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As a father and grandfather I've been guilty of spinning a yarn or two to my children and grandchildren. The " when I was a boy"...or.. "back in the day"...or.."i used to have to". You know walk to school 10 miles up hill through 3' of snow.
Such tales are often embellished with a bit of exaggeration thrown in, yet in every tale there is a element of truth. Truth is as generations passed things got woefully easier.
I recently read some accounts about Ben Lilly the famous lion and bear hunter, and trapper. Roosevelt once hired him as a guide and described him as a lean man of incredible endurance and woodmanship.
He wrote how lilly just suddenly appeared in camp out of the thick woods on foot. It was raining and he had no raincoat just the clothes he wore. He had not eaten in 24 hrs, and had spent the night perched in a tree like a wild turkey because the ground was to wet to lie on.lol...Can you imagine! now that's a...."back in the day" story.
Other accounts describe Lilly as a man of endurance well past what by today's standards would be considered "in his prime" records show lilly was around 50 yrs old when he set off into the wilderness and Abandonded his life with society.
I sometimes marvel at the ability's the American Indians had to survive in the wild. Let's face it there were no Bass pro's or Cabelas to gear up at.
And tough!...We are extremely soft in comparison.
Sitting bull before going to battle with Custer performed what is called a sun dance ritual. While sitting still pieces of flesh was carved from his arms and offered to the great spirit a symbol of a giving of himself. His arms ran red with blood, afterward he danced for 2 days before collapsing. Considering we have a tough time sitting still for 4 hrs in our loggy treestand I'd say that's a "back in the day" story.
Sometimes it does us good to sit back and take stock in the paths we choose and our motives. Things are quite a bit different than "back in the day"
I don't think I want to go back to some of those things, but I certainly think we lost a few things along the way that might have been good to hang onto.
Sometimes in our pursuit of better and "easier" we lose a bit of perseverance, determination, and our ability to excel based on our efforts.
Crutches make walking easier, but sometimes its better to endure a little hardship, tough it out, and learn to walk.
 

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No yarn to tell about my old school days. Grew up in the city and my grade school was literally a block and a half away.
So any yarn about my walks to school would be measured in feet not miles.
 

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I remember, back in the day, when we thought we were high tech shooting laminated fiberglass limbs on our recurves and shooting fiberglass arrows instead of cedar. When I made a homemade tree stand, copied off the Baker, instead of standing on a limb, it almost felt illegal. I was always warm in my high tech wool cloths.
 

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I often (maybe too often) told my boys that "suffering and hardship builds character." For awhile that was my pat response to any of their various complaints about lifes difficulties. Pretty sure that I repeated it often enough that it became one of those perceived difficulties 🙂
 

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I had an old timer who used to come into my store to buy stuff for his grandchildren. He was 81 years old and still working every day as a logger for the company he himself started, and he still did it all. He cut trees, attached the cable when the skidder came, sometimes drove the skidder, took the cables off the logs, and loaded logs onto trucks to go to the mill. I don't know what became of that old timer, I retired for health reasons and lost track of him.
 

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most of todays kids would look at you like you`re crazy and wouldn't last five minutes in the outdoors without their cell phones ,smart phones, computers, tv ,videos games. to bad they are missing out on a lot of great stuff and adventures.
 

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I had an old timer who used to come into my store to buy stuff for his grandchildren. He was 81 years old and still working every day as a logger for the company he himself started, and he still did it all. He cut trees, attached the cable when the skidder came, sometimes drove the skidder, took the cables off the logs, and loaded logs onto trucks to go to the mill. I don't know what became of that old timer, I retired for health reasons and lost track of him.
We have a local logger that is still doing that in his mid seventies. He is still going strong. I wouldn't be at all surprised if he was still doing it into his eighties.

I well remember just how tough some of those old timers were in the farming community I grew up in back in the fifties and sixties. Life was a lot different back in those days.

Dick Bodenhorn
 

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I remember being 12 and learning that what happens at camp STAYS at camp...learned that my father actually did use that word beginning with F....hand me down red/ black check woolrich suit, felt shoes and slush boots...remembering the smell of everyone returning and stripping all that wet wool...while dad burned the spaghetti sauce...memories.

I still remember how bad that nights dinner tasted.....
 

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I try very hard with my kids whom are all 17 and older to refrain from saying "when I was your age" stuff because it does not apply anymore.
We live in a different era now and we as parents have to learn just like our kids are learning.
A couple things I have come to know;
1. GOD will always give us challenges and they are called life lessons.
2. The phrase " the apple does not fall from the tree" is a direct reference of a kid to his/her parent and it is very very accurate.
3. You child will not know just how much you have done for him or her until he or she reaches the average age of 26 years old.
 

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"It takes more than that to kill a Bull Moose", said Roosevelt after getting shot in the chest. He proceeded to give his speech. If Teddy said the guy was tough, you can bet the farm he was tough!!!:grin2:

A local volunteer fire captain used to fight fires in all kinds of weather with his shirt and coat unbuttoned....never buttoned either no matter how cold the weather. Wore Larry the Cable guy shirts 365 in northern tier winters...no jacket. Only when fighting fires, and then he would never button it.

I always thought he must be tough!
 

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I learned a lot from my Grandfather. Born in 1903, oldest of 18 children, he grew into adulthood with no running water or electricity. He started working in the local coal mine With his father when he was 12. Low coal, wet mines....you laid on your side to uncut the face and bored out your shot holes with a breast auger. Coal was shot and hand loaded into wagons that you pushed to the face. Very little ventilation, only a few timbers for roof support. You worked the mines from October- March, as winter air dried out the mines and there was more sales for coal at this time.

Summertime was spent at logging camps out along the West Branch of the Susquehanna. Narrow gage steam railroading. Trees were felled with 2 man cross cuts and double bit axes. In the summer, mosquitoes and flies were really bad....they rubbed old motor oil on their skin to ward off bites. He said if you didn’t stack muscles on muscles, you wouldn’t survive. Guys got hurt with run a way cars, falling trees, and floating timber on the river. He said the logging work was tougher than mining.

Back in the sixties, I spent the entire summers with him. He taught me a lot of things, but number one was the value of hard work and following instructions. I never dreamed as a kid that I’d spend 37 years in the coal mines, he lived long enough to see me get Fire boss papers . I think he would have been satisfied with me.
 

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As long as technology advances, people will continue to become lazier and softer than previous generations. I believe we are a biproduct of our environment. If some "tough" guy from a hundred years ago were able to grow up today they would more than likely not be an exception. Likewise if someone that is "soft" today, grew up a hundred years ago they would more than likely be a lot "tougher".
We all possess the ability to survive if put in a situation where we must. Some more so than others depending on their life experience.
 

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I'm not "that old"...……………….. But "back in the day"...…….

I bought and hunted with the second ever bow that shot over 200 fps...…...the Browning X-Cellerator. The Bear Delta V was first.
I bought and hunted with the first bow to break 300 fps...…….....the Browning Ballistic Mirage.
I remember when you could hunt a few hours with the family Cocker spaniel and flush a dozen grouse.
I remember getting $32 for a coon hide, $50 for a gray fox and $70 for a red.
I remember when there were no turkeys or black bears within 10 miles of where I lived in 2D
I remember when there were no coyotes here.
I remember when there was no such thing as a "portable tree stand".
I remember when the shooting on the first bay of buck season sounded like a war.
 

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My daughter used to laugh when I'd come up with the back in the day story, she'd say, "oh here we go again with another of Dad's stories". That was about 45 years ago,,, now, she says what was that story about when you worked, trapped and hunted outside that one winter when the temps. were around 10 to 20 degrees every day from November to March in snow up to your butt so we could have a nice Christmas and I could get them special clothes I wanted. Some of you older fellas that worked outside 40 to 50 years ago and retired working outside know what I'm talking about.
 

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Shade Mt. I have a great book titled "The Bear Hunter's Century" by Paul Schullery. It takes place between roughly the 1820's to the 1920's. He writes about TR, Ben Lilly, Wade Hampton, I can't remember who all. At least ten different men, and most of it takes place down south. Great details and humor throughout the book. Im sure you can get it on line, I got mine at the bookstore.
 

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Grew up on yarns from my dad and Potter uncles, some of whom actually hunted and trapped up there in the years right before WWI and of course, much later. Two were still hunting into the 1980s.

As for the "walking to school" stuff, dad talked about milking six cows by hand, then running to school. Running home for lunch, then again when school was over, to milk the cows. That was in the early 1930s when he around ten or twelve and they lived on a farm not far from where camp is now. Used to hear that one if I grumbled about something, which wasn't often. I was raised in a No Whining household.

Great story, until maybe 30 years ago when dad, one uncle and I were talking about a good chunk of hunting land nearby, that had changed hands. Had a camp back at the base of the hill. Turned out, that camp had been the school dad ran back and forth to in the 1930s. Knew the camp was there, never knew it had once been the school house.

Took note that it was only about 300 yards from the farm house dad had lived in back then. Took a bit off'n that tale.

Then dad pointed out that it had originally been farther up the hollow, when he went to school there. Had been hauled where it was, for a camp. Uncle pointed out that it meant dad actually had to run 600 yards, instead of 300.

:smile2:

My son is 45. Long past the point of enjoying any of my "tough childhood" yarns. Although his favorite is, how I had to wait until I was ten before I ever had a bicycle. And 12 before I got my first 22, but I bought it with change I'd collected for two years. them was tough years.

My dad survived almost five years in the Army before and during WWII, including the Battle of the Bulge. Never really questioned his toughness.
 

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my dad use to live on my great - grandfathers farm near Kratzersville back in the late 1930`s , early 1940`s. walked to a one rom school every dad, not far from his home, now the school is a home.they then moved to near Hummels wharf , until he got married and we eventually moved to Lancaster. dad always points out places he use to hunt and fish. it was a neighbor of his when he was in high school , took him to Oswayo, deer hunting in 1952, dad was hooked on up in Potter . co. he finally went back up in 1976 and I started in 1978. been going up ever since then.
 
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