Bert Rudie – Part VIII

Larry Litchy’s Chrysler

I vaguely remember when I was around seven, maybe eight years old, Lawrence Litchy used to cook moonshine. I remember he came driving in the yard and he had this great big Chrysler car. It was a big 8-cylinder car and in those days it was the fastest car that was made. It used to go like 100-miles per hour real easy. He’d come driving in the yard and was always laughing and showing everybody where the federal agents were chasing him. They fired shots at him and he had bullet holes in the back end of this car. He’d say, “Here’s one. Here’s one” and there were several holes there where slugs had gone through and this was on the left driver side of the rear of the vehicle so he was real lucky that he didn’t get shot or killed.


Speaking of moonshine, when I was younger – about that same vintage (seven-or-eight years old) – on our farm they used to cook moonshine in the hog house. They had that rigged up so that there was a false wall and you didn’t know that there was an extra room in there. The pigs were on one side and of course the smell of the pigs would camouflage the fumes and the smell of the moonshine which had a strong odor. They could feed the by-product (the mash) to the hogs when they were through cooking the moon out of it. When it got to where the smell was too strong and they figured that maybe the federal agents would be able to discover it, they would break down the still. I remember that my Dad, in order to get his share out of it before they guy pulled away, he took some of the pieces of the still and hauled them out into the field. It was at the time of the year when they harvested corn and they had corn in bundles (shocks). The guy came and he wanted the rest of his equipment and Dad says “Well, you’ve got to pay me, you know, what you owe” and then finally they settled up. So then they walked out in the field — retrieving all of these pieces of the still that were hidden underneath the corn shocks.

Trading Chickens for Peddlers’ Wares

When I was younger on the farm there were two peddlers that used to come around trying to sell their wares — like the Watkins and Raleigh guys. They had a lot of spices and really good nectar from Watkins. We used to really, really like it. We’d trade a bunch of chickens – a kind of bartering system for items. My mother went to the chicken coop and you could tell which hens didn’t lay eggs by the looks of them. Some of them were a little bit sick. They had little pus-looking eyes and drippy noses. So they are the ones we’d catch. The chickens would just sit there. We had a long wire with a little loop on the end to try to catch the chickens and jerk the wire. The loop fit around the chicken’s legs so it couldn’t run away — that’s how they’d catch them. The merchants had a regular box on the back of his car – a regular crate for hauling chickens. We used to get all kinds of goodies from selling those chickens — that was kind of nice.

Hatching Our Own Eggs

On the farm, my folks had incubators. They would save the chicken eggs and put them in an incubator. After twenty-one days the eggs hatched. That’s how they replaced the chicken flock. They hatched their own eggs. There were a certain percentage of eggs that were infertile or something happened that they didn’t hatch. So there were many discards. What we did one year was to take them out in the woods and stuck them in the bottom of a tree that had a V-shape to it. There was a sportsman’s club that Dad belonged to and for getting rid certain pests like crows or rats, they gained a certain number of points. There would be a prize for whoever got the most. So when I would set these eggs out there I had a whole bunch of foot traps and I would cover them with leaves and stuff. Sometimes I would go out there and there would be a whole bunch – like maybe four or five crows that had walked into these traps – and most of them were still alive. We would save the legs or the beaks or the head or something like that. Of course when Dad turned in all of these things for points, he won the prize from the sportsman club, which was a case of 22 mm rifle shells which was a pretty neat prize to get in those days. When the chickens would hatch, they would be running around wild on the farm. In the fall when it started getting colder, we got rid of the older chickens that didn’t lay eggs anymore. We would sell them off and get a whole bunch of younger chickens. We would clean the chicken coop and disinfect it. There was always this round-up of the new chickens, which wanted to roost in the trees. We had this grove of apple trees and different trees around the buildings and that was where the chickens used to sit for the night – night after night. When it got near fall or before winter – before the cold came, we would catch them and that was like a round-up catching all the chickens. We’d put them in the chicken house and of course we would leave them locked up there for a few days until they got used to it. Then finally we opened the little door so they could get out and run around in the yard — that was quite a fun thing.

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