C-119 Fairchild “Flying Boxcar” Troop Carrier

The untold stories that fill my head should keep me busy for the next decade or so. By the time I use up what is up there now, I’ll have another batch to share. I could even stretch a few true stories into tall tales and make you guess what is true and not true.

This untold story is about the time we went to the dump to watch bears when I was about eight years old. Bears would show up at the town dump for a free meal. One time this big bruiser came waddling out of the pit with a big grocery bag hanging from his teeth. He looked like he was headed for work and brown bagging that evening.

In between bear sightings, people would get out and talk to each other, as they often do in Small Town America. I was talking to this other kid and he said he had seen a big plane. I had just watched a war movie with my dad in which the Fairchild C-119 Flying Boxcar was featured. I told the kid about it, and then the kid went over to his dad and pointed at me.

“That boy saw a flying train.”

His dad took a good look at me, and then he whispered in his son’s ear. That boy never spoke to me again.

When I got older, the other fun thing to do at the dump was shoot rats. They had rats down there as big as small dogs it seemed. We went with our .22 rifles. The guy who sat at the gate would warn us not to shoot each other or the people who came to dump garbage. I never heard of anyone getting shot, but a kid named Reggie got his skin caught in the bolt of his .22 and it took off a strip of skin about a 1/4 inch wide and two inches long.

Reggie’s mother came down to the dump after that and quizzed the gate keeper, and then all of us kids. Turns out, Reggie was trying to see how fast he could fire ten shots off and got his thumb caught. When he freed it, it stripped off the skin. For a while, we thought someone was getting arrested for shooting Reggie’s thumb, but it turned out to be his own darn fault and the only arrest that was made was his .22 winding up on the mantle for a month.

After our ammo was used up, we’d take our rats and the guy at the gate would give us a Nickle apiece for them. Eventually they stopped us from shooting rats out of concerns that they were paying underage kids to shoot rats and if someone got hurt, the county would have big trouble.

They tried trapping them after that, but it didn’t work. Poison was considered, but folk were concerned the poison would end up in a pet, or a game animal and then onto someone’s table. So the poison idea was tabled. Along came another guy who said for a 1000 dollars, he’d shoot 99 percent of the rats. He was hired without much talk and he set up a couple of shooting spots down at the dump.

There was a whole lot of shooting and the air was thick with gun smoke. When it was all over, he had himself a pile of rats.  The next weekend, there were rats all over the place, same as always. It looked like there were more than ever.

And that was how I learned a good piece of wisdom about rats and well…

“Ya put politicians in charge, they multiply like rabbits and ye can’t get rid of them no how, just like rats.”

Copyright © 2013 MJ Logan Writer All Rights Reserved

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