BATES, BY GOLLY

 

By: Stella Blume McCauley

 

Bates, to some, was nothing special, but to those of us who lived there ... it was a very special place nestled in the mountains.  I could let my kids go play without much worry.  They always knew to stay away from the mill pond and stay out of the road.  So, they would take to the hills behind Mabel John's house and play up there in an old dump for hours.  Sometimes they would want to take their lunch up there.  They always knew to come home when the mill whistle blew, so here they would come, kind of black looking from all the cinders.  They weren't so far away they couldn't hear if I called.

 

Winters - that's where they would go to sleigh ride, with a big fire and potatoes to roast sometimes a special treat of wieners and marshmallows.  These weren't just the Blume kids, but the Hoots and Wattersons, Fraziers, Clapps and lots of others.  We all knew each others kids and watched out for them.  It was nothing unusual to have a kid or two extra for supper. 

 

Summers - we would have a swimming hole down in Vinegar Creek and lots of afternoons we'd load up kids and inner tubes and away we'd go.  The water was cold but did they have fun.  That's where lots of Bates kids learned to swim. 

 

Then there was the creeks to fish in.  Many a little trout graced the supper table when they would have a good day.  

 

Then there was hunting season when all the young boys couldn't wait 'till they were old enough to get a gun and hunting license and go hunting with dad - the little town came alive then - lots of hunters stopping at Leishman's store for gas and groceries and hunters coming and going. 

 

When it was elk season, usually over Halloween, the older boys would go up the road leading out of Bates and put up road blocks of small trees, old boards or whatever they could find.  Then they would wait in hiding up on the hill, 'till the hunters would come by and have to stop and get out and move the junk and curse and swear, then go on.  Down the would come again and fix it back for the next hunter.  Lots of fun for them to hear all the swearing, I guess. 

 

One year some of the fellows up at Newtville decided to catch the culprits and Bruce Blume was the one that was tackled and caught.  After a brief lecture from the woods boss, he was turned over to his Dad who was enjoying the whole thing. 

 

All in all we raised a pretty good bunch of kids.  They had their fun but weren't malicious or very destructive.  I wouldn't have had it any other way.  Good old Bates.