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Prairie Memories by Gary Heintz: First Jobs
 12 days ago

Dad used to tell of his first job when they moved from Marion to Harrold in 1928. He was ten years old, big for his age, and needed to help the family earn some money. A rancher had a herd of sheep he summer pastured in the “Pocket”, the big bend in the river straight south of Harrold about twenty miles. He needed someone to tend the sheep during the day and pen them at night, then stay close by in a sheep wagon for the night. Grandpa Heintz got that job for my dad. It went alright for a few days while he learned the routine, tending rather than herding most or the time, then penning the sheep at night. It wasn’t long and he was homesick, and one morning after turning the sheep out, he pointed his horse toward Harrold and home, traveling at a high trot most of the way. He pulled his lathered horse up In front of the butcher shop where Grandpa Heintz worked, fully expecting him to feel sorry for him and let his stay home. Instead, Grandpa jerked off his belt and gave Dad a hard strapping and put him back on the tired horse, sending him back down to the Pocket and the sheep. My dad spent the summer with the sheep, earning a respectable wage, and learning the fact that he was expected to do a man’s work as soon as he was big enough, and he wasn’t going to be looked at as a man until he proved he could work. It was a good, hard lesson he never forgot.