But those were happy days. No one had lunch money, but money doesn't make for happiness. One of the things we looked forward to was the washing of sheep in the spring. A pen was built by the bridge across Crooked Creek, and the farmers would drive their flocks there to wash them before shipping. The boys were always on hand to help and the farmers were glad to have them.
We led the sheep into the creek and washed the wool. Sometimes the sheep went under, and sometimes the boy also, with much laughter from the farmers. It's hard to picture driving a herd of of cattle, sheep or hogs along the road today, but that was the only way to get them to market in those days. They kept ponies and two of us rode the ponies and Mr. Townsend drove the buggy with our lunches.
When dinner time came, he would find a grove and then we would enjoy our lunch. Mr. Thomas was a drover and passed our house many times with droves of sheep, hogs or cattle. A well-trained dog did the herding, and Mr. Thomas sat in the buggy giving orders to the dog.
I remember my father telling about Uncle Tom and Uncle Jim setting a net which was against the law, though gigging was not at the that time, and showing Grandfather the wonderful catch they had made by "gigging". But he looked and asked, "Where are the gig marks?" Both netting and gigging became unlawful later on, but years later the coal companies turned sulphur water into Crooked Creek and killled fish by the thousands. The banks of the stream stunk with the decay of the dead fish. To this day (1964), no fish or crabs, mussles or turtles can be found.
After a heavy rain and the water raised, the fish (while we still had fish) would come up from the deep places and over the riffles to the dam, and there they were stopped. Once, an old fellow from Kittanning by the name of Chambers Orr, who was quite an excitable fellow, was at the dam when the fish came up stream. He heard that loud spashing, grabbed a stick and ran into the water, hit a fish, and then back to shore , took his shoes off, and went back after the fish again.
Mr. Orr would take us along to fish and we would walk 2 or 3 miles, and then he would make us sit like mummies, and we dared not talk for fear of scaring the fish away. We were too small to assert ourselves, but we were always ready for the next trip.
The dam had a waterfall of about 15 feet and here is where we farmer boys had our summer baths. We would gather here after a hot day in the fields to bathe and cool off for the day.