Monday, February 18, 2008

Willie C. Taylor

All of my life, I have known Willie Taylor. He has been involved in many, many fields of work: Farming, Logging, Paper wooding, cutting railroad cross ties, loading ties into boxcars manually toting them up a ramp and stacking them into the cars. He was a fair “shade tree mechanic,” and he was an all around great worker.

After Daddy got to where couldn’t get out and get wood for the fireplace and heater and up until Mother died, Willie made sure that there was plenty of firewood cut and split, ready for the good warm fires for the house. Also, after Daddy died, he would do all sorts of handyman chores that Mother needed done. He and Joe decided once that the trees around the yards needed to be trimmed. So, they “skinned” them by cutting the limbs up about 20 to 30 feet high! Before we moved back to the farm, I knew I had someone to keep the fences up, repaired and rebuilt to keep the cows in the pastures. If I needed someone to do some bush hogging or other tasks that required use of the tractor, Willie was there. If any of us needed some pulp wood or logs cut, all we had to do was show him what to cut and leave the rest to Willie.

In recent years, Willie’s health began to fail. He had several bouts with heart problems and other health problems. He would go down to Millry almost every week day and sit around the BP station to keep watch on the owner’s “stuff.” When the owner would be outside working on tires or servicing vehicles, the rogues, as he called them, would sneak inside the station and steal cigarettes, candy, etc. That didn’t happen when Willie was on duty! Also, he enjoyed seeing people come in and chat a while with him. I used to accuse him of running on air with his vehicles when the tires on his vehicle would be so slick that “you could almost see the air” in them! He would say that the only way you could beat a Ford was with another Ford! No matter how bad he felt, anytime we would go out of town, he would gladly come by and feed our dog, Foxy Lady. I would always bring him something from the places we would go, anywhere around the world. The last time he looked after Lady, I brought him a suede cap from New York in December.

Willie was quite the lady’s man in his younger days. Joe asked him once how many chillun he had. He said that he had “paid out” 36! He said that he had “marked” all his chilluns. Each one of them had either a double little toe or a double little finger! He said that he’d probably “paid out” one or two of somebody else’s chillum, but probably, somebody had “paid out” a few of his. One thing about all those children: He never denied them being his, and if they worked and tried to make something out of themselves, he would give them anything he had to help them. But, if they were sorry and wouldn’t work and try to better themselves, he let them “root for themselves.” He had several, especially two daughters, who really took care of him in the last 10, or so, years. They insisted on him staying with them in cold or very hot days as they had heat and air conditioning and he didn’t have that in his house.

Yesterday, February 15, 2008, Willie drove down to the BP station. But, he never got out of his truck. Everyone around thought he had just gone to sleep. Later, one of his sons walked over to talk to him and he found him dead in his truck. It took some time for the coroner to get there to pronounce him dead so there was a huge crowd of people there mourning while waiting. This just proved Willie to be faithful to his job, by his going in to do his duty yesterday even though he probably didn’t feel like going.

Willie Taylor will be sorely missed by our family and the whole community surrounding Millry.

1 comment:

Jim Wood said...

What you say about Willie assisting came a bit later.

Daddy had always used the Biblical Boys and brother Roy to help them.

When I got back from Saudi Arabia in 1987, and went over too Millry. Dad had not been able to do too much for some years before and the amount of work to be done on almost everything around the place was staggering. Mother of course suggested that I get Roy. He nor any of the Biblical Boys were available. Eleanor and I went by to see James Robert and Willie was out back hoeing. I talked to him & James Robert a while and was about to leave. Eleanor said why don't you ask Willie if he would help you. I said he had usually worked for the Whighams.

I did call Willie over and ask him if he would like to help me. He said; "Yes Sir, that place is like home to me. I growed up with my Mamma in that Bobby McClean house." He started the next day and he and I worked from 7 to 5, five days a week for three months or so. And was it hot, that when he came up with his expression, which happened to be true; "I ain't never seed a white man that could burn me out until Mr. Joe!"

Mother, fretted so much about the cows, I offered to & bought the herd. (That did not stop her from fretting of course!) Anyway Willie and I kept driving on until he could keep up with most things and always paid him to be there at least 3 days a week and then in the winter, George every day and Willie by there almost every day.

Those first days he started working there was when Smokie came about. Every morning Smokie would follow Willie over, he would whip him to make him go back home. I told him to stop and if he would agree for Smokie to stay, I would asked Mother if Smokie could. "Well, it looks like he druther be here than at my house." Mother of course agreed and from that day on Smokie never went back to Willie's house.

Eleanor, Willie and I cleaned out every crib, etc., there to include all out buildings to include those at the CB house. As things were caught up, he decided he wanted to paper wood some more. I "helped" him buy a paper wood truck. For years after that, every once in a while, he would say put one day this week on what I owe you!

That is part of how he began being a part of the Family again. I do not think we could ever find anyone else who could do so many things, was so good, faithful, honest and such a fine man. And as you said he could always be depended upon.


Joe was here at the time and he knows better than I more about Willie. I just know that we're all going to miss him.