Tuesday, June 9, 2009

The Duck Blind

When Joanne first attended the University of California Riverside in the fall of 1954, she brought her two horses, Sheba and Legend, with her. Naturally. Since the two horses wouldn't blend in very well in the apartment Joanne shared with three other young women, she boarded them at a ranch owned by Ken and Joy Haiks in West Riverside.

For some reason I've never understood, West Riverside lies just north of Riverside on the other side of the Santa Ana River. The Santa Ana River, at that point, is nowhere near the city of Santa Ana. Not even in the same county. Go figure.

The horses loved it at Haiks' ranch. There was plenty of room and it had a duck pond. During the months when the flies got numerous and bothersome, Sheba immersed herself in the pond. All you could see was nostrils and eyes as she swam in circles. The flies then moved their swarm to Legend who never put it together that she could go swim the duck pond too.

Haiks didn't keep a pond for the purpose of raising ducks. But he loved the fact that ducks would come there because then he could shoot them. If only he had a duck blind. If only.

Pastures tend to be devoid of cover. The cows and horses take care of any ambitious grass searching for height. Haiks devised an ingenious duck blind. He used Legend. Legend was still learning how to be a horse, and she didn't realize that what Haiks was doing was not acceptable. You ride horses, jump them, have them pull your carts. They do not tap dance, cook your dinner or answer your phone. And they do not stand still while people hide behind them and shoot shotguns.

Legend didn't know that, so she became Haiks' duck blind. I hope that she got extra oats out of that.

That's life. If you don't learn to swim, you may end up as somebody's duck blind.


Jesses Hunting And Outdoors said...

Great story, I know the area you speak of. We used to be able to hunt hogs in the Santa Ana River bed with our bows by Fairmont Park, if that was there back then.

I'm northeast a bit in Redlands.

Ken and Joanne said...

I know the area pretty well. Fairmont Park has been there since before 1918, but it's pretty well built up now with houses all over the place, pavilions for rent, boats, all sorts of stuff. No pig hunting now, I'm afraid.

The riverbed used to be a place for wetbacks, too. You never knew what you'd find in the riverbed.


Rebecca K. O'Connor said...

I grew up in Riverside too.

Not true there's no pig hunting. There's still guys running boar with dogs in the riverbed last I heard...