As I was growing up my dad ran a dirt business, he sold topsoil, stone, and did excavating. The shale pit was the back of the family farm and from time to time it neede to be dynomited to loosen more shale. By the time I was seven years old I was loading trucks with the crawler John Deere my dad had. Developed an early case of can do. When it came time to blast the pit dad would jack hammer holes in the floor, fill them with a charge, pack mud in behind the sticks, then park the bulldozer over the hole. My job was to take the wires leading to the charge and touch them to the battery of the dozer. The blast was more of a shock then a blast, you could feel the ground move and the dozer felt like it jumped up. My mother always said the same thing to my dad, "Leonard you should not have that boy doing that,he could get hurt!" It always struck me as great fun. Nowadays he would be in jail for child abuse or some damn thing, but dad never gave us anything to do that we could not handle. My memories of growing up are still vivid as my dad would do anything to keep his kids happy, fed, entertained, and well behaved. Many of the desisions I made as a youth were determined by the knowledge that if my old man found out I would not live to do the misdeed again.
Some of the things I love are exactly the things my father loved. Hunting cottontailed rabbits with a brace of beagles and a single shot .410 shotgun, internal combustion engines, machinery,
growing our own food, building anything, and suprizes, I loved to see the look on the faces of my sons when they were growing up when I showed up with a dirtbike, horse, go cart, fireworks, goats, bicycles, dogs, or any number of things. My dad was the same way. My mother was always the voice of reason, that person who did all the worrying for everyone. She always longed for order and my father created chaos and sought excitement. We did not have a lot of money when I was a child, but I did not know that. Money management I learned from my mother, how to take pleasure in all that I do I learned from my father.
In my next post I wll tell tales of daring do. Rodeo riding, moto-cross racing, field cars, and the many crashes I have been in that should have killed me.