As much as I need to be working……Sometimes the stories take longer to write than the titles. Sometimes way longer.
I was going with a fast food theme at one point.Â Just decided to ramble for this one. If it’s too hard to follow I apologize.
The old man’sÂ stories always started abruptly Â “Everyone thought my first name was Dammit at work…….“.
Post retirement he fidgeted around a lot. Some fishing. Some hunting. Motorcycle Riding. Building small things that were entertaining out of electronics. Mostly worrying everyone in a good way. Mostly. Sometimes not.
One day there was a phone call to a young married couple way before he was retired. There had been a lot of phone calls where a “Hello” on the one end would be followed by someone hanging up on the dialing end.Â They always happened when I was at work. Only to my wife. One day she caught on or he caught on and the accusation was made by her “YOU…You’ve been calling the house” to which he said “No, why would I call you”and waited just long enough to grin to make it questionable. This went on for a year…maybe two. I would pull in to my parents place and see his car and if she was with me “You stopped calling” she would say as her foot made it in the door. “I never called you” he would reply and throw in another grin just to muddy the waters. A few yearsÂ before the divorce and maybe one year past his second one he told me “The day I die you look at her at the funeral and point and go “HE SAID HE NEVER CALLED YOU”. I need to get the last word in”. I can do thatÂ Uncle.
“Someone had been stealing my lunch and we knew pretty muchÂ who it was. I don’t know if he didn’t have a lunch or just too sorry to pack one. So Â I foundÂ a snake….“
One day he and the dog went into town and he needed quarters. For what who knows. He stopped at the local laundromat and fed a dollar into the bill changer. It kept his dollar. He fed a second. For good measure a third. So he was out three dollars. There was a phone number and he called it to report an out of service bill changer. “I’ll send you the three dollars” the voice said. They never came. A week or so later he called the number again and the guy said “I’ll send the money”. It never came. The next week found him at the tax assessors office with an address. “I need the name of the owner”.Â When they looked they noticed the owner had missed some tax payments and his business license was out of date. The secretary said “I know him”. He said “Well – do they serve arrest warrants across the hall?”. Secretary looked up and said “Why?” “He owes you taxes and me 3 dollars”.Â At the sheriffs office they told him it would take $50 dollars to serve an arrest warrant. “Why do you want this guy arrested? I know him” said one officer.Â “He owes me three dollars and he owes the lady across the hall taxes. It’s not the $53 but the principle”. One phone call later and he left no doubt chuckling. No arrest warrant but a guy was screaming across town to pay his taxes and to mail a envelope with three one dollar bills in it. No doubt he called him “dammit” on the drive to the post office. With great power comes great responsibility.
He would stop at McDonalds. The dog gets a quarter pounder and he would get a filet o’ fish.
“I stopped and picked up the snake and put it in my lunch box. 2 or 3Â foot long. Black Snake. I dumped my lunch out in my car seat. Didn’t say a word. Just went in and put my lunch box over on the shelf with everyone elses….”
“You got too many girlfriends” he would tell me. “How many now?” “Well – taking your advice I let the Blonde visit twice to round out the week and but I’mÂ still taking Sunday’s off”. He would smirk and I would laugh and off we would go in our separate directions. “What about the red head?” he would ask “I had to let her go cause it was all too difficult to keep up with.”
Years ago aÂ 21 year old kidÂ pulled up in aÂ jeep that was leaking oil and belching smoke and he noted accuratelyÂ it wasn’t running right. He spent the better part of a saturday on hoses, alternator bushings, and wiring. “This brand new wiring I’m sticking in here was left over from a plane”. It actually was. I kicked the tiresÂ and go “well – Â it was what I could afford”. “What’s this piece of junk?” I asked pointing at a pile of wires and plastic. “Plane ran over anÂ electric welder…I’m building a car battery charger”
“….so we waited for the scream….”
He wasn’t wrong on much. Stubborn. Hard headed. Difficult. I got all of that but the being right constantly. I am way too much like him for my own good. TuesdayÂ I started sorting a shed. One of three. Boxes of electric things. Fishing Lures. Bull Horns. Piles of things. There is a method to the piles though.
As a kid I would watch him throw a softball so fast at tournaments it scared me. It wasn’t a ball but a bullet. A blur followed by a man screaming Strike.
“I’m about ready to go bye” he said as he sat in the hospital two months ago.
I said I wouldn’t hit publish until I got the phone call I didn’t want to get. But we all get old. His time is now and mine may be another 40 years down the road. It wasn’tÂ a prank phone call or one where the other person hangs up or asks me about the imaginary girlfriends that live in all parts of the country.
In case the ex sees this – “He said he never called you”. There. I’m a bit early on the announcement but you got the last word in as promised.
“Sho’ enough just before lunch I heard Freddy scream and my lunch box hit the floor……”Dammit Crocker….you about give me a heart attack” Well stop stealing my lunch and quit playing with thatÂ snake…Huhuhhahahaha I got him good“
You got us all good.
Catch you on the other side.