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Carl T. Bonde had lots of stuff.

June 22, 2016


Our grandpa Carl Bonde was easy-going.  In fact, that’s the advice he often gave to me.  “Easy does it, Danny.”  I guess because I was so eager to do things with his stuff.  Grandpa had at least six buildings, all of them with stuff.  Well, maybe seven buildings, if you count the pump house down by the creek.

The pump house had no floor, just a few boards to brace the walls to give the house its shape.  About as large as an outhouse, the pump house had a gas motor.  Or maybe it was electric, I don’t remember.  If it had been gas, I’d have liked it better.  Gas motors in those days had to be wound with a starter rope by hand to get it spinning.  You engaged a knot at the end of the starter rope in a sort of notch on the pulley at the end of the crank shaft opposite the working end, then you wound it the only direction you could because of the direction of the notch, its open end opening opposite the way you wound it, then you wound a couple feet of cord around the pulley.  The cord seemed to always have some sort of handle at one end.  You set the ignition and the choke, then you pulled the rope hard and steady until the engine started.  Then you closed the choke and the motor was running.  A kid was seldom strong enough to start a motor like that.  Unless he was a teenager.

I was fascinated by motors.

The pump house sat right over the creek, its water intake pointing straight down into the water.  Aunt Corinne said she caught me tottering around on one of the boards that braced the walls when I was small.  The pump house had no floor, for some reason. It smelled of oil and gasoline.  Grandpa kept gasoline in a great orange five-gal. gas can.  I’m pretty sure the motor wasn’t electric, not at first.  Later he might have replaced it.


My grandparents lived atop a hill on the outskirts of Kalispell. They had the longest, skinniest garage I have ever seen.

Grandpa pumped water up the hill to irrigate his fruit trees.  He used a couple pieces of aluminum irrigation pipes, plus some surplus fire hose to put the water right at the trees.  Sometimes he took me to the fire station when he visited his fire fighter friends.

The chicken coop was unused as far back as I can remember.  It had windows that faced the creek.  When I tried to clean out the filthy chicken coop once I found some girls panties that looked like they had chocolate stains in the crotch.  Someone had put the panties up in the rafters, perhaps to hide them.  I never did find out who hid them or why they had chocolate.

Grandpa only got one chicken all the while I was growing up.  The chicken was way too lively to put into the chicken coop with its wide open windows.

I’ve told about the extraordinarily long garage before.  My cousin David found a .22 lever action rifle in the rafters.  I think he still has it.  Grandpa said it had belonged to Buddy, his son killed in WW II.  The rifle looked like it was caked with horse manure, but David cleaned it up.

Grandpa built his own small barn.  Once a kid from across the road told me the barn was a house.  He thought he really knew and argued with me.  There were always lots of tools and liquor in the barn.  The barn smelled of dead flies and dirt.

The other buildings were:  5) root cellar, 6) storage building that nobody ever got to enter, and 7) main house, the old victorian house on the hill.

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