Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Epilogue - The Final Post

34. Epilogue August 5, 2009
I hope all of the readers of this totally out of any sort of a story line but just some of my memories of growing up on the farm in the 30’s, 40’s, and 50’s and the later years after I left the farm and started a family of my own.

As I noted in the Introduction, what I have written are MY memories the way I recall them. I apologize if I have left out any one or any special times in that person’s life.

When one starts to write about almost 72 years of memories, it almost has to be disconnected as a person’s memories do not come in any sort of chronicle or time connected order.

As I also noted in the Introduction, I started noting this while working in Athens, GA in 1997. It lay dormant for several years and actually made it through about six different computers without losing any of the data.

We are enjoying living back at the old homestead in our retirement with our two dogs, Foxy Lady and Sport. The only inconvenience we have is the distance we live from medical care in Mobile.

Both of us have been having some medical problems of late. JoAnne is taking medications for A-Fib, an irregular heartbeat if she does not take her medicines regularly. Also, she has been diagnosed with sleep apnea and uses a C-pap device to allow her to sleep better. Also, with her age of 71, she gets some more aches and pains all along, but otherwise she is in pretty good health.

I have had a light case of Angina since 1985 that medication keeps in line. I am under Doctors’ care for some Para-thyroid problems, some neuropathy especially in my right leg and foot, and the latest thing is that I have B.O.O.P. (Bronchiolitis, Obliterans, Organizing, Pneumonia.) This was discovered about a week before Easter this year during a hospital stay.

The effects of this disease are extreme shortness of breath, especially when I stand and move about. These effects are not as extreme while I’m sitting. I have no problems with driving, car, truck, tractor, mower, etc. but when I’m up and moving, it feels like an anvil is pressing against my chest limiting air intake and all necessary air needed is insufficient.
The common cure is heavy doses of Prednisone. I have been on the Prednisone for 14 weeks and still have the problem.

The Prednisone has caused my blood sugar levels to go up as high as 396, therefore, I am now diabetic and am on Insulin for that.

My Doctor in Mobile has me scheduled to go to the University of Alabama – Birmingham Hospital on September 8th for further testing. I will be able to take all my test reports and x-rays with me that will prevent my having to go through lots more testing. I’m sure they will do more lung biopsies, etc. I just don’t know how or what they’ll do.

The diabetes should go away after I can get off the Prednisone, according to the doctors.
I would like to hear some feedback on your opinion of this long, (I guess you would call it) autobiography, or just plain REMEMBERING or RAISIN’.

We have
been doing a few things around the place to make it look much better. Joe and I finally cut and fit lattice work and erected it at each end of the tractor shed.

Andy and I did some repair work on the old smokehouse/shop by replacing the old door and several boards along the walls. Then Cassie and Curtis came over and painted it. Lookin' good!!

Then today and yesterday, Bradley came up and did lots of painting on the gates and board fences that I had started back in March this year. There's still more to go, including putting a regular paint over the Kiltz prime coat on the metal gates and all the back lot fences in the cow lot.

The doors are open, beds are ready, and if there are not enough spaces, we'll just pitch a tent or drive another nail in the barn walls to hang ya up to sleep.

Y'all Come.


Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Part 33. - Great Grand(s)



On May 12, 2008 our first GREAT GRAND, Laura Kate “Button” Wiley was born in Texas to Carrie and Kyle. I just happen to have a couple of hundred pictures of her taken over the past year. As soon as Carrie told us that she was pregnant, I gave her a Great Grand Paw name: “Button.” When I started calling her Button, Carrie asked me why I called her Michelle, (her middle name); call Cassie, Marie; and Robin, Leigh and didn’t call LK, Kate. I told her that she was SPECIAL!!!

We’ve only had the opportunity to see Button twice, once when she was a month old and again when she was 11 months old. But, her Mommy and Daddy and her Papa and Grammy keep us updated with pictures so we can keep up with her growing and the changes in her development.

Well, we were informed a couple of weeks ago that there’s another GREAT grandchild is due to arrive to Cassie and Curtis. He/she already has a “Great Grand Paw name; “Punkin’!”

Monday, August 3, 2009

Part - 32. - The Grands



Oh, yes! That’s the proper name for the five Grand Children that we have. Of course no other Grandmother’s and Grand Paw’s Grands are as GREAT as our GRANDS!

Of course, I’ve covered some space about the grand younguns along with their Maws and Paws, but thought they should have a small chapter dedicated to them.

Grandchildren are really special. You can spoil them, then send them back to their parents to deal with it! The main problem we have is that they all live too far from us. Lubbock is 925 miles from Millry and for a while the other two were half way around the world in The Netherlands, Paris, Berlin and Cyprus.

All the grand chillun LOVE to come to the farm, in Millry. Most of the time, especially in winter when the snakes are not out, we just "let the varmints beware," the grand younguns are here! They all like to get out amongst the cows. They have gotten several that will let them pet them. Grandmother usually took some time off work each summer so they can visit.

The most “Un-grand” thing about them is the fact that, right now, three of them are 800 to 950 miles away in Texas and the other two are 85 miles away in Mobile. This causes us to get to see them not nearly enough. (Guess that could be a pun! They’re FAR away, so they aren’t NEAR enuff!!!) At least, we get to see Ashley and Bradley a little more frequently than Carrie, Cassie and Joel.

Carrie and her husband, Kyle Wiley and daughter, Laura Kate “Button” live in McKinney, TX, north of Dallas, and are missionaries with NEXT World Missions. Cassie and her husband Curtis Thomas have recently moved to Rowlett, TX, near East Dallas. Cassie has one more semester to go in Seminary to get her degree in counseling. Curtis is Youth Pastor at a large Methodist Church. Joel and his wife Ashley are returning to school in Abilene to get his Masters degree at Hardin Simmons University. He has been serving as Youth Pastor at a large Methodist church in Tyler, TX.

Ashley Hughes has completed all her coursework for her BS degree and is beginning her Masters quest at the University of Mobile. Bradley will be going into his Junior year at Auburn University in the fall of this year. He is majoring in International Business with an emphasis in German. He spent this summer as an Intern at Degussa Chemicals a German owned plant in Theodore

They all love to get out amongst the cows in the pasture. Even though I’ve sold all my cows to David Atchison, they still get out amongst all his cows. A couple of them can still be petted.

I guess that they kinda get a little taste of doing some of the things that the four of us used to do for fun while growing up there on the place.

They used to make an effort to spend a week or two with us each summer. But since all the Texas ones are married and working full time, they don’t get to come as often as they and we’d like for them to. And, Ashley and Bradley are either in school, or in school and working, they don’t get up very often.

Whoever came up with the title GRANDchildren, really called them by the right title. I just hope that all grands are as grand as our GRANDS!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Part - 31 - Andy & Debbie


Both of them played in the band at Davidson High School. Both played double-reed instruments. Andy played bassoon and Deb the oboe. Both are concert instruments and not used in Marching bands. So, Andy was Drum Major and Deb was in the Flag Corps of the Marching Band.

Both kids graduated with honors from Davidson. Andy went four years to Mobile College (now The University of Mobile), graduated with honors and earned a degree in Religion. Then, he got his Masters of Divinity from Southwest Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, TX. In recent years he has completed his Doctorate in Organizational Management from Regents University.

Deb attended Mobile College for one year, two quarters at Roane State Community College in Oak Ridge, and two plus years at the University of South Alabama. She was on the President’s list (all A’s) all during her time at USA, but was not allowed to graduate with honors since she’d been to the other schools. She, also got her Masters at USA in Early Childhood and Elementary Education. She is currently teaching fourth grade at Cottage Hill Christian School.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Part - 30.c. Children +


30c Ashley & Bradley Schooling +

Both Ashley and Bradley love singing. Bradley has written several songs that may be heard on his My Space web page. He plays guitar well and is working on the mandolin and piano. Ashley uses her voice as her instrument.

In fact, all of our grand chillun are excellent students. I know they take it from their Grand Paw, because I’ve always been a terrible student! That must be where all my smarts went to!!

After Seminary, Deb and Tommy moved to Montgomery, AL where he was employed by the Alabama Baptist State Convention as Associate Director of Communications. He produced many audio and video programs for various uses, such as news programs, training programs and documentaries taken in various areas of the State of Alabama as well as all over the US, South Korea, Spain, etc. He has was asked to go to the 1998 Winter Olympics for the Georgia Baptist Convention to cover some Mission work for them.

Debbie decided to be “her kids Mom” when Bradley was born. She didn’t work for about five years. Then, she began working “part time” as Childhood Director for Taylor Road Baptist Church in Montgomery. Later, she increased her work to something slightly less than full time.

At one time she had the “honor” (?) of being President of the Alabama Baptist Association of Childhood Directors (or pretty close to that name).

Once, while visiting a Sunday School Class at Taylor Road, we told someone that we were Debbie Hughes’ parents. They said, “Oh! You mean that pretty Red headed lady that’s all over the place seeing about all the children!” She “did stay busy.

Deb and Tommy talked and prayed about going to the mission field with the Southern Baptist International Mission Board. They applied for and were accepted to go to The Netherlands about the middle of June, 1999. Selfishly, we kinda hoped they would decide the Lord wants them where they are. But, when Deb was in the ninth grade, she said that she felt she was called to Foreign Missions. So, apparently that’s the case and, of course, we’ll back them all the way, as we gave them to The Lord when they were born and they have to seek His will in their lives. Jo Anne says that they can go just as long as they leave the kids with us!

They spent time serving in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Paris, France, Berlin, Germany and Limassol, Cyprus. They came home for a long Stateside assignment just as Ashley was finishing high school through North Star On Line and she enrolled at UM. At the same time, Bradley started his Junior year at CHCA.

They decided to pull out of the IMB and Tommy worked two years at CHCA and Debbie is teaching fourth grade at Cottage Hill Christian School. This past year, Tommy started working as Media Director for Open Doors a Mission Organization. They are based in California, but he has his office at home and has to do quite a lot of traveling, to CA, The Netherlands, England, Cyprus, UAE, Turkey, and several places in the US.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Part - 30.b. - Children


30b Children

Then, on July 3, 1987, Ashley Nicole Hughes was born in Ft. Worth. A sprout from her Mother’s tree by being a “red head.” Of course, we wouldn’t bother to go from way over in East Tennessee all the way out to Ft. Worth, TX just when she was a coming.....We only made it to Texarkana before she was born.

We managed to get there and celebrate “the fourth day” by seeing our new granddaughter.

Ashley has many interests. She is an avid reader. She has a beautiful singing voice and sings with the University of Mobile Choir and has been in several operettas besides the choir's performances. She even played the role of Ahmel in “Ahmel and the Night Vistitors.”

She started out at UM to major in Music, but changed that to a Minor and changed her major to Business. She has completed her four-year curriculum and is now beginning work on her Masters degree.

Besides going to college full time, she works pretty much full time at Starbucks near the Bel Aire Mall. She is shift manager there and really enjoys her coffee.

She has a pretty fair sized doll collection, including most of Debbie’s old dolls. She has lots of “Barbie” dolls and accessories. But most of them are packed away.

Bradley Thomas Hughes was born, in Ft. Worth on July 26, 1989. His grandmother flew out from Maine to be there for that special event. There were now three “reds” in the family. I couldn’t go out as I was tied down at my job in Maine.
Guess what! Bradley came to see me when he was about two weeks old.

He’s “all boy”, a big Auburn Fan, especially since he is a Junior there now, majoring in International Business with an emphasis in German.

While living in Montgomery he developed into a good soccer player. This carried over to Europe with him as he honed his skills with the help of their back door neighbor, Marco Rhymer who played on the German National World Cup team.

After they returned to the states, he went to Cottage Hill Christian Academy and was the kicker for their football team for two years.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Part 30 - Debbie & Tommy


30. DEBBIE and Family

30a. Debbie & Tommy

Deborah Kaye Wood was born at the Washington County Hospital, in Chatom, AL on November 25, 1959, weighing in at 9 pounds 8 ounces.

Luckily, Debbie didn’t have the colic problems from the Carnation formula that Andy did. She was so quiet you hardly knew she was around.

She had a hint of red hair from the outset, but for some dumb reason, I didn’t think so. Soon it became evident that we had us a beautiful “red head!” For a long time, when asked where the red hair came from, Andy would say, “From the milk man!” But, we did some investigating and found that both sides of the family have had some red heads.

Deb was in Girl Scouts for a while, but for some reason didn’t get to stay with it for too long.

Debbie had (and still has) a vivid imagination and a born teacher. She would set four of her dolls around her doll table and chair set. Mrs. Beasley and Suzie Smart were the best of her “students.” She’d teach them a lesson, give them homework (of course she had to do it for them), then she’d praise Mrs. Beasley and Suzie on how well they did, and fussed at the others for doing so badly. She’d really give the poor little doll that had tangled hair, and she had marked on her face with a ball point pen, a hard time for not doing her studying and missing so many questions.

Debbie taught first grade at Alba Elementary in Bayou la Batre, AL for a couple of years. During this time she married Thomas Michael Hughes (Tommy). (I call him “Mikey” about half the time.) They were married at Cottage Hill Baptist Church on June 22, 1985.

Tommy was a student at University of Mobile at the time they married. When he finished at UM, they moved to Ft. Worth, TX for him to go to SWBTS. Debbie taught first grade in Ft. Worth for a couple of years.

After Seminary they moved to Montgomery where Tommy worked as Asst. Communications Director for the Alabama Baptist Convention and Debbie was Childhood Director at Taylor Road Baptist Church.

Later, they answered the call into Missions. They were sent to Eindhoven, The Netherlands, Paris, Berlin and Cyprus. When the Mission Board started to make more changes in their assignments, they decided to take a year’s leave as it was time for Ashley to start college at UM. They enrolled Bradley at CHCA. Since he’d been involved with soccer so he was the Warriors’ place kicker for two years.
In the meantime, they decided to resign from the Board and stay in Mobile. Ashley has completed all the work for her BS degree and has begun working on her Masters’ degree. Bradley is a Junior at Auburn.

Both Debbie and Tommy are involved with Cottage Hill Schools. Debbie teaches fourth grade at CH School and Tommy works half time at Cottage Hill Christian Academy.

Tommy is working for Open Doors and has to do quite a bit of traveling all over the world.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Part - 29.c. - Children


29.c. Children

While they were living in Jackson, our first grandyounguns were born. Yes....two of them, five minutes apart! Carrie Michelle and Cassie Marie Wood were born July 11, 1984 in Mobile. They are sisters that happened to be born five minutes apart. Carrie has brown hair and eyes. Cassie has blonde hair and blue eyes.

Before the twins were born, I designed and built a Double Wide cradle and a change table like a picture I saw in a Sears Roebuck Catalog. The change table was used by all five grands and is now in use by Button.

Both the twins have been “A” students all the way through school. Cassie made the accelerated program while at Fayette. Carrie just missed it by a slim margin. When they moved to Lubbock, they began a “Home School” program for a short period of time then graduated from Monterey High School.

Carrie is a “live wire” type that’s into everything and a typically Wood “Bean Pole!” She played flute in her Junior High Band. She loves cows and fishing, and planned to be a teacher or a lawyer. But she has wound up being a Missionary.

Carrie graduated from Texas Tech University. During the time she was in college, she served as Childhood Director at Turning Points Community Church. She married Kyle Wiley in 2007. They both work with NEXT World Ministries in Frisco, TX.

They have our first Great Grandchild, Laura Kate (Button) Wiley who turned one-year-old on May 12, 2009. They live in McKinney, TX.

Cassie is more “laid back,” and is an avid reader. She’s a little less tall than Carrie. She loves horses and planed to be an elementary teacher or journalist. But she is nearing completion of her Masters Degree in Counseling at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth.

She graduated from Lubbock Christian University. In 2008, she married an old schoolmate from LCU, Curtis Thomas. Curtis is Youth Pastor at a large Methodist Church in the East Dallas area. They recently made a trip to the farm and painted the old smokehouse/shop. What a help that was to me!

We were informed a couple of weeks ago that our family is growing again. Their first child that I’ve already named “Punkin” is due to arrive on March 11, 2010.

After they had moved to Abbeville, Joel Andrew Wood was born on March 25, 1986, in Mobile. He got in a hurry to get here, so he arrived about a month early. There was a problem with his lung development, so he had to stay in the University of South Alabama Medical Center for a couple of weeks before he got to go home.

There have been no problem with his lungs now, as could be very evident when he and Cassie get into a spat. Joel went to high school at Trinity Church School in Lubbock. He said that he wanted to become an Architect, an Engineer or and “Imagineer” for Disney, when he grew up.

But, he was called into the ministry and graduated from Hardin Simmons University in Abilene. He recently served about a year as Youth Pastor at a large Methodist Church in Tyler, TX.

While at Hardin Simmons, he met a young lady named Ashley Hawthorne. They were married in March 2008. He and Ashley have moved back to Abilene where he will be attending Hardin Simmons Seminary. Ashley has applied for Medical School at Texas Tech.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Part - 19.c. Robin


29c. Robin

Robin Leigh Willis spent her first 15 years in Thailand as her dad, Harland was a medical missionary there for many years. She went to the same school as Pam and Alison but they never knew each other. She went to college at Baylor University in Waco, TX. She went one year to Southeastern Seminary in Ft. Worth. That is where she met Andy and they “fell in love!”

She put her schooling aside after they were married and became a full time Mother for their twins, Carrie Michelle and Cassie Marie, and a year + later Joel Andrew. That was a full time job with three little ones to tend to. During that time, she developed Lupus. This “goes and comes” according to a large number of causes, most unknown. She has been fortunate that it goes and stays in remission most of the time.

Recently, she has completed her Masters Degree in Family Counseling and has passed her State Exams and is now practicing her trade at Texas Tech University thru a grant from the State. She sees a large number of patients, much larger than the other counselors in that program. That’s just Robin. If she can’t do it better than anyone else, she just doesn’t want to do it! She takes on a project and takes it to the top. She is a super “Pastor’s Wife” in backing and helping Andy in his ministry.

Recently, she and Andy finally made a trip or a couple of weeks to Thailand so she could show him where she grew up. They both REALLY had a great time and Andy got to preach at a huge church in Bancock that is pastored by the man who baptized Robin. That was a special highlight of their trip.

One of her favorite past times is to play the role of "Grammy" in playing with and loving her granddaughter Laura Kate (Button) Wiley. Now she's looking forward to the appearance of "Punkin" in March 2010!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Part - 29.b. - Andy - School & Work


29b. Andy - School and Work

After graduating from Mobile College, Andy spent about six months working with a church in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. Later, he worked with a contractor, in Mobile, doing house repairs that were damaged by Hurricane Frederick.

He was Youth Director and sometimes Music Director at Brewton, AL, Lumberton, MS, Prosper, TX, and First Baptist Jackson, AL. He pastored churches at Stave Creek Baptist, just out of Jackson; First Baptist, Abbeville, AL; Clearview Baptist in Pinson, AL and First Baptist in Fayette, AL.

In 1995, he left Fayette and went to work with Rapha, a Christian Counseling service in conjunction with Charter Hospitals in Atlanta.

In November, 1995, he had some personal problems and went into therapy for a while, some in-hospital and some out.

In August 1996, he began working for Trinity Church, a very large interdenominational church, in Lubbock, TX as Communications Director. Later, he was changed over to work as an Associate Pastor at Trinity, focused on Men’s Ministry. He has had occasion to lead the Choir, Orchestra and Congregational Music Worship and several occasions to Preach at Trinity. This was in addition to his monthly Men’s Ministries breakfast meetings.

He spent about a year as pastor of a small Baptist Church in Brownfield, TX.

During a five-year period, people from all around Lubbock, from several denominations encouraged Andy to start a new church in that area. So, in 2003 a group had met and had the first service of Turning Points Community Church in Lubbock. They met in several different locations for the first 3 years. During that time, they bought a 20 acre cotton field in the south west section of Lubbock. There were few houses in that area at that time. A year later, they built a new building housing a 458 person capacity sanctuary, offices, children and youth areas and some Sunday School rooms. Currently, they are into two services per week with an attendance between 550 and 625. The area is now getting heavily populated with more and more houses going up all the time. I would imagine that within the next few years they will probably at least double the capacity of the buildings.

While at the Seminary, Andy met an “MK” (Missionary’s Kid) by the name of Robin Leigh Willis from Brownfield, TX. About a year later, they were married in Brownfield.

Robin’s father had been a Medical Missionary to Thailand for about fifteen years. He had a medical clinic in Brownfield. He retired from there a couple of years ago and moved up to Lubbock. He is now working with a clinic in Lubbock.

Robin is “a Jill of all trades!” She loves ceramics, wall papering, and had a hobby of collecting “Coca Cola” stuff. She is very enthusiastic over most any new venture she undertakes, and tries to make the most of it. In many things, she is limited due to her having Lupus, but she goes on anyway, even though she may be in pain. She worked as an Account Executive with, an internet access provider that screens out all objectionable programs, in Lubbock. She has completed her Masters Degree in Family Counseling and is now working with a clinic at Texas Tech University doing children and family counseling.

Andy has written a number of songs that are VERY inspirational. He loves to sing, and does a good job at it. Sometimes, I want to “wring his neck” because he hasn’t ever copy written his songs and published them to get the messages to others.

Cottage Hill Baptist Church began a very powerful musical drama called “Golgotha” in about 1976. They continue to produce and present the program each year at Easter time. They present it at least 6 or 8 times each year.

Andy played the role of Peter in the first two and the fourth presentation, and “brought down the house” with his singing of “He’s Alive!”

He doesn’t have much time for his music at TPCC as being Pastor of a church that size is really a FULL TIME job. He does like to write. He has written two 40-day Christian study books and has “shadow written” one book for Fred Wolfe and one for Robin’s sister, Kay Miller. I think that he will eventually end up being a full time writer in his older years. He writes a frequent Blog called Life Vesting, a Christian post.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Part - 29 - Andy and Family - 29.a. Andy



29.a. Andy

James Andrew (Andy) Wood Jr. was born on November 4, 1958 at Mobile Infirmary, weighing in at 9 pounds 7 ounces.

Andy was a big baby to begin with, and the Carnation milk formula made him fat. But! For a year, he had colic and cried, and cried, and cried. We tried all types of medicines, especially paregoric, to give him relief. I guess that by the time he was a year old, he outgrew the problem. We knew nothing of the wide range of formulas that are available now to prevent those things.

The kids went to Mrs. Tucker’s Day Care and Kindergarten for about three years before the time Andy started to school. Actually, he had sat in her kindergarten classes for two years. Also, Mother had given him some of her “Sally, Dick and Jane” books to read before starting to school. When he started to school, he could read, write and do simple arithmetic. So, after doing some testing with him, over a three-week period, the school officials recommended that he be promoted to second grade.

We went along with their recommendation. He never had any problems with the scholastic work, but he did have some trouble for several years emotionally. He was the youngest in his class and, naturally, was the brunt of peer pressure. By about the fifth grade, he had pretty well adjusted.

Both kids were very active and involved in numerous things while coming up.

Andy wasn’t in Cub Scouts, but he joined Boy Scouts at eleven-years-old and before he was fourteen, he had completed all the work required for his Eagle Scout rank. He had to wait until after his fourteenth birthday to have his Court of Honor.

All was not perfect during scouting! Doc Johns, the scoutmaster, took some videos of Andy’s first camping trip on a cold, February weekend. It seems that Andy’s sleeping bag kept coming unrolled. Needless to say, he wasn’t very pleased with
developments there.

Andy, kinda like I did when I was little, enjoyed doing lots of playing by himself. He used to know the names and car numbers of all the racers at Mobile International Speedway. He would have some of his toy cars run ‘round and ‘round him, announcing the leaders like a P A system. Of course “Andy Wood” fared quite well in most of those races!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Part - 28 - Tractors


28. Tractors
There have been three tractors on the place. The first one was a 1941 Ford-Ferguson with about a 30 horsepower engine. There were several implements with this tractor. There was a side mounted scyclebar mower and a side mounted terracing plow. Also, there was a 2 row cultivator with attachable planter and fertilizer bins, a 12” double bottom turning plow, a 5’ disk, a dirt scoop and the tractor wagon that I still have today. Another thing that came in handy each summer after the crops were laid by was a 12” circle saw that mounted on the back of the tractor and was run by a pulley mounted at the power take off. Dennis and Tommy would saw down oak, pine and ash trees and cut them to about a 8 to 10- foot length and pile them up in the general area where they were cut. Then they’d take the tractor to those locations and saw them into House Wood and Stove Wood lengths. Later, they’d be hauled to the back yard for splitting and stacking. Daddy and Joe used to build terraces and break and disk land for many folks around the area. When Daddy stopped row cropping in the early 50’s he sold the tractor and all the implements except the wagon. The second tractor was a 34 horsepower 1964 Ford 2000 tractor that Daddy bought a little while before he retired. That was one tough tractor. He bought a bush hog, 14” double bottom turning plow, a 6’ disk, a 12’ drag harrow and a dirt scoop for that one. Daddy used that tractor in clearing up the overgrown place. We’ve moved many yards of dirt with the scoop. He mainly used the plow, disk and drag harrow to plant winter crops for the cows. He also used the drag harrow to “scatter gophers” (dried manure piles). Joe got the tractor after Mother died, then I bought it from him. In 2003, the old Ford started knocking pretty bad. Since Ford stopped building tractors, I traded it in on a new 45 horsepower 2003 John Deere, 5105 tractor with a front end loader and hay spear. Also it has a canopy on it for shade and roll over protection. I wonder what I did all those years without the versatility of the loader. I still have the implements from the Ford plus an old, heavy box blade that I keep mounted as a counterbalance for hauling dirt and hay with the loader. Also, I use it to help keep the pit road maintained to where vehicles can get up the hill. I really enjoy the Deere, but still miss the Ford for several reasons. One thing, it lasted 39 years and was Daddy’s last tractor that he loved so much. The Deere is not configured for using the scoop or the small grader blade that we had for it. The loader bucket has come in handy several times when I get the tractor stuck. I can use it to push the tractor out of a bog.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Part - 27 - Vehicles



During the first few years, we hardly made enough money to "pay attention!" I had an old '56 Dodge that had about a half round of slack in the steering wheel, and JoAnne was driving the old '58 Ford we had bought just before Andy was born from Treadwell Ford.

The '58 finally "gave up" and we bought a used '61 Ford Station Wagon from Bolton Ford, downtown. This was in about '64.

The wagon was in fair condition when we bought it, but we had a couple of "mishaps" with it. First, JoAnne and the kids were in Waveland, MS where Daddy and I stayed while working at the Mississippi Test Site. She was about ready to leave for home when we noticed smoke coming up around the tailgate window. The motor in the tailgate that operated the window had shorted out.

Another time, JoAnne was on the way to work one morning along Government Boulevard. The car backfired and died. She let it coast into a Chevron station, right by the gas pumps, and asked the guy to see what her trouble was.

Her trouble was on fire! She got QUICK action. They got an extinguisher and put out the fire. The breaker points were so bad, it caused the car to "belch" back through the carburetor and it caught fire.

I had traded the wagon and the old '58 to Treadwell for a '66 4-door LTD, but they needed a day to get the new car ready. I drove the wagon home and back to work (at Otis Elevator downtown).

By the time I got downtown, the water pump shaft was worn so badly that the fan was touching the radiator. I called Treadwell and told them they'd better send a wrecker downtown to get THEIR wagon.

Other vehicles we've had were a yellow 1969 Ford Station wagon, a 1956 Ford Pickup, a blue 1973 Ford Station wagon, a green 1977 Ford F150 Pickup, a brown 1979 Ford Crown Victoria, a white 1984 Ford Crown Victoria, a red and white 1982 Ford F150 Pickup, a blue 1992 Ford Crown Victoria, and a blue 1989 Ford Ranger 4 X 4 Pickup, and a white 1996 Ford F150 Supercab Pickup. Also, we had Daddy’s 78 F-150. We are now driving a Green 2005 Mercury Grand Marquis and a red 2007 Ford F-150 Super Crew Pickup.

As you may note, there was only one blot on the record of having all Fords. That was the old 1956 Dodge.

A Look at Vehicle Gasoline Usage and Pricing

I have kept records on all the gasoline used in my last 5 pickup trucks, so I decided I’d work up the amounts of gasoline used in each vehicle, how much I’ve spent on gasoline and the average prices per gallon on each truck. It is quite interesting considering the enormous amount we are now paying for gasoline.

I had a 1977 Ford F-100 pickup that I bought used on 2/28/80 and traded it off on 3/1/85. I put 39,846 miles on that truck; used 2,847 gallons of gas for a cost of $3,465.95. I averaged 14.0 miles per gallon and spent from $1.039 to $1.329 per gallon for the gas.

On 3/1/85, I bought a used 1982 Ford F-100 pickup and traded it off on 1/21/89. I put 33,050 miles on that truck; used 2,458.7 gallons of gas for a cost of $2,564.47. I averaged 13.4 miles per gallons and spent from $0.889 to $1.099 per gallon for the gas.

On 1/21/89, bought a new 1989 Ford Ranger 4X4 and traded it off on 2/7/96. I put 139,242 miles on that truck; used 7,229.2 gallons of gas for a cost of $10,339.00. I averaged 19.2 miles per gallon and spent from $0.719 to $1.179 per gallon for the gas.
On 2/7/96, I bought a new 1996 Ford F-150 Super Cab and traded it off on 7/16/07. I put 226,380 miles on that truck; used 15,223.9 gallons of gas for a cost of $26,316.43. I averaged 15.76 miles per gallon and spent from $0.719 to $3.199 per gallon for the gas.

On 7/16/07, I bought a 2007 Program Ford F-150 Super crew. I still have that truck. I have put 15,087 miles on this truck; used 957.1 gallons of gas for a cost of $2,306.32, I have currently averaged 15.76 miles per gallon and have spent from $2.549 to $3.399 per gallon for the gas.

During the –years from 2/28/80 to today,(07/24/09) the cost of gasoline has increased from a low of $0.719 to today’s cost of $3.599 per gallon, an increase of $2.78 per gallon with no end in sight as the prices soar daily for as much as $0.22 per gallon per day. The real kick in the head (and wallet) to all this is that the big oil conglomerates are making unheard of profits into the Billions per quarter year.

With the five trucks, I have driven 475,480 miles for a cost of $74,488.87.
These exorbitant prices are sending ALL things we have to purchase from gas to food, clothing, vehicles, building materials, tires, etc. through the roof. It especially hurts us retirees that are on fixed incomes. I don’t have a clue as to how high these prices will continue to skyrocket, especially since we elected a Democrat President and Congress that are promising huge tax increases that will further escalate all prices and cause this country to go into a real depression.

I don’t have a clue as to how we can turn this do nothing, spend, and spend government around. If anyone has a clue, please cue me in!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Part - 26. - Ice Storms



During the time after the Conway job, I was job hunting. I went up to Sedalia, MO with Daddy one Sunday. When we got to his apartment, at about 10:30 that night, we turned on the TV. There was a special bulletin being flashed on TV that the City of Sedalia was in a state of emergency. The gas main that fed the city had burst and there was no gas in Sedalia. Wouldn't you know that the apartment building furnace was gas fired and there was a gas stove in the apartment. We made out ok that night as Daddy had an electric blanket and I just loaded up with "long handles" and socks and slept fine.

The next morning was a different story for Daddy. When we got up, the outside temperature was -7 degrees F. Daddy got chilled while he was getting dressed. I was ok since I already had on my "handles."
We had to get the car warmed up and drive about seven miles to get his Government pick up, then drove another twenty miles to find a place to get coffee and breakfast. Daddy was in pretty bad shape by the time we got the pickup warmed up!

We left Sedalia on Wednesday afternoon, going back home. Joe lived in Rolla, MO; on our way. We decided we'd go by his house for a cup of coffee, then drive on through to Millry.
Well, that didn't work so well either. About twenty miles outside of Rolla, we hit a sheet of ice on the roads. We "slid" into Joe's and stayed 'til the next morning. Then, we still had about a hundred miles of icy driving to go.

Another time, while living in Oak Ridge, the kids and Robin were up for Christmas. On December 26, they went to a Dentist that was about ten miles from our house, for a checkup. JoAnne and I had decided to take them out to eat that night and were getting ready to go to the bank to cash a check.

I went out to get the truck started while Jo Anne went up to get her purse. She hollered down for me to go to the bank because it was misting rain and it was freezing on everything. I decided to keep the truck engine running to thaw it out, as I told her that the kids would probably soon be calling.

The Oak Ridge Turnpike that ran by the back of our house was beginning to have numerous cars pile up due to the glaze of ice.
Sure enough, we soon got a call from Deb saying that they were ok and Andy's car was ok, but they'd had a little accident about eight miles away. I had studded snow tires on my truck and a couple of sandbags in the back. So, I headed out to get them.

It took almost an hour to get to them. They had to stop to miss an old man's car that slid off the road in front of them, and a small Nissan truck had hit the back of Andy's '78 Cadillac. I spread sand from the bags around the truck so he could get out, then spread some around Andy's car so he could pull up in the yard of the folks that let them use their phone to call us.

Then we headed home.
By the time we got back to the Turnpike, about a half-mile from the house, the eastbound lane had been completely blocked with wrecked and stalled vehicles. I went East on the westbound lanes up to our turnoff, as there was no westbound traffic. Then on up into our back yard.

About dark, I took a couple of thermos bottles of coffee and some cake and sandwiches down to the road to pass out to the stalled people.

Once, about 10:00 PM, a car came easing up through the railroad underpass. The driver was checking to see if he could get through. I told him that I'd heard there were about 200 cars piled up just over the hill from there and there was no way he could get through. He thanked me and started to try to turn around to go back to town. His car would not move, even though the pavement was pretty level at that point. I told him to just take his foot off the brake and let the tires spin slowly. He did so, and I began pushing the car sideways near the rear end. The car easily spun round and began moving off toward town. The driver yelled his thanks out the window and proceeded.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Part - 25 - Wrecks



A few days before our wedding, we had been over to JoAnne's Aunt Claire Dunn's in Chickasaw for them to plan a shower. On the way back, I ran a stop sign that was blocked by a parked car and it was a blind corner. I ran into a forty-six Ford coupe. It banged up the front of my fifty-five Ford and cost me $1,170.00 to have it fixed. (Now days, it would probably cost five or six thousand dollars.) I just paid the guy $125.00 for the coupe and told him to keep it.

The wreck damage pretty well took away all the little money I had saved, so we couldn't afford a big honeymoon.

Once, while we were in Conway, AR, we were crossing an intersection on an unpaved street that had no signs (stop, etc.). After getting about half way into the intersection, I saw a pickup truck was going to hit me in the right side. I swerved enough that he only bumped the rear fender about 6 inches from the taillight. The other driver had had a "couple of beers" and asked me not to call the Police. He gave me his name, drivers license number, etc. and said that he used to work at the Ford place, and he'd meet me there on Monday afternoon.

By the time I got to the Ford place on Monday, he'd already been there and arranged to pay for the damage to our car.

I've really been lucky so far that I've not had any other wrecks, especially for all the miles I've driven.

Monday, July 20, 2009




While the kids were coming up, each year, we tried to take at least a one week vacation to travel and see as many different things as we could.

We've been to (in no particular order): Six Flags over Georgia, The Cyclorama (a combined painting and 3-D depiction of the Civil War Battle of Atlanta), The Zoo and to a Braves game at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta; Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL; Waukula Springs, FL; Carowinds Theme Park on the North Carolina/South Carolina border near Charlotte; Opryland, The Country Music Hall of Fame, The Hermitage (Andrew Jackson's Home) and the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville; Goldrush Junction (changed to Silver Dollar City and is now Dollywood) in Pigeon Forge, TN; Gatlinburg and The Great Smokie Mountain National Park; Frontierland and The Oconoluftie Indian Village (about three times) in Cherokee, NC;

(The first time we went to Cherokee, we were all sick but Deb, it had been raining and JoAnne had bumped her head on a gondola going out of Frontier Land. We decided to get us some Indian Moccasins. For some reason, we all got tickled and were about rolling in the floor of the shop in Cherokee while trying on moccasins.);

Lookout Mountain, Ruby Falls and The Confederama (a miniature mock up of the Battle of Moccasin Bend) in Chattanooga, and the Memphis Zoo in TN; Six Flags Over Texas in Arlington, TX; The Alamo and Langhorn's House of Horns in San Antonio, TX; The Astrodome, Home of the Astros, (Andy & I saw a ball game there) in Houston, the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Ft. Worth, and El Paso, TX; Mammoth Cave, Fort Knox, Louisville (where Andy learned to run and dive off a board), Frankfurt (the Capitol), and Lexington, KY;

The US Capital, Senate Chamber, House Chamber (we were met by Congressman Jack Edwards, had our picture made on the Capitol steps with him and later, visited him in his office) and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, DC; Chesapeake Beach, MD (we found several ancient sharks' teeth along the shore there); and Mount Vernon (Home of George Washington), VA;

The Alabama Department of Archives and History and the Capitol in Montgomery, Russell Cave, Sequoia Caverns, Natural Bridge, Talladega International Raceway, Cheaha State Park (highest point in AL), and Lake Logan Martin at Pell City, AL;

Dogpatch USA near Russelville, Petit Jean State Park and Winthrop Rockerfeller ranch, and the Little Rock Zoo, in AR; the original Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, the St. Louis Zoo, Grant's Park (home of Augie Busch and the Budweiser Clydesdales. Joe almost got us run out of there.), and stood on the foundation of the Gateway Arch in St. Louis; the Jackson and Hattiesburg Zoos in MS; Arizona State University in Tempe, AZ; and Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

During these trips, we tried to see as much as possible in the short times we had. For instance, we went through about one-and-a-half of the Smithsonian buildings in about four hours. We were exposed to lots of places and things, and after the kids moved, both they and JoAnne and I have gone back to several of the places we'd been to previously.

JoAnne and I have added a number of places since the kids grew up. We've been to Quebec City, Quebec, and Montreal, Ontario, Canada; all over Maine and Tennessee; the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington (we took Lou once and Mother and Daddy once, they all seemed to really enjoy it.); Denver, Vail, Estes Park, and Colorado Springs, CO; Cheyenne, (Capitol) WY; Oakland, San Francisco and the NAPA Valley, CA; Detroit, Macanac and Sault Ste. Marie, MI; The Biltmore House (Home of the Vanderbilts. Has 36 bedrooms) in Asheville, and to Chimney Rock, NC. And, to Salt Lake City, UT, Idaho Falls and The Valley of the Moon National Monument, ID; Jackson Hole and the Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks in WY; and through a corner of Montana.

Associated travels with the various jobs have taken me to 23 states. I've been into 46 of the 50 states. I've seen much of this country, and wish to see more of it. I have been out of the US to two countries, those are Canada, Mexico, England, France, The Netherlands, Luxumborg, Belgium, Prague, and Cyprus . We really hope to see much more of the world if health and money allows.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Part - 23 - Volunteering


I was vice president of the Davidson High School Band Parents Association, and JoAnne and I were at ALL performances. I would brag on the members of the band, telling them that I had 2 younguns and 146 "Other Younguns" in that band.

Most of the performances were fun, but when I'd have to walk with them during Mardi Gras parades, trying to keep the people back out of the street so the band could get through was NO fun.

During the time the kids were in High School, we worked as volunteers for the Red Cross. We would work first aid stations at most all the football games, work at disaster shelters and with the Mobile County Sheriff's Flotilla. Over a three-year period, I worked over 1,500 hours for the Red Cross, teaching first aid classes and working first aid stations.

I was a member of the Mobile County Sheriff's Flotilla; a search and rescue unit of volunteers to handle water related emergencies. Since I didn't have a boat, I served as a Radio Officer. Also, I kept the converted Air Force School bus that had been made into a portable base station that was set up at each disaster location.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Part - 21 & 22 - Wedding & Honeymoon



JoAnne and I were married on Monday, September 16, 1957. Why Monday? It was my twentieth birthday and would have been her parents' twentieth anniversary. That way I would have no excuse forgetting our anniversary!

The wedding took place at Myers Memorial Baptist Church, in Eight Mile with Bro. Cotton Causey officiating.

Myers Memorial's first pastor was JoAnne's great grandfather.

Daddy was my best man; Joe and Fred were groomsmen. JoAnne's brother, Shelton, (Sonny) walked her down the aisle. (That was no easy thing as one of her skirt hoops had come unfastened and she was stepping on her petticoat all the way down the aisle.) Her other brother, Bobby and her cousin Hank Parker were ushers. Loretta McLeod Byrd was the Matron of honor, and JoAnne's cousins Joyce Dunn and Doris Rice were bridesmaids. My cousin, Judy Wood, and niece, Dianne Knight, were flower girls. My nephew, Steve Duncan was ring bearer.


We spent our first night together, after stopping at Spanish Fort to remove the last of the tin cans that had been tied to the back of the car, at the Azalea Motel at the intersection of Highway 98 and Pensacola Beach Road, just across the Pensacola Bay bridge.

I don't know who was the most ignorant, naive, or the most scared. But, old maw nature took care of things, and it was "a night to behold!"

Since we had had a wreck a couple of weeks before the wedding and had to use most of our savings to get the car repaired, the rest of the honeymoon was spent visiting relatives. We spent a night with Claire and Fred in Fort Walton Beach, one with Joe and Bea in Enterprise, AL (Bea took us to Bingo at Ft. Rucker as Joe was abed with the flu.), then a couple of nights in Millry before going into our apartment at 7 Oakland Terrace, in Mobile.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Part - 20 - JoAnne



Mable JoAnne is the only daughter and oldest child of the late Shelton Chesley and Mamie Lucille Parker Hendrix. She has two brothers, William Shelton (Sonny) and Robert Lewis (Bobby). She dropped the “Mable” about the time she started high school.

She was born in the same house that her mother born was, in Whistler, AL. Her parents built a house in Eight Mile, AL soon after she was born, and is where she grew up. The house is located across from Myers Memorial Baptist Church, on Shelton Beach Road, where I met her and where we were married.

She graduated from Vigor High School in 1956 and went to work for Rhodes Furniture store on Dauphin Street in Mobile as a bookkeeper. She worked there until just before Andy was born.

JoAnne had desired to go to College, but the opportunity never really presented itself. Her Father was in poor health when she graduated from high school and he died when she was 18. Ten months after her father’s death, we were married. Fourteen months later Andy was born, and less than thirteen months later, Deb was born. So, she joined me in the School of Hard Knocks.

While I was attending William Carey College, she worked as a bookkeeper at the Auto Lec Store in Hattiesburg.

When we moved to Arkansas, she worked for a while for Midland Constructors and for Paul Hardeman-Fischbach and Moore in Conway in the offices.

When we moved back to Mobile, in 1961, she went to work for Smith’s Sunbeam Bakery where she worked for several years as a bookkeeper.

She stopped working for a while to be home with the kids, then worked for Gail Poole, Interior decorator. Later she worked as Office Manager/Bookkeeper for Consolidated Air Conditioning until we moved to Oak Ridge in 1979.

After we moved to Oak Ridge, she worked as a bookkeeper for Larry Channell Accounting, then for Jeff Day, Accountant as Office Manager. She kept numerous sets of books for businesses around the Oak Ridge area as well as working up tax returns while working for both Accountants.

During the eleven years I worked in Oak Ridge. She began to take some courses at Roane State Community College, in Oak Ridge, while still working, but only accomplished about a year’s work before we moved to Waterville, ME.

When we went to Maine, she got a job with Northeast Laboratory as Office Manager. They had experienced a total crash of their computer system and JoAnne pulled all the lost information up from hard files and reestablished their accounting system into a new computerized system.

When we returned to Oak Ridge neither she nor I could find work for quite a while. She worked with the Radio and Television Ministry at Central Baptist Church as a volunteer during that time.

Upon returning to Mobile, she worked part time for an Accounting Firm during Income Tax Season. Then she went to work as Bookkeeper for Gulf Lumber Company, handling the personal accounts for the Owners. She retired from Gulf Lumber in 2000.

She worked part time for a while at Millry Baptist Church in the office, mostly on a volunteer basis.

She likes to read, sew, walk, play games, do church work, travel, spoil the grandkids, and great grand, etc. We are both enjoying retirement in the country and a much slower pace than in-city go, go, go atmosphere. We don’t miss Airport Blvd. in Mobile at all!

JoAnne is in pretty good health. Except for two major surgeries, she has always maintained good health. She had a Hysterectomy when she was about 27-years-old, then had a very large ovarian tumor removed while we were living in Maine.

Two things that have been bothering her in recent years is a broken right wrist suffered when she slipped on ice in Atlanta in 1996 and an on-going battle with allergies.

Her wrist did not knit as straight as it should, so she’s having some arthritic pain in it and can not flex it as she can with her left wrist.

Her allergies have been kinda hard to control as her doctors say that she’s allergic to stress, as well as dust, certain pollens, etc. She’ll wake up some mornings with “whelps” all over her that, most of the time, will go away soon as she takes a pill. She never knows when an attack is coming. Hope a prevention for this will emerge soon.

Over the past couple of years she has developed a couple more ailments. One is defibrillation of her heartbeat and is on Coumadin for that. Also she has developed Sleep Apnea that requires her to use C-pap machine to allow her to sleep through the night.

JoAnne did about a three-year stint teaching five and Six-year-olds in Sunday School. She really did enjoy working with those kids. But, they moved the classes out to the Christian Activities Center and all the kids sat on the floor in various areas of the gym floor. She was unable to maneuver the up and down and gave up her class. So, she went back into Margaret Hartley’s women’s class.

JoAnne enjoys playing games on her computer and has recently gotten into Facebook.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Part - 19.h.5 - Recap 3


19.h.5. WORK RECAP (5)

I guess I developed an interest in the construction industry naturally. As I noted before, I would "grade roads" complete with ditches, bridges, etc. in the back yard. Would drive up every nail I could find, mostly in the ground, when I was very small. I would practice loading and stacking loads of wood, etc. on my wagon, and always have a special "haul road" to go on. I always loved to smell fresh turned earth on the farm. And, I've always loved operating any type equipment, from a toy tractor to the big ones. The only thing that I have never run and have always wanted to, was a motor grader.

I love to see new things being built, from houses to churches, office buildings to new structures in industrial plants. I love to see these industrial projects go from (under) the ground up to the simply amazing ways that products we use all the time are coming off the ends of production lines. It amazes me how so many brilliant minds have gone into just thinking some of these things up, much less the complicated methods it takes to produce them.

I've been on projects to build structures that make bag paper, writing paper, tissue to wipe either end, newsprint, magazine glossy paper; rayon, nylon and TENCEL fibers, that are used for making clothes, belting, and so many other uses; plastic pellets to be transformed into things from garbage bags to house siding, to non-corrosive gears for machinery and fishing reels; elevators and escalators to save us from using all our energy climbing stairways; to missiles that carry men to the moon or to blow away a whole country; to nuclear products that may destroy the world or provide fuel for power plants or ships; to aluminum mills that melt ingredients down and pour the molten materials into huge ingots that are later made into foils, soda cans and lightweight materials for truck frames, to containers, to baseball bats; to cement plants for supporting all these plants as well as highway systems; to crude oil that is made into fuel and lubricants for vehicles to keep the world mobile; to ships to move the world's cargo; to roads to give the world mobility; to churches to worship in comfort and fellowship; to shopping centers for plying the world's goods; to schools to educate the people; to auto dealerships to vend transportation vehicles; to parks for leisure; to airplane engines to propel people and products by air; to communication centers for telephone, radio and television to keep the world "smaller"; to hospitals to heal the ill; to nursing homes to house the afflicted; to office buildings for business; chemical plants that can poison the world or deactivate the poison or so many other uses; to paints to preserve and beautify structures and vehicles; to pharmaceuticals to cure the headaches or bandage the wounds of the people; and many, many more.

Wow! Have I been in all those places?!?!

I have performed jobs to test the quality or paper being made; lay out buildings and machinery locations to assure they will "fit" in the world; purchase products to make up and to construct these places; supervise crafts in assembling, constructing and handling materials; purchasing, receiving and warehousing materials; designing office buildings; driving tractors and trucks; keeping fleets of vehicles and equipment purchased and maintained; and developing and managing Safety programs to meet compliance requirements for the health and well being of all workers who perform the work associated with all the aforementioned endeavors.

I have "plied my trade" in Millry, The Greater Mobile Area from McIntosh to Theodore, Sheffield, Dothan and Jackson, AL; Pascagoula, Gulfport, Moss Point, Starkville and Bay St. Louis, MS; Pensacola, Panama City and Port St. Joe, FL; Oak Ridge, TN; Skowhegan (Somerset), ME; New Orleans and Lake Charles, LA; Houston, TX; and Athens, GA.

I guess I'd have to say that my first paying job was picking cotton for Mr. Jim Whigham. Calvin Stokley, Robert A. McLean and I would pick for him each year for about three years. We'd get a whole two cents per pound that we picked. On the first year, the most I picked in a day was 75 pounds ($1.50), the second was 77 pounds ($1.54), and the third, I really "got after it" one day and picked 137 pounds ($2.74). Of course those jobs didn't last but a week or so each year. We'd have to wait until up in the morning if there was dew that morning. The day I picked 137 pounds, there was no dew, so we started about 6:30 am and picked until dark. I've heard of people that could pick 3, 4, or 500 pounds in a day. Now that's "grabbin' some cotton!"

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Part - 19.h.4. - Work Recap 2


19h.(4) Recap (2)

On a Wednesday, Daddy introduced me to Owen Hart the Structural Superintendent and Ed Owens, the Structural Engineer for Paul Hardeman-Fischbach and Moore, who were doing Phase II of the project.

Later, Morrison-Knudsen joined PH-FM to do Phase IIA.
Phase I involved digging the silos 160 feet deep and about 60 feet diameter, all in dense rock. Then they started pouring concrete in the bottom and "slip formed" the walls continually, until they had poured out at the top. Then they installed the huge girders that spanned the hole from four directions. Phase II involved hanging EVERYTHING to the walls: all floors, the launch tube, a 6,000 gallon cooling water tank, all piping and electrical; building the igloo style Launch Control Center, the Entrance, called the Blast Lock; and the tunnel connecting the silo to the blast lock and blast lock to the Launch Control center.

Also included installation of a 200-ton rollback door.
Phase IIA was the installation of all finish electrical and electronic, controls, operation equipment, etc.

When I talked with Hart and Owens, they said they needed someone to take care of all structural steel drawings plus some other things. They wanted me to start ASAP. When I asked what the pay rate was, Owen said, "Oh, how about a hundred-and-a-half?" My mouth flew open and I said, "A month?" He said, "Hell no. A week!" I could hardly believe my ears, after the $1.25 an hour, that was "BIG MONEY!"

The next Monday morning, I started work as a Junior Structural Engineer. There wound up being 770 different shop drawings that were frequently revised, and there were thirteen sets of these drawings. There was one set on twelve different job sites and one in my office. All were on plan sticks made out of 1/4" by 2" laths with three 1/4" bolts through them. In addition to the shop drawings, there were almost 300 Erection drawings that the Ironworkers used to assemble the steel on the sites.

There were five copies of each erection drawing. One was on the sticks and four were folded so the Foremen could stick them in their pockets and take them down in the silos.
Along with all the other work with drawings, I kept records of costs on all steelwork and managed a steel fabrication shop with as many as eighteen Iron Workers and a Cable Splicer.

We made thousands of steel wedges of various sizes, three inch square "blank nuts" and "alignment dogs" for use in aligning the steel plates on the launch tubes and water tanks.
Since everything was hung to the silo's concrete walls by drilling and anchoring, we made hundreds of pipe and equipment hanger brackets for each site. Plus, Old Cherokee Pete made all the wire rope slings for the project.

Pete was an OK guy. He was the type person that, if he liked you, he'd give you the shirt off his back. If he didn't like you, he had nothing to do with you. Well, he "took a likin' to me." Once he brought me a quart jar full of an "Old Cherokee Recipe" of a kind of stew. It had squirrel meat, some kind of potato and lots of other things that he wouldn't identify. It was SUPER rich. You could only eat a couple of spoonsful at a time. He told me it was an energy booster.

One day, I saw Pete working with a one-half inch cable about twenty feet long. He was making some steel hooks and putting it on some short pieces of chain. I asked him what he was making. He said, "I'm makin' a vehicle tow cable for a friend of mine." When he finished it, he handed it to me and said, "Here ya go, friend!"

For a long time, we had the shop, and I had a warehouse trailer set up at Site #18. This site was about the central one of all the eighteen sites. The warehouse was for Iron Workers' tools, welding equipment and rods, and torches.

The original excavations had a two-inch diameter pipe guard rail bent to the radius of the hole (about 100 feet in diameter). When the hole was closed, the pipe rails were scrapped. Also, the pipe fab shop had some work horses made of two-and-a-half inch pipe. I took four pieces of the bent pipe for legs and one of the "horses" about ten feet wide for the top, and made the kids a swing set. It cost me a whole dollar for the material! The frame is still in the back yard in Millry. We use it for a porch type swing now.

After leaving Conway in January 1961, I didn't have a job for two months. We moved in with Lou for about four months.
In February 1961, I went to work as an agent with the National Life and Accident Insurance Co. in Mobile. I was averaging $108.00 per week, but by the time I ran the debit two or three times a week trying to collect premiums, car expense and taxes, I only netted out about $35.00 per week. That doesn't go far toward feeding a family of four! I'd go by some clients to collect maybe two or three dollars for a little "sick and accident" policy, and they'd say, "Policy Man, I ain't got no money today. Come back Sadity and I'll have some then!"

During the time I was working for National Life, we bought our first house. It was in Terrace Hills subdivision, off Cottage Hill Road. The house was at 4450, then changed to 5200 Almeda Court. It was the center house of a five-house circle.