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A Tribute to Judy – Part 5

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Ernest Hammer

Judith Darlene Hammer

May 31, 1938 – August 8, 2023

Bail Harold and Pete Out

It was getting late in the fall, and Harold, Pete, and Tony were driving out of the meadow when Tony saw an elk. In fact, it was the day before elk hunting season. Without thinking Harold grabbed his rifle and shot the elk. He took it home and we all had elk for supper. It was good, but that was all we had.

Judy was at Harold’s house helping cut up the elk when the Game Wardens came and arrested Pete and Harold. They also thought I was involved. Tony had stayed after school for some reason that day and I had driven into Wheatland. When we came within view of Harold’s house, we saw the Game Wardens’ pickup. I just stopped and we backed into the trees until the Game Wardens left with the confiscated venison and the two poachers, Harold and Pete.

The next day, I drove to Wheatland to bail Harold and Pete out of jail. It was like a scene from the Old West. The foreman on crutches with his two hired hands following them out of the courthouse after they each paid a fine that equaled a month wage.

Pete stayed at the Twin Pines until late in the fall. When it started getting cold, he went back to Chicago. We wrote a couple of letters to Pete and got one back from him. We then lost track of him. Thirty-four years later, he searched for us and found us at Wild Horse. More on Pete later.

We went to the First Nazarene Church in Wheatland. We always dressed in suits and ties for church. Sometimes when there was a lot of snow on the ground, we would have to put chains on the pickup. When we got to the paved road (six miles), we would take the chains off. Going back, we put the chains back on. Sometimes the snow had been blown around so much that we had to make new tracks, being careful not to run into a rock.

Tony accepted Jesus as his savior at a revival, at the Nazarene Church, when he was 14. 

Tony graduated from Wheatland in 1976. He stayed at Twin Pines and worked that summer. That fall he went to college in Nampa, Idaho.

After our fathers died, Judy, I, Andy, and Kim, moved back to our ranch on Squirrel Creek. While we were gone, my father had moved a house from Manitou Springs onto our property on the west side of Squirrel Creek. It was set up on a hillside so we could drive into the garage from the driveway and walk upstairs and walk outside onto the lawn.

Next: Back living in Colorado.

Part 4 was published September 18, 2023, and can be found here.