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A family portrait

I wish we had the roofen’ trimmed before they took the family picture.

That’s me on the left hand side with the white shirt. Always liked white shirts when the picture taker came around. We would see him twice a year whether we liked too or not.

Persistent little fellow.

He wanted to take a close up of us but Pa said “No, we spent months puttin’ together this nice home and your gon’na have’ta to take a picture of the whole thing.”

And so he did.

You can just about see my two younger brothers to the left of me. The bigger one’s Zebulon and to his left – – – if you can see him at all – – – is Issiah. Then to my right dressed in black is my Ma. Then sister Polly and most to the right is my Pa. We are close.

See all those nice planks holding up the roof? Those are white pine. I wish you could see the contraption that Pa built just to make planks. He built a platform nice and tall so Zebulon or me could stand underneath.

It had a ramp that we could roll the pine logs up onto it. We would lay a couple’a big long heavy ropes on it. First we would stake the ropes to the ground opposite the ramp. Then we would throw the ropes up on the platform and then lay them down the ramp. Then we’d roll a pine log onto the ropes. We’d take the free end of the rope up over the log, up the ramp and then thow it down on the other side of the platform. The ropes doubled back on themselves with the loop around the log.

Pa would hook those ropes up to the two mules and then “HEEE – – GIT YOU NO GOOD – – – -” well I won’t say what he called the mules. But they knew what to do. They pulled and heaved and pulled and heaved on those ropes until the log started to roll up the ramp. Once it got moving they would’n have to work so hard. Eventually, with enough swearing, they would have the log up on the platform. It took a little work to get the ropes out from underneath the log.

A man from the iron mine saw us doing that and he said that we invented the biggest backwardest pulley he ever saw. He said all the pulleys he ever saw stayed in one place.

Anyway the log now sat over a long slit that Pa had built into the platform. Pa would get on the platform and hand down one end of the two-man saw. He would pull the saw up and I would pull it down. That way we could saw the log lengthways into long slab-wood pieces. Of course being on the bottom was not the best place to be. My eyes would get full of saw dust. I couldn’t keep ‘em closed all the time. Once in a while I would have to look up and see how we were doin’.

I would tell Pa when I couldn’t stand it no more. Pa would then put Zebulon in my place and Ma would clean my face and help me get my eyes washed out. Then right back at it.

We tried putt’n a coupl’a rocks on the bottom of the saw. They were supposed to replace me. Did’n work. Pa could’n lift the saw up with those rocks tied ta the bott’m of the saw. He eventually got it fixed with a coupl’a levers and things. By that time the house was finished.

Sister Polly did a lot of Ma’s work when we were build’n the house. Ma had to do a lot of Pa’s work ’cause he was sawin’ and swear’n and borin’ holes for pegs and rollin’ logs into place for the walls.

I never heard the mules complain.

Never heard Issiah complain either. He was too busy playin’ in the mud.

Tahawas and Tomosky c