Old Work Horst named Bill

My Dad always made light of his name, he said Bill was a good name for an old Work Horst. Not a horse mind you but a work Horst. If you tried to correct him on the pronunciation he would just ignore you. He said he should have been born with a set of Tugs and a Horse collar on his neck and to fit his image of himself.

Young William (Bill) D. Crites and siblings

Grandma with her kids. My Dad on the lower right

I am not surprised that he felt that way as his Dad my Grandpa left when Dad was 5 years old and till Grandma married again my Dad felt like he had to be the man of the family. He worked around Gildford doing many odd jobs to earn money to help Grandma. At 14 years old he hired out as a Ranch Hand for the summer at the IX Ranch in the Bear Paw Mountains some 40 to 50 miles from home. Imagine your 14 year old going away all summer to work like a man.

Meadow in Bears Paw Mountains, Montana, 20110712, photo courtesy of Jason Hollinger, Flicker

The first month he worked the foreman of the ranch was only going to pay him part wages because of his age. My Dad said the men he worked with went to the foreman and said he had worked as hard or harder than any of them so he deserved full wages. Well long story short he got his 30 dollars a month. Full wages, wow, morning till night 6 days a week mostly digging post holes and building fence in the Mountains. Of course you got room and board. What a deal.

No wonder he felt like he did about being, “Bill, the Old Work Horst.” I can remember looking at my Dad’s hands right before he passed away and thinking, “My goodness the amount of work those hands had done in his life.” I don’t want any of my kids to forget our heritage and part of that is my old Dad, Bill. You were much more than an Old Work Horst.

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