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Friday, January 29, 2016

JOINED THE UNION - A True Story

My continued fiction story will resume soon - Keep posted.
 
 
 
My uncle got me a job roofing and since it was a union shop I had to join the union. The union was controlled by the older members and part of their job protection was to require the new members to start as apprentices. This was something new for none of the older membership had ever been required to be apprentices they just paid their dues and they were automatically full-fledged roofers. 
As an apprentice you not only did the heavy dirty work the older roofers would not want to do.  They also would take your job when the slow season came. 
One time in particular me and another apprentice both got our jobs taken from us.  I had the start of a family and had to hustle to care for them. It was down to the union hall at seven o’clock and wait to see if some junk job became available; something the older roofers didn’t want to do so I could get a day’s work. It was back to the union hall the next day and if I was lucky another days work. 
Once a job ended up being a six week job which I really needed.  Suffice it to say it wasn’t easy paying our bills but we always managed to get by.  My wife, Hazel always fed us well with very little money. She almost never had more than ten dollars to feed the five of us along with having to buy the other necessities.
Union Dues - and Union Blues
Back to the union; I was required to attend several meetings a year or be knocked off my job so I always made the minimum number. Once a year we would vote on who would go back East and represent our local. The number to go was five and they would receive a week’s pay plus expenses which amounted to around four hundred and fifty dollars at that time.
After listening to the ones who wanted to go we would vote. I recall one candidate who wished to be included in the panel standing up and saying; “Now you know all these guys are going to do is go there and get drunk and I can get drunker than any of them.” After a few more words from others we voted and sad to say he didn’t get to go.
When they returned they were supposed to give a report at the next meeting and one of the first guys stood up and said; “We went to the International and uh. We went to a meeting.”  He continued to say; “Well Bill took some notes uh,” and sat down.  One of the members stood up and said; “Well what do you think of that four hundred and fifty dollars’ worth.”
They managed to break up the fight that broke out before much damage was done. Fights were the norm at the meetings because there was quite a bit of drinking before the meetings and someone would get ticked off before the evening was over.
After finishing the three years apprenticeship I became a journeyman roofer and my job was secure from that point on.  After ten years in the union I began my own business and opted out of the union so its rules no longer dictated my every move!
God blessed our company and I was able to hire some family members and train them the way I wanted them to work. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Head Trauma Chapter Three (final)


Happy Ending
 
 
To read Chapter one and Chapter two click below:
 
Chapter 3

Cindy and I had been in love since I can remember. It was what used to be called puppy love at first and then grew as we grew.

The problem was, she was dictated to by her father and I always deferred to my mother.  Her father wanted her to marry the son of a perspective business partner and my mother wanted me to marry the daughter of a sorority sister for society purposes.

I hated the daughter of the sorority sister but again deferred to my mother as far as to go to the ante-room where the groom waited for the wedding to begin and then I rebelled and said; no.

I left the church but her brothers and cousin found me and threaten me with violence if I didn’t go through with the wedding. I still vehemently refused and that was when I ended up badly beaten in the box car. Cindy refused to marry her father’s choice and waited for me.

Well there you have our story up to where we went on our honeymoon.

Perhaps an added postscript here is in order. We now have three children and we shun most of the societal idiocy and have a few friends we enjoy.

We were threatened with being disinherited but realizing that our money was coming from our grandparents and they couldn’t do anything about it.

After the grandparents on both sides threaten to disinherit them if they pursued the path they were on - - that settled our parents down.

There was one final issue you might be interested in and that was the brothers and cousin of the sorority sister’s daughter, were found beaten quite severely by a bearded man using a bat who was never found. Each of them are impaired in some fashion for the rest of their life. 

I visit the pig farm every couple of years and have taken my kids with me once. Cindy refuses to go after the first time she went.

The last time I went, I was alone and Mary flashed her naked form to remind me of what I (thankfully) had missed.

I haven’t been back since and have no plans to return.

The end

Sunday, January 17, 2016

HEAD TRAUMA CHAPTER TWO


They Told Me to Slop the Hogs


To read Chapter ONE - - Click HERE

Chapter two

I wandered out to the large veranda of what had once been a plantation house. It had been an upscale home for some very rich people, but was now in total disrepair. I asked the man how they managed to live in such a large home and he said no one was living here so we moved in. The owners now live in the north and never come down here anymore.

He told me that I was getting my strength back and tomorrow I was to either leave or start helping with the hogs. Since I had no place to go I decided to try the hogs for a while at least.

They woke me up early the next morning and I was called to the table to eat. The food was good once again and when finished the old woman told the man and Mary (I had learned her name) the young woman to get on with the chores and we would join them shortly.

She looked at me with a very stern look and said; “Now you look a here boy you see that gal”?

I meekly said, “I see her.”

She said; “Now don’t get no ideas about her, you hear?   She ain’t been messed with yet and she ain’t gonna be until she been wed, do you understand.”

I said, “I understand you completely and will obey you to the letter.”

She said “Well alright I guess you got it now, so get on out there and start slopping them hogs. I did as I was told, and after a day or two I could match their hog slopping skills to a T.  It was a twice a day job with a lot to do in between.

They had a large garden and twice a week they sold vegetables and eggs in town. I stayed at home for the most part and watched over the place. I was given a shot gun and told to shoot over the heads of any boys who tried to steal the watermelons or cantaloupes. For some reason the shotgun felt right at home in my hands.

This went on throughout the summer and the younger woman would make sure on occasion I could see her bounty. This became more and more prevalent when the folks were otherwise occupied. I now had full knowledge of her every curve and crevice on her body, because she had seen to that.

I overheard Mary telling her ma she was ready for a man and I would do fine. This was making me more and more uncomfortable so I began to insist that I go to town on sale days.

No longer was I the clean shaven man I used to be. With long hair and a straggled beard I was definitely incognito.

Another thing that was going on with me was little snippets of my memory was coming back.  I couldn’t put it all together and that was even more troublesome.

I remembered part of my name was Charles Evan… something. There was a large fine estate with highly sophisticated people all around.

There were two faces that kept coming up. One which brought a strong state of irritation with it and the other brought a feeling of pleasure.

Then I had the vision where I was attacked by three men who did great damage to me - - - then I saw the whole picture and what led up to the event I was seeing.

The blanks were filling in fast and my memory was all but back.

It was sale day and I was with the old man and we were a short distance from town when the truck overheated and we had to stop. I found that I knew what was wrong with the truck so I must have had some training in that area.  It had to be a stuck thermostat. This was an easy fix. All it took was the removal of the radiator hose and replacing the thermostat.

There was a gas station in view so it was shanks mare down to it.  I told the old man I would go get what we needed to fix it and be right back. I got the thermostat and put everything together then drove to the station to fill the radiator with water.

While we were there a new convertible pulled into the station to have the gas tank filled up.

I went over and put the gas nozzle in the gas tank and waited till it was filled. The station man came out and thanked me and told the woman how much she owed.

She had been looking at me in her mirror while I was filling the tank and when I walked up to her door she got out and stared at me. I took her and pulled her to me and kissed her through my full beard.

She shouted “Charles Evan Riley!”

I answered; “Cindy Ann Mayberry, did you recognize me?”  She said not completely but I recognized that tongue when you kissed me.

I said, ‘How?”

She said, “You have been tonguing me since the fifth grade and I could pick it out from any other.”

Then she said; “Ewe, you smell terrible. PU doesn’t begin to tell how bad you smell.”

I said, “I know do you have any money?”

She said, “Sure and my check book.”

I got some money from Cindy and paid the station man and told the old pig man I had to leave but would come back and explain someday.

I told Cindy to take me to a bath house in town and go and buy me some decent clothes.

It took two bathes and a lot of scrubbing with strong soap to rid the smell of the hogs from me.

After I was dressed I went to the barber and rid myself of the beard and long hair.

Cindy said, “The clothes weren’t what I was used to,” but it was the best she could find in this town.

She had been so close to me she knew all my sizes for she had bought me everything I wore at one time or the other.

I told her there was one thing more I wanted to do and she said, “Okay let’s do it.”

I stopped in front of the justice of the peace and said; “Well what do you think?”

I Do
She was already out of the car before I was finished. She said, “Let’s do it before that mother of yours gets a hold on you again.”

Ten minutes later we were man and wife.

I said, “Let’s get this over with,” and we went to her father’s place.

When we came through the door, her mother was shocked to see me and feigned fainting as she does sometimes but straighten up when Cindy said; “Knock it off mother.”

Cindy said “Charles and I are married and are going on our honeymoon shortly, as soon as we tell his folks. He will explain everything after we return.”

Her mother was on the phone calling her husband as we left. When we arrived at my house - - no one was home so we left a letter explaining what we had done.
TO BE CONTINUED

Sunday, January 10, 2016

HEAD TRAUMA Chapter one

 
Robert's Continued story "Head Trauma," begins here and the next chapters will follow.
 
Just Doing My Job


Chapter one
As I was beginning to wake up I realized I was being dragged out of what I recognized to be a box car. I landed on the dirt and cinders with a thud jarring my insides. One of the two men who pulled me out, gave me a kick in the side while the other one said; “take it easy, he has been bleeding out pretty good.”

He went on saying; the blood has stopped but we don’t want it to start it up again. The one who kicked me said, “Let’s just get him out of the yard and leave him there.” The other one said; “Yeah our job is to keep these bums out of the rail yard not to worry what happens to them after that.”
Out Cold
I was dragged for about a half a block and dropped again with a thud and got another unfriendly kick. I found it hard to get my breath my ribs were hurting so bad. I lay there for what seemed to be a long time and finally began moving slowly and struggled to my feet.

I stumbled along the tracks outside the train yard till I collapsed again and lay there until someone poked me and I heard her say; “He’s still alive.”

The other woman who was with her said; “Let’s take him home and if he gets well he can help with the hogs.”

My next remembrance is an awful smell, one worse than the rugby team that flashed through my mind. Beyond the flash of a rugby team I could remember nothing. The truck I was in stopped at a place where the smell intensified several times over. 

They helped me into the house and laid me on a bunk bed. I could see now and the older of the two women said, “He done messed his-self so let’s clean him up.” The next thing I remember was two women cutting my clothes off and then they had me in a wash tub soaking the blood from my face and washing me all over.

As they helped me from the tub and rubbed me down, I suddenly had a chill.

There was one thing I knew and that was; if I could have resisted these two women they would never have done what they just did to me.

Here I was standing naked in front of two women who smelled, like stunk and they were drying off my private parts and commenting on them, favorably I might add.

They put me back into the bunk with some comforting warm covers over me and I went to sleep and slept a day and a half.

When I awoke I remembered how gentle they had treated me from washing me to treating my head wound.  
 
I recognized the younger woman’s voice saying; “He gonna be alright? Is he in his right mind now ma?”

The older one said, “I believe so but we gotta wait and see.”

Now, there was a man who had joined the women and he turned out to be the husband of the older of the two women. For some reason I was hoping he was married to the younger one.
 
Then I realized I had some overalls on and a plaid shirt. That made me uninhibited enough to try to get up and walk.  Unsteady at first; then I found I could maneuver rather well after a few steps.

They directed me to the outhouse where I relieved myself and found some reading material which came in handy. When back in the house again I was told to wash up in the sink and come to the table for breakfast. After eating what turned out to be a very tasty meal, the older woman bandaged my head again. She had pulled the skin together and put some stitches in the wound.

Oh, let me add that was after they had plied me with some strong homemade whiskey. Without that I could never have withstood that dull needle and course thread.
To Be Continued

Monday, January 4, 2016

LIFE WITH THE SIX GUN (Fiction)


LIFE WITH THE SIX GUN  (Fiction and all here)

I begin a new Series of Continued Stories.
Sign up to follow by E-mail so as to NOT miss each chapter.
 

My mother objected with my playing with a six gun at an early age. I couldn’t pull the trigger early on but would put the barrel in my mouth to chew on while my early teething was occurring.  She named me Louis but always called me Little Lou.

My father had a lot of guns around the house for he was the sheriff and he kept the guns he took off drunken cowboys.  There was a gambler he caught cheating who had a derringer that he brought home, and when I saw it I claimed it for my own.

So from the time I was three I had as my most prized possession, “my derringer.”

I couldn’t wait until I was old enough to take it out and fire it. My pa once caught me putting bullets in it and tanned my hide as well as jarring the earth with that big voice of his. I feared his pronouncements far more than his giving me the strap.

He never took the bullets away from me he just put them on the mantel where they could still be seen. Even with them within my reach I never touched them until one day much later he took me shooting.

He had bought me a small caliber six gun which cause me to lose much of my interest in the derringer. He loaded it (the derringer) and let me see what it was like to shoot it but I wanted a real gun you carried on your hip and not something you hid away.

Pa said I would be far better off learning to fish than shooting a gun but even after that he spent more time teaching me to shoot than taking me fishing.

Most of my early training was spent on learning how not to shoot myself or something else, like our dog or a pig.

Don’t shoot around the house or barn and also nowhere you can’t see where the bullet might go. By following Pa’s early training by the age of twelve I never either wounded or killed anything I didn’t intend to.  (The thing that happened at the jail didn’t count). Perhaps I should explain that cause it wasn’t really my fault.  

I liked to spend time at the jail where I would look at the wanted posters and pin a deputy badge on my shirt.  My ma would swat me for making holes in my shirt but since she didn’t whup me like pa it was worth the doing of it.

But anyway I was about six years old and alone in the jail with only one prisoner in the cells.  This supposedly bad man was saying some bad things to me while I was playing as I always did. I just ignored most of his talk until he said some nasty things about my ma.

I told him to take it back but he just said some worst things. I knew he wouldn’t have said them if my pa was there for Pa would have fixed him where he couldn’t talk. I would have left, cept Pa said not to stir from the jail till he returned.

I had my derringer with me and I told the bad man to shut up and I wasn’t going to tell him again to which he lit in once more with his filthy talk about my ma.

Things aren’t too clear about what happened next for I was madder than I had ever been.

I went to where the prisoner was and pulled out my gun and shot him through the ear while grazing his cheek. He started cursing me and I parted his hair with the second bullet.
 
While I was reloading he suddenly shut up and when I took aim at his knee cap he began begging me not to shoot him again. He crawled under the bed in the cell and continued to beg. I told him to say some more nasty stuff about my ma as I aimed at his side.

My pa had come in and heard me goading the bad man telling him to continue to speak against my ma.  Pa took my gun away from me and the man come out from under the bed and started cursing me.

My pa opened the cell and checked the man over and punched him in the mouth. When the man came to Pa said, “Now tell me what you said about my wife?”

The man was shaking and wet himself. He was begging before but now he was pleading for his life.  Pa gave him a very hard kick in his rear and told him to leave town and never come back. Oh yes he smashed the man’s gun hand and said this will keep him from getting his nerve back in case he finds a bottle.

After this disturbance was over my pa just stared at me for some time. Since he didn’t say anything I’m not sure what he was thinking but I think he was evaluating what had happened and what I had done and what action he should take concerning me.

Finally he said it’s time for your supper so you better head home and leave that badge here. I never thought much about what I had done for it was done in anger but I determined that no one could talk about my ma the way he did without suffering some consequences.

Our town wasn’t as rowdy as Dodge City or Coffeyville or some of the other towns but my pa had to settle a fight now and then.  He taught me there were a few things to watch out for.  Most of them were associated with the saloon.

He said stay away from the saloon and you will avoid most of the problems of life. Later I come to understand he was right on that one.  He said gambling, drinking, wild women, and harboring old grudges are the source of most of the beatings and killing in most towns.

He said half of the time some innocent person catches the brunt of the altercations.  Since we were not a rail head we didn’t have the influx of trail herds coming to our town but once a month cowboys get paid and come to town to blow off steam.  On those times my pa had a couple of part time deputies available. The worst that usually happens is a fight between two or more drunks where the bartenders breaks it up with a club he keeps behind the bar.

It has happened where the damages cost the cow hands to lose three months’ wages to pay for the damages they caused.  No rancher wants to hear that his hands have made a fool of themselves.

Like most cow towns we had the saloon gals but most card sharks didn’t last but a day or two at most.  My pa couldn’t stand cheats of any sort and sent them on their way after teaching them a couple of lessons on honesty. The lessons usually consisted of several days of hard labor with the proceeds going to the injured party.

During planting and harvest times pa was especially alert for any infractions of the law.

I heard him say one time; “cheats serve some good purpose.” That was when the harvest season was over and the prisoners were released. I thought the saloon gals were pretty but as I grew up I realized it was the makeup that caused them to stand out.

That and the fact most of the country women didn’t use anything but a little face powder and not very often did they do that.

I was around twelve when I became aware of how ugly some of them were. The saloon owners would get a fresh crop of them in every so often.  Being the sheriff’s kid they all soon knew who I was and teased me unmercifully. They would say things like; come on up to my room, I’m so lonely or it’s time for you to become a man.

It embarrassed me something awful for I knew what they were hinting at. They kept it up till I had enough. I went into the saloon and told the one that had been ragging on me the most and said, “I am ready let’s go.”

The whole saloon became quiet. No one was making a sound till the bar man said. “Alright kid get out of here now.”

The gal was ashen white for they all knew what my pa would do to them if it went any further. He would have run every one of the out of town and smashed the saloon to pieces.  That was the last teasing I received from the saloon bunch. Once in a while I would see one of them on the street and they would say; hello Mr. Louie and give a smile as they passed.

Pa told the town council he was going to quit unless they hired a full time deputy. He wanted to be at home more than he had been. I think he wanted to spend more time with my ma. She was a little over thirty and he was under forty so they were still pretty lively.

Every so often they would tell me to go over and visit a girl near us named Marsha. I would stay for an hour and then leave. I visited Marsha quite a bit over the years.  Her folks didn’t seem to mind but whispered to themselves and grinned a lot for some reason.  Marsha was a pleasant young girl and we talked about a lot of things when together. As we grew up our conversation became more grown up and we talked about stuff that boys usually talked about. As it turned out she was my best friend for we were comfortable with one another.

When we were almost finished with high school there were a number of other boys visiting her and I must admit I didn’t like it. I knew I was destined for college and there wasn’t anything I could do about taking the next step in our friendship. I wanted to forget about college but my ma wasn’t having any part of that.

I usually held hands with Marsha but hadn’t really tell her of my deeper feelings for her.  Finally it came to the place where I couldn’t hold back any longer but whereas we had always been able to talk about anything I couldn’t get the words to come out.

I managed to get started and I told her I loved her. I almost choked as the words came out. After I got my breath I said I wanted to marry her but my future education was a hurdle to get over.

She wasn’t making it any easier for she just stared at me. “Well say something,” I almost shouted. She said, “You know you are like a brother and you haven’t kissed me or anything.”

I said, “That can change in a second.”

She still looked at me so I took her and kissed her more times than I could count. She really looked shocked at that show of emotion.

She laughed and said, “You are beginning to seem less like a brother all the time maybe you should work on it some more.”

After that afternoon I was a different man. Those repressed feeling once let loose changed our world.

We went to my house just as my pa came home and we told Ma and Pa we wanted to marry as soon as we graduated.

They weren’t as shocked as we thought they would be.

Pa said, “What about school?”

I said, “Nothing has changed about that I will go and get my degree.”

I said, “Marsha will live here and I will come home when I can for the school isn’t far from here. Marsha will work in her folks store and I will get me a job near the college.”

Ma said, “What if she gets in, you know the family way?”

I said, “You will have a grandchild to love and help care for.”

Ma smiled and said, “Well that will be alright.”

We got a bigger response out of her folks when we told them of our plans. Her father teased me saying; “I thought we were going to get rid of you when you went to college.”

We were married as soon as we finished High school and in my second year at college we had our first child. We moved to the big city upon my graduation and I got a good position where I could support my growing family. It was growing by number and by age.

We go and see the folks as often as we can. My pa will soon retire from being sheriff and my ma will be glad of that. She was afraid he would get shot by some drunk but she under estimated how smart he was.

My story isn’t what you might call exciting. Some of the stuff I left out would have juiced it up a bit but I’m glad it was the way it was for who needs all the disappointment and struggles of people with exciting stories to tell.

Finis
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