Sheep Lungs

Mill St. School Mrs. Basford's class

I attended Mill Street School for first and second grade and again for sixth through eighth grades. It was between D and E streets on Mill and I lived between I and J streets, so about 5 blocks away. Mill Street School was kinda neat in that the basement flooded just about every year and we’d get out of school because the cafeteria, the restrooms and some classrooms were in the basement. There were a row of about 4 or 5 quonset huts that were used for classrooms too.  There were two ‘mom & pop’ stores adjacent to the school, Miss Mike’s on the corner of D and Mill that sold home-made fudge and an even smaller store on E street whose only business was selling kids candy (I think).

One day in science class we had a bunch of sheep lungs to dissect. I don’t know why. I’d guess a local farmer wanted to get rid of them and gave them to our science teacher. Anyway, after class the teacher had to find a way to dispose of them and asked if anyone wanted them. I thought it would be a great idea if I took them home and cooked them up and fed them to the dogs we had in the back yard. We had two pens with about half a dozen dogs in addition to the menagerie of animals we kept in the house which included two or three dogs, a couple of cats, about a half-dozen screeching parakeets and maybe a few other animals from time to time. It was my job to care for all except the birds and sometimes I got stuck with them too. Anyway, we were getting by on dad’s workman’s compensation which was about $300/month so money was tight. Omie (5 years older) and I and mom and dad lived at 1007 Mill St. at that time but some of my other sisters lived with us from time to time. Ginny’s family lived on the same property and they spent a lot of time at our house too. I digress.

Anyway, I ran home and got a wagon and went back and loaded it up with sheep lungs and took it home. We cooked on a wood stove so I built up the fire and got one of mom’s big canning tubs and filled it part way with water and added the sheep lungs. It got pretty smelly and Omie was mad and yelling at me and finally mom made me stop. I don’t know if the lungs were at their peak but they were smelly and rubbery. I hauled the steaming mess out to the back yard and threw it in the dog pens.

The dogs wouldn’t have anything to do with it. I figured that I was doing too good of a job feeding them and they were just being picky. I knew where there were some dogs that would appreciate my culinary efforts. The City Barns were about two blocks away and that’s where they stored the road equipment like graders and tractors and steam rollers. It was protected by a cyclone fence with three strands of barb-wire angled out at the top but that hadn’t stopped me from getting in and driving the road grader a time or two. They also had the dog pound there and those dogs had given me away more than once when I’d gotten in before. But, I was willing to let bygones be bygones and so I climbed the fence and let all the dogs out. I remember there being at least six and maybe twice that. I found a place in the fence that they could squeeze through and led them back to my house.

When we got there, I gave them the sheep lungs and, though they were a sorry lot and must have been hungry, they turned up their noses at it too. I’ve seen dogs eat shit! Anyway, I ended up having to dig a hole and bury the sheep lungs. I don’t know what I learned from that…probably nothing.

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One Comment on “Sheep Lungs”

  1. […] Sheep Lungs  October 9, […]

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