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Folks Of Interest Old man

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by iwanaflattie, Oct 24, 2016.

  1. I couldn't sleep well that night.
    Just like other nights the cold wind blew against the wall, the old wooden planks stood close to each other like a band of condemned men staring at the firing squad,trembling,leaning sideways,almost as if they accepted their ill fated fortune.
    I felt the cold touch of the night that crept through the creeks and knot holes.
    Even with the blanket mama had hand sewned and mended over and over again,I was cold.
    The warmth it once had from her sweet tired hands no longer lingered,instead a sense of worry and uncertainty filled it within the threads which night after night I held tight so It wouldn't escape and overcome me.
    Mama said her brother traveled to California to find a job and hadn't heard from him in two months,Dad was thinking of going.

    My heart sunk as I couldn't bear the thought of not having the old man work on the small garden in the mornings,not feeling his rough hand move the long hairs out of my face in the early dawn,not having the smell of dirt mixed with oil and sawdust that covered his overalls.
    I would miss bringing him water while he worked all day on Mr Jone's field on the tractor for a few eggs.
    Watching him drink half of the water before handing me the rest to drink while in a dry raspy voice assuring me that I had earned it.
    Putting his sweatty old straw hat on me to protect my face from the scorching sun.
    It wasn't the cold that kept me up, it was the fear of seeing my old man walking the old dirt road towards the town to never seeing him again.
    It was the quiet sobbing of my mother every night because maybe she also had the same fear.
    Maybe it was because she was hungry,tired,desperate as we all were.

    I noticed Dad getting up and putting his old ripped clothes,old shoes and an old coat he rarely use to wear,except when he had to go to town to trade some vegetables for some seeds or one of the tools he kept in the shed that he never let me go into,for a can of beans.
    He walked over to my bed and ordered me to get ready.
    I jumped, put on my clothes, my hat and followed him out the door.
    It seemed as he walked slowly so I could catch up or as if he wasn't in a hurry to get there.
    We headed over to the shed.

    It was the first time he took me in there,my mind wandered of the treasure or the danger he kept me from and my feet hurried in excitement and my heart raced.
    The old man walked with his eyes focused on the old shed with a sad almost dissapointed face and fatigued steps.

    He took a key out of the old coat,took a second and unlocked the rusty lock.
    The chain was also rusty and made a jingling sound as he romoved it.
    He pushed the plank door and it responded with a creak,I could see the early dawn light pierce the roof of the shed and the dust play inside restlessly around it.

    We went in.
    The old man knew his way around the shed while I couldn't make the shape of anything that resided in it.
    He took a couple of steps,bent down,grabbed the corner of an old sheet and ordered me to help me to uncover something.
    I reached down in the darkness of the floor and grabbed what I thought was the sheet.
    We slowly unveiled and I started to see the shapes: round tires,tombstone like grille and a dark cold shell.
    -It's a Car!
    I screamed with excitement.
    The old mans face lit up and a smile escaped under his eyes darked by his hat.
    He had been trading some of his tools to mr Jones for some gasoline that he stored in a mason jar.
    And he had been working on it at nights while I slept, under a candle light he worked religiously.
    -Do you want me to start it boy?
    He asked me,while he held the jar with both hands.
    I could only nod.
    My body was tingling.
    I had only seen mr Jones drive his car into town and it was the only one I had seen drive around.
    it was a nice,black,"mudd-ol-ay" my uncle called it.

    The air filled with a sweet smell when my dad opened the jar and it mixed with its dampness.
    The shed got clear as the time passed by,even tho it felt like an eternity.

    -Well,get in boy.

    I opened the door running my hands through the contours of the metal and the old leather seat.
    I could see levers,gauges,cables,hoses and random bolts that he salvaged any time he found them.
    I jumped in while he walked over,moved some levers on the inside and then he walked over the front as he grabbed an iron rod.

    -you ready? You better get a hold of that steering wheel!

    He stuck the rod in the front of the car spun it and stood back.
    Suddenly the car made a violent sound,shook real bad and a cloud of smoke filled the shed.
    Rattling,rumbling,smoking, the car was running.
    The old man was standing there triumphant, giant,gallant. as the smoke cleared and the sun rays surrounded him like a million of tiny lightened warriors ready to defend him,he didn't seem tired nor worried.
    He looked tall and confindent,like an oak tree unmoved by the northern winds.
    He opened the door as I slid over,he shifted levers, pressed pedals and the iron carriage moved forward.
    Rambling and shaking, we got unto the dirt road,smoke and dust raised behind us covering us from the sun.

    He sold it that day.

    The man who owned the store was going to turn it into a truck,a grocery carrier.
    My old man bought enough food,seeds ,some farming tools for another winter and mom a dress,she had used hers to patch my clothes.

    As we walked back home he told me how he built the car from used parts from other farmers before the "recession" and that morning was the first time he ever drove it.
    I never saw him as an old man again.
    He was my father.
  2. unkamort
    Joined: Sep 8, 2006
    Posts: 1,014


    Excellent (edit>) Maybe I should expand. My mother had her 81st B-day on Saturday. Born in the period between the late 20's depression and WW2 in the rural south she experienced a good deal of what is being expressed here. Make it work, wear it out, use it up were rules of survival for some folks of that time.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  3. That'll warm you and rekindle memories.
  4. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,072


    Excellent! My Dad had to go to work to help the family at 14, got his GED after I graduated high school. Few people can relate to those times, but could learn some lessons about the value of things in life.
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016

  5. Excellent writing Seth!
    My dad grew up in the depression as well and had many stories to tell.....
  6. Wow! Very well done. Thanks.
  7. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,115

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    Interesting story, but as to why it's posted here :confused:
  8. I usedto read c9s and 40studedude's stories and today something came over me and wrote a little fiction about a farmers jalopy
    raven, belair, Bruce Fischer and 5 others like this.
  9. Blue One
    Joined: Feb 6, 2010
    Posts: 11,115

    Blue One
    from Alberta

    I miss Jay's writing also.
  10. For what it's worth, I too miss Jay's writing and I mean no disrespect to Jay when I say that your 'Old Man' piece is everybit as good as the stuff he did. Thanks again.
  11. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 7,545


    Myself, being a baby-boomer, I have never suffered the hardships of our parents generation, my Dad was the oldest boy, used his paper route money to help buy food, he was the one that took the wagon and got the flour, peanut butter and what ever else they received, Dad was WW2 Vet, 4 years Navy. My Mother grew up in coal mining towns and was sent to neighbors to wash and clean at 8 years old, married at 15, widowed at 20, 2 Kids, WW2 broke out,she came to Milwaukee Wi. To be a "Rosie the Rivitor" worked at Allis Chalmers running a drill press, after war, went to go to school and became a LPN and met my Father, Magic, I came along. So...... anybody that thinks they had/have it tough, They haven't a clue what tough is. The Expression" When the Going Gets Tuff, The Tuff Get Going", our parents lived it.
  12. jeta12
    Joined: Oct 14, 2012
    Posts: 235


  13. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427


    Iwanaflattie....that's a GREAT STORY!!!-----I grew up in my grandfather's house in Oregon, who had a limited 3rd grade education and saved his 'retirement' in a battered old coffee can above the wood stove...a tough old logger, who used to sew his own patches onto his torn dungaree's and work shirts on Sunday evenings with a needle and thread, and ''re-hashing'' buttons from 2nd hand store shirts he'd bought for 10 cents in the bargain bins,....then hammered roofing nails into his one pair of work boots soles on his knees to keep them ''just one more season'' with a wink of the eye when I asked ''why''....he learned his mechanical skills thru' necessity and a set of mismatched tools he'd collected.

    He taught me the real 'value' of respect, integrity, and empathy for others. I remember the time he quietly told me that he"loved me"with a tear in his eye, on his sick bed, and then immediately asked me what I was doing new on my car with a smile, so I didn't get embarrassed at the suddenness of his spoken words...what an impact!!!....He'd tell me to follow my dreams and keep helping others whenever I can manage it, and use those learned skills as a blessing to others..."it comes back you 100 Fold" he'd always say....what wisdom; and oh man, do I miss him! He taught me "homemade" mechanical skills and helped me on my 1st hot rod, not making fun of my silly disasters or my failures at keeping things working somewhat on my old car, when I lost patience considered giving up.....but ''suggesting'' with a squeeze to my shoulder of using a different technique or tool, just ''out of curiosity'' to see if it ''could'' possibly work another way.

    ....your story sure got me thinking about a man in my own life who really ''made a difference'' way back then, before I knew any better, and ''why'' so many of us still enjoy our old cars as we do,......thanks for sharing your story....sure made me ponder on my own humble past with a big smile, and remind me the simplest things in life are often the biggest rewards:)
    tinsled, low budget, MRTS33 and 8 others like this.
  14. I think I liked your story better,almost made me tear up.
  15. Raiman1959
    Joined: May 2, 2014
    Posts: 1,427


    Nah....mine is just a different's ''all'' good stuff man....thanks for sharing!;)
  16. That was great.
  17. Petejoe
    Joined: Nov 27, 2002
    Posts: 10,962

    from Zoar, Ohio

    Wow.Seth. Now you went and showed us your talent. C9 would have been proud.
    Your writing is right on top as the best here on the hamb.
    I didnt write this but it relates to the same subject.

    I grew up in the 40s/50s with practical parents. A mother, God love

    Her, who washed aluminum foil after she cooked in it, then reused it. She was the original recycle queen, before they had a name for it... A father who was happier getting old shoes fixed than buying new ones. Their marriage was good, their dreams focused. Their best friends Lived barely a wave away. I can see them now, Dad in trousers, tee shirt and a hat and Mom in a house dress, lawn mower in one hand, and dish-towel in the other. It was the time for fixing things. A curtain rod, the kitchen radio, screen door, the oven door, the hem in a dress. Things we keep.

    It was a way of life, and sometimes it made me crazy. All that re-fixing, eating, renewing. I wanted just once to be wasteful. Waste meant affluence. Throwing things away meant you knew there'd always be more.

    But then my mother died, and on that summer's night, in the warmth of the hospital room, I was struck with the pain of learning that sometimes there isn't any more.
    Sometimes, what we care about most gets all used up and goes away...never to return. So... while we have it... its best we love it.... and care for it... and fix it when it's broken...... and heal it when it's sick.

    This is true. for marriage..... and old cars.... and children with bad report cards..... and dogs with bad hips.... and aging parents....and grandparents.

    We keep them because they are worth it, because we are worth it. Some things we keep. Like a best friend that moved away or a classmate we grew up with.There are just some things that make life important, like people we know who are special..... and so, we keep them close!

    ..It’s not what kind of car you drive. It’s how many people you drove who didn't have transportation.

    ..It’s not the square footage of your house. Its how many people you welcome into your home.

    ..It’s not about the clothes you have in your closet. Its how many you help to clothe.

    ..It’s not what your highest salary is. It’s about sharing your wealth.

    ..It’s not what your job title is. It’s whether you performed your job to the best of your ability.

    ..Its not how many friends you have. It’s about how many people to whom you were a friend.

    ..It’s not in what neighborhood you live. It’s about how you treated your neighbors.

    ..It’s not about the color of your skin. It’s about the content of your character.
    charleyw, hfh, Bruce Fischer and 5 others like this.
  18. TagMan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2002
    Posts: 6,156


    VERY good story.

    My father got married in 1928 and my mom had a baby just a few weeks before the crash. Lost his job and had to scratch for cash to feed the family. He made it without handouts, but by doing whatever he could find, no matter how low of a job it was. I was taught to use things up until they wouldn't work anymore, then fix 'em and cycle them again. He wasn't "green", but he knew how to stretch a nickel. I grew up in relative prosperity and was somewhat embarrassed by my "frugal" father, but as I got older, I started to learn what he had to go through. I wish he was around now, so I could tell him how I can now can understand and appreciate what he endured.
    hfh and wicarnut like this.
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 356


    Great stories guys. Thank you for sharing. The older I get the more I realize just how much my parents shaped my life and the reason I get to enjoy the life I have today. They were roll models and we need more like them today for certain.
    wicarnut and firstinsteele like this.
  20. awesome!!!!!!!!
  21. catdad49
    Joined: Sep 25, 2005
    Posts: 5,072


    Wow guys, I'm remembering things that my Dad did (fixing/repairing things etc.) that could have been replaced or maybe even repaired by a professional. Being of a young and unknowing age, I guess I really didn't understand the why. As I grew I began to understand a little more of what made Dad tick. I'm definitely lucky to have grown upwatching and learning from this man. Now my girls think of me as "the guy that can fix anything." Coincidence.....I don't think so!
    wicarnut likes this.
  22. AHotRod
    Joined: Jul 27, 2001
    Posts: 11,406


    Most excellent story, very well done.
  23. Thanks guys.
    I'm only 32 but sometimes I feel like I'm trapped in a frugal farmers body.
    And I love it.
  24. idreamofthe60s
    Joined: Dec 5, 2009
    Posts: 19

    from Florida

    My compliments. Keep writing.
  25. ravedodger
    Joined: Aug 24, 2007
    Posts: 296


  26. A great writing of times gone by.
    Tough times, but an education in TRUE LIFE, an education that is missed in this day and time.
    wicarnut likes this.
  27. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 29,618


    Great story.
    It reminded me in some ways of my grandfather Cliffo.rd S. Cheney SR
    He was born in 1903 and had to help his mother survive from an early age after his father bailed on the family. He and my grandmother farmed 80 acres and lived in a two room house/shack until the mid 30's when he added on to it to make it the house I live in today.
    He raised a multitude of crops, raided cattle, chickens, turkeys and pigs at one time or the other and they sold the turkeys and chickens. He also sold the cattle and his cattle always brought a premium at the sale.
    When I stayed with him and gram during the summers he always had a project to do that we did together that taught me things that I have used in the 50+ years since.
    He never did tell me where he buried the Model T on the farm though as he didn't want me to dig the place up looking for it. That was his one joke on me. He did drag my broken cars home more than once, haul me to here and there to get parts for the cars and helped me haul a 27 T roadster body out of a neighbors field.
    Thanks for reviving a few memories.
    Bruce Fischer and wicarnut like this.
  28. olcurmdgeon
    Joined: Dec 15, 2007
    Posts: 2,297


    Great story! I can relate to the theme, my dad was born in 1901, grew up in TN, left home at 14 by riding the narrow gauge railroad to Canberry, NC. He got a job as a tally boy in a sawmill there supporting the iron mines. Worked hard his whole life in construction, got married late, and I was born in '43. He instilled in me that depression era code, work hard, save your money and one lesson that came back to me in my later years. he always said, "when you get up to shave in the morning, if you look in the mirror and can't say you are going to give the "man" 100% at your job, time to move on". That happened to me at 56, I walked away from 33 years in nuclear chemistry and given what I know today, it was the best decision of my life. My wife and I had good years with our grandsons and with each other before the veil of memory loss started to descend on her. We all owe a lot to our dads!
    bobg1951chevy and wicarnut like this.
  29. 73RR
    Joined: Jan 29, 2007
    Posts: 6,586


    You were do know that don't you??


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