Thursday, January 10, 2008

I Often Wonder

It amazes me that I have made it this far. My entire life has been a high wire act working for the most part without a net. From the time I was a wee sprout something inside of me always found activities that involved a rush, if it was not dangerous it probably was not for me. At least now I know where it came from, my father.

Growing up Dad had a shale pit at the farm and summers were spent harvesting the stuff. As a mere lad of 7 my job was loading trucks with a John Deere crawler loader. Child labor laws would have a hay day with that today. To loosen the shale from the ground dad and the crew would drill holes in the floor of the pit and set dynamite charges in the holes. Then the loader track was positioned over the charge and my job was to touch it off with the battery on the loader. Set right the charge would just slightly lift the machine in the air a bit, but what a rush. Mom always thought that Dad was wrong to use me for this , I would have been pissed if I lost that job!

Now not to make it sound like Dad only bread with Mom to have child labor, he believed that everyone no matter how young or small could carry their weight. He also believed that growing up should be an adventure and true to that as a Kid I never knew what Dad would find for excitement. All my friends liked to spend time at my house because it was fun!

Anybody else grow up with field cars? It seems we always had several old cars to drive in the fields and there was a track that we ran on. Gas was always a problem, but we always found a way to keep them going. 50's and 60's cars were really build out of stout stuff, injuries were rare. We did things like ramps, made roll over cars, VW's were great for that! We would race, play chicken, and spend days on these junkers just to keep them running. There were also motorcycles, Dad set up an old Harley with boogie wheels so we could keep the beast upright and we had motocross machines, beat up old street bikes, you name it.

Horses! We always had them. I showed them, rode them everywhere, and what a great way to impress the girls. I rode rodeo as a teenager, everything from saddle broncs to bull riding. I have horses to this day and still get a thrill from them. Been thumped around by these beasts a few times.

Guns have always been tools that we had to fill the larder. I can remember a different time when during Deer season I would take a shotgun with ammo to school so I could hunt my way home through the woods. Try that today. We did not grow up to be killers or criminals due to this exposure, if anything I think it developed a respect for things that can kill.

Dogs! We had all kinds, but always beagles to hunt bunnies with. Coon hounds, we used to field trial them on Sundays. Bird dogs, wiener hounds, labs, and mutts. I still find life to be incomplete without a dog or two around.

Near our farm is a creek with a very high cliffs and we could spend our days climbing all over them. It was a great place to camp out and we did a lot of that. Plus the fishing was and still is superb. When I was 10 I fell off a cliff and broke my leg, fractured my skull, and got cuts and bruises. Not too bad for free falling 90 feet. My grandchildren have discovered the wonder of this gorge and so far so good.

My flare for excitement followed me into the work place. If the job had elements of danger it always paid better. Iron worker, rigger, equipment operator, logging, jailer, I've done all of that. Some day I will tell you more, hell I could do a post on just car accidents!


MarmiteToasty said...

oh my, I so LOVED reading this post.... you, to me, had a childhood filled with such fun and wonders and learning opportunities to boot :)

Child labour laws are different when its a family business, all the rules and laws go out the window if you work for your own family..... :) I know these things....

Glad your grandkids are getting to have that same exposure to the gorge.. jammy little sods lol


Ol' Lady said...

We have a sayin 'round here..."Kids that hunt don't rob little old ladies"

Kati said...

LOL Sounds like your dad was a real character. Glad you came out of childhood in one piece so you could share these tales (and newer ones) with us!

Anonymous said...

What a great story! You have truly lived (and are still living) a fantastic adventure. But, hey, that's what life's for, right?