was a young lad still in his teens, his brother, Ray, and father, Jake,
set off for San Miguel early one morning. Each drove a team of horses,
pulling a wagon loaded with sacks of grain to be delivered to the
Southern Pacific Warehouse.
often the case, when they arrived, they found a line of loaded grain
wagons ahead of them waiting to deposit their sacks of grain to the
placed the sacks near the porch of the building where the warehouse crew
could reach them. The warehouse men loaded the sacks five high on a
two-wheel handtruck, pushed them into the warehouse and dumped them in
rows. (Later they used the same trucks to pick up these dumps of five
sacks each by sliding the blade of the truck under the bottom sack, then
they wheeled them to a machine used to lift the sacks fifteen to twenty
feet high). The sacks were piled high to conserve space so there would
be room to store all of the grain out of the weather, sometimes for a
year or more. When the first wagon was empty of sacks, the driver pulled
away and the next wagon moved up to the porch and unloaded, each driver
taking his turn.
As Merle waited in line,
more wagons arrived behind him. As his horses were ranch raised, they
were not used to the loud noises of city life. When the Southern Pacific
freight train came down the line and blew the whistle for a grade
crossing a block away, Merle's team decided they would go back to the
country. Try as he would, Merle couldn't get them to change their minds
until they were about a half mile down the road --- nearly to the
Salinas River Bridge and headed for home.
When a farmer left his
place in line and came back, it was sort of the rule that you went to
the end of the line. Merle laughed as he reminisced about that day. He
was a good-natured man and always saw the humor in most situations, but
I wonder what my feeling would have been toward that team that tried to
run home and caused me to be the last in the line of wagons waiting to
Merle married May
Hambly and Pat Rambo, a local Roblan, is their daughter.