow that had killed his own patch by dusting trees close by. I found a neighbor that had a small patch of melons. We dusted a few vines and waited. The next day, they began to wither and die. When the thing finally come to court, the jury wasn’t out five minutes. I won the case. But the insurance company still wouldn’t pay off. They stalled. They said that they would take it to a higher court. Finally we offered to settle for less money than we had been awarded. We didn’t come out with as much as we would have made if the patch hadn’t got ruined, but after the

lawyer got his cut, we still had a pretty good chunk of cash.

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