Curmudgeon Central

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Location: Grand Junction, Colorado, United States

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Life is a box

For quite some time now my daughters and wife (A Chelsea Morning) have poked fun at my woodworking projects. They get a hoot by laughing at my Boxes. And now their influence is spilling over onto my son-in-law and future son-in-law. Granted they neither one would laugh right out loud but I see their looks.
I'm here to explain, not justify or excuse my projects, just explain where , why or even how this came about. No it's not a guy thing ! It is in my genes.
Growing up I was just like most of the other little kids around. Absolutely adored their grand father. I lived for the day he would look at me and smile that small little up turning of the mouth corners. Looking back I see where we were not rich. We weren't poor, but money was hard to come by. When things broke, we fixed them. If we couldn't fix 'em we didn't run out to the hardware store for another...we built another. If a new widget was needed around the farm or house we made it. Probably couldn't buy exactly what we needed anyway. My grand father was a carpenter. The house they lived in, the house I was born in, was designed and built entirely by my grandfather. In grandma's kitchen he built in bins that folded out and held flour, sugar, salt. The first "lazy Susan" I ever saw was built by grandpa in grandma's kitchen. My grand parents house had more storage built in than any modern cracker box. There was not a single wasted inch. He had an amazing collection of little boxes that held nails, screws, planes and all sorts of little things any good carpenter would consider essential. He built boxes with drawers. Boxes with cubby holes. He even built himself a shoe shine box that held all of the polish, rags and brushes and a place to lock the shoe in place while he shined it. If the family needed it or even thought they needed it...he built it.
If I need someplace to keep papers, nails, staples or tape measures...I build it. I build it for that one particular need. Nothing else. If I need something else I build it. Function specific!
So now you all can see that I come by it naturally. I was born to it.
Also, when I am out in my garage/workshop cutting, gluing, sanding on a box my mind clears and I am concentrating solely on my little box. All the other thoughts and worries go away for a little while and I relax and "chill out"

Plus I get a cool new box.

P.s. I have a birthday coming up. I need some more wood

Sunday, February 18, 2007

Wild and Crazy Ride

I was a teenager living in Arizona. I loved the outdoors. Loved to hunt and fish. Usually I did these things alone. Seems like I have always been somewhat of a loner. A personality fault or personal preference one or the other. I had my share of friends. "High School buddies". We all have had them. Some endure and become lifelong friends while others are gone at graduation. Howard was a High School Buddy. One weekend one summer Howard and I decided to go hunting. We packed up our "desert car" with enough food and drink to last a month even though we were only going for the weekend. We had our trusty hunting rifles and plenty of ammunition. We were ready.
We arrived at our chosen camp site just a couple of miles above the Pima indian reservation, set up camp and started out on our hunt. We didn't care what we were hunting. We were HUNTING and that was what mattered. I shot and killed 4 empty tin cans (Maneaters every one) and Howard killed 2 "No Hunting" signs. We were exhausted. We went back to camp to eat and call it a day.
There is a rule among hunters. No loaded weapons in camp. No exeptions. So I unloaded my rifle and stretched out on my sleeping bag to rest up. Howard was unloading his rifle when it went off. It felt like he had hauled off and kicked me. The look on his face was of sheer disbelief.
We decided that I maybe should see a doctor. It took us about 15 seconds to break camp and load up the desert car and bug out.
Let me back up and talk a little about the "Desert Car". She was a 1948 Oldsmobile convertible. Howard and I paid $50 for her and spent numerous weekends getting her running. She didn't have any fabric in her top but we didn't care. We were in Arizona after all. At one time she had been owned by a para palegic who had fitted her with hand controls for gas pedal and brakes. It was a real kick to sit up on the backs of the seats and drive around using just the hand controls. Oh, and she didn't have headlights either.
Anyway, back to the desert.
When we had everything loaded up in the desert car we took off. If we stayed on the roads and went around the indian reservation it would have taken an hour or more to get to civilization so Howard decided to cut across the desert, through the reservation and into town the back way.
Two problems. One, there were no roads. and Two, we didn't have any headlights and it was dark. To me these were problems. To big deal. Off we went clattering and banging through the night. Howard sitting up on the back of the drivers seat, throttle wide open, steering with one hand and holding a flashlight in the other. I was laying in the back seat wearing a 16 year old's version of a tourniquet around my thigh and praying that I wouldn't die in a car wreck. Everything was going pretty good until we became airborn and landed in a dry creek bed. I ended up in the front seat, Howard landed about 10 feet in front of the car, still holding the flash light. We were totally stuck. Howard decided to run to the indian police station and get some help so off he went. I was left with the car. I was surprised at how dark it gets in the desert at night and how clearly I could hear the coyotes yowling. I knew they could smell my blood and that any minute they would attack. But not without a fight. I hobbled around to the back of the wrecked desert car, retrieved my trusty rifle and stood guard, hunkered down in the back seat. That was how Howard and the indian policeman found me 2 hours later. Asleep on guard duty.
The trip from the creek bed to the city limits was fairly uneventful. The Scottsdale PD and an ambulance were waiting at the city limits and I was taken to the hospital. The docs at the hospital decided it would be better to leave the bullet alone than to try to dig it out. So that is why, to this day, I have a bullet in my leg.