Sunday, May 22, 2011

Story of Bill and Carl

Five-Springs Falls
Big Horn Mountains Wyoming

In 1936 money was short for everyone nationwide.  Family vacations were not in the plans for many.  However, my Grandparents decided to call their family together for an over-night on the Big Horn Mountain at the Five Springs Saw Mill that held so many dear memories from their early married life.

Although I was only 5 years old the events of this family 'mini vacation' in the mountains will always hold a special place in my reservoir of memories. 

Flowers on the Big Horns
My cousins and I picked billiant mountain flowers; we waded in icy mountain streams and stood under the sparkling waterfall streams and stood under the sparkling waterfall as it cascaded down over jagged rocks.
Five-Springs Falls
Dinner was cooked over an old fashioned camp-fire; the mountain air had given us huge appetities.  Corn on the cob and hot dogs had never tasted so good. 

We sat around the dying fire roasting marshmellows and singing all our favorite songs.  Then Grandma told us the story of "Bill and Carl."  It was the first time I'd heard it, and I will never forget that story as long as I live - perhaps it was the location where it was told - or the warm glow of the families' closeness that made it so memorable:

Bill and Carl
(as told by Grandma Asay)

The story I'm about to tell you is true.  It happened to a family in Idaho when my mother was a young girl.

A long time ago the little boys had to learn to work just like men.  They were taught to plow the fields, chop the wood, and drive the wagons just like their fathers.  Everyone worked so they could survive.

Bill and Carl, ages 8 and 12, were to go with a group of men and boys to the canyon to get wood for winter and logs for building houses.  Their mother prepared a nice lunch box for them and their father helped hitch up the wagon.  The boys gathered their bedding and were soon ready for the journey.

They were to meet the others at a certain place in the canyon, but as the boys reached the crossroads they weren't sure which fork to take.  Finally they gook the one that appeared to have the freshest tracks.  They headed their oxen up this canyon and rod all day going up and up.

When evening came the oxen were tired and they hadn't found anybody; they were still all alone.  So they decided to make camp and wait for the others to catch up.  The oxen were unhooked and fed.  The boys then built a small fire, spread out their bedrolls and ate their lunches.

Soon Bill said, "Carl, are you scared?"  Carl answered, "why no, of course not."  Bill said, "Do you think Ma and Pa will pray for us tonight?"  Carl convinced Bill that they would.  More times passed.  Bill said, "Carl, do you think Heavenly Father would hear us if we prayed to him?"  Carl assured him that He would and they knelt together by their dying fire praying to Heavenly Father that they would get home alright.  They thanked Him for the blessings that they had come that far safely.  They then prayed that the other group would soon catch up with them.

Bill went right to sleep, but Carl lay there wide awake.  Suddenly a loud war hoop was heard, and two huge Indians, jumped out from behind the pine trees.  They quickly tied the boys' hands, picked up their guns and other equipment - and made them further and further up into the mountains.  Finally when they couldn't go another step, camp was made.  Though they were terrified Bill and Carl knew they must act brave. 

During the night the boys were able to free themselves as the Indians slept.  They quietly found their guns, and twisted the oxens' tails until they got up and quickly headed right back the way they came. 

After while they stopped and Carl climbed to a look-out point ... Bill was to shoot if the Indians showed up.  As Carl looked down into the valley below, he heard a gunshot.  Could it be the Indians?  He hurried back to find Bill clutching his gun, and there were drops of blood on the rocks.  Bill proudly told his big brother he had scared the Indians away.

Horses were coming in the distance now, and the boys were so afraid it was more Indians, but as they got closer they recognized their father at the head!  He soon had his boys in his arms, and what tears of graitude were shed.

A few years later the pioneers invited the Indians to their 24th of July Celebration.  As Bill and Carl stood by their father, an Indian walked up and began telling them how brave they were.  But it wasn't until he showed them the gash on his face where he had been nicked by Bill's bullet that they finally understood.  The Indian explained how they admired the 2 young boys for their bravery on the mountain that day years ago.

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After Grandma's story we knelt in family prayer and slept out under the stars on old mattresses covered with heavy quilts.  How safe I felt with my parents on either side and all my strong uncles and grandparents to protect me from whatever unknowns the Big Horns had to offer ..... Indians and bears were my big concern!  But it was the elements that finally zapped us - a midnight shower complete with thunder and lightning sent us scurrying for shelter in cars, under trucks, and trees.  To me this made the whole thing an exciting adventure to be brought out and savored from my treasure chest of childhood memories in the years to come.
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Source: "Till We Meet Again" by Joy Marostica

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