Column: Swinging on gates of unforgettable memories

We all have indelible memories of incidents when we were very young.

We all have indelible memories of incidents when we were very young.

This memory comes to me every time I pass a particular ranch on the Beaver Lake Road.

That is the road that runs from Beaver Valley to McLeese Lake. The ranch may be called Beedy Creek Ranch.

It had a place in early settlement times probably when the gold mining was still in the post rush phase.

The house was built as a spring house. The cold stream literally ran through the building to cool milk and keep food cold.

This was a supply stopping house on the wagon road. The spring had been diverted many years before and the floor was wooden.

At the time of my memory it was owned by Bill and Inez Crosina. They were very good friends of my parents.

It was a Sunday afternoon. In those days our family went for Sunday drives — my dad and four kids at the time.

Mom was along.

She usually needed the day off from the kids, but she did go on the drive to special places.

Such was this place.

Dad and “Uncle Bill” were looking at cattle somewhere in the barnyard.

Mom and “Aunt Inez” were in the house.

I was swinging on the pole gate that led to the corral.

My brothers were pushing the gate and I got the ride as it swung open and closed.

On a ranch that was not done and if you were caught you were admonished, which I was.

Being sensitive like most kids, I ran to my mother (dad was implicated in the “admonishing.)”

Mom assured me that uncle Bill really did like little people, and that I should never swing on gates.

Most of out gateposts now are firmly in the ground and made of treated wood.

Even if they are properly braced they seem to move just enough so the gates hit the ground before they are open.

That is a nuisance, especially if you don’t want to get off your horse to lift them, or if you have a bad back.

Pole gates are heavy.

Never will I forget the lesson that I passed on to our kids and their friends.

And never will I forget the night uncle Bill spent the night sleeping in our kitchen sink at the 150 Mile.

If the folks had heard him at the door he would be shown to a bed.

This night no one heard him come in. It seems he would often stay over if he had been late in town and didn’t want to drive home.

More unforgettable was the hearty breakfast mom would prepare for him: two raw eggs cracked into a glass and tobasco sauce. Just to settle the stomach.

Not appetizing for we young “gateswingers.”

David Zirnhelt is a member of the Cariboo Cattlemen’s Association and chair of the advisory committee for the Applied Sustainable Ranching program which is starting at Thompson Rivers University in Williams Lake this January.

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