Monday, May 12, 2008

Stormy Memories - Bill Babcock 5-12-08

When I was a sophomore at Heavener HS, I joined the FFA. It was tough being a “city boy” with all those guys from the rural area, but I survived. We each had to have a “project”, and I decided to purchase a yearling steer calf and raise it up. Named the little guy STORMY.

We became the best of pals. I kept him over at Reeder Thorton’s barn across the track (where the old oil branch ran). I fed him a mix of grain that would really put the pounds on him. I bought Stormy from Mrs. Magbee, who lived next door to my grandparents on the highway. So she advised me on the how to-s and the where for-s.

Ol’ Stormy did well and at show time in the spring, we sold our “projects” to the highest bidder. Ray Hall at the State National Bank was the highest bidder on Stormy and he gave him back to the FFA for our Father and sons and Mother and sons annual Banquet. Stormy was to be made into BBQ.

I continued to feed him until the day he was to be butchered. Mr. Thornton told me to take the day off. I knew what THEY were going to do. Now, being the strong of heart and macho guy that I am, I was NOT going to miss it. I would show those “country” boys just how tough I was.

Mr. Thornton got the 22 out of his truck (wonder what they would do today if a teacher carried a 22 rifle in his truck). Anyway, I took it, went over and shot ol’ Stormy. Then took the knife and cut his throat to bleed, while one of the guys was pulling him up with a block and tackle. As soon as he had bled out, I started skinning.

Then I gave the knife to one of the other guys and let the rest of the guys get in on the action. I just stood back and watched.. I really showed those guys what I was made of.

But, then, Mr. Thornton asked me to give a speech at the banquet about the raising of my calf – all the how to’s and where for’s. I gave a really nice speech, of which I was very proud, and ended the speech with “and this is him you are eating now! Then I broke down and cried like a little baby. I found out I was not nearly as tough as I thought I was.

The “tough guy”,



At May 13, 2008 at 8:45 AM , Blogger Chuck Hudlow said...

Nice story, Bill. I remember wandering over to the FFA building one day when they were starting the butchering process just as you described. The day I was there, Mr. Thornton pulled the trigger.

It was sobering to watch the transition from living animal to beef products. It had to be tough on you guys to witness, no matter how tough you were.

I stayed clear of the FFA area after that day.

At May 14, 2008 at 6:54 AM , Blogger Craig Hall said...

I would have felt the same way, Bill.


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