An act of long ago.
Death looms and as her life force fades
She seeks kind Heaven’s glow.
Mick’s barn—it was a hot, hot blaze
Three horses trapped inside.
A frightful noise, the horses’ craze
The din with her abides.
An accident, and no intent
To hurt the beasts in there.
As God well knows, no malice meant
At last the truth she bares.
To feed her stock she needed corn
At home, her bins held none.
She knew by six each early morn
The barn man would be gone.
A mere handful of grain she sought
A pittance was her need.
Instead, a guilty conscience was bought
By her long hidden deed. . . .
Claud Mick, Rural Mail Carrier
When he first became a rural mail carrier, Claud rented barn space for his horses. It was important to give rest to the tired horse and recuperation to the horse which might be down in his oats. Claud had rented stables from both Mike Moran and Sandy Tulley but soon decided that he needed a barn of his own.
Claud Becomes Postmaster
The Winter of 1940-1941
barn but found the doors padlocked. Looking through the crack of the door, Claud could see the white horse which was frantically kicking the stall, its back already burned black from the fire. As
Claud ran around the barn to go in the back way to rescue the animals, the roof of the barn collapsed onto the animals, killing them, if they were not already dead. Nothing more could be done.
The fire continued to burn after the collapse of the roof. All the stock was dead. The corn in the crib was destroyed as was the newly delivered load of hay. The harness and a cowboy saddle were now ashes. The carcasses of the animals had not been consumed by the flames and lay like ashen monuments amid the rubble.
The winter was a cold one and the ground was frozen. The carcasses of the animals were now open to the elements and had to be disposed of. No hole large enough could be dug in the frozen earth to bury them. Slabs from Lee Blake’s sawmill operation were hauled to the barn site and the unfortunate beasts were moved to a common pile and covered with slabs creating a funeral-like pyre. Slabs were burned for two days until nothing was left of the animals except skeletal remains.
It was a grisly scene. Passersby stopped and asked who could do such a thing to defenseless animals and that the perpetrator should burn in hell. No one was brought to justice for this senseless, or perhaps merely a careless act.
Which fell into the hay;
Flames spread so fast and out she rushed
Home, at the break of day.
Smoke she saw and smell of death
Lay heavy on her brow
And for years purloined her breath,
With corn and memory foul.
Long years passed by and green grass grows
O’er ashes of the barn,
Seasons change but truth endures even ‘neath the snow,
And time her heart can’t darn.
Now life has run its course at last;
The sand is running low;
Grace now she seeks for a dark sin past
In search of Heaven’s glow.