Posts Tagged grandpa

My Not-So-Patient Ways

Yep, I’ve pulled some stunts, and many were due to my rebellious and not-so-patient ways. Hey, I already knew everything. Such was the case when my grandpa taught me to climb poles.

I was nineteen and working for the local cable TV company. The job was cool, except for that big heavy ladder. It only took a few days for me to know I needed to learn how to climb poles, so I wouldn’t have to pack that ladder back and forth to the truck

One afternoon, I told Bunk (my grandpa) I needed to learn how to climb poles. We got his hooks and belt and headed out to the light pole by the storage shed. Bunk explained the basics, and after a few tries, I had it all figured out. I’d go up a few feet, then jump back down. It was easy! Bunk tried to get me to go a little higher, but I saw no need. “I got, it, Bunk,” I assured him.

“Now, wait a minute,” he said. “I need to show you how to get dow…“ I waved him off, took the belt and hooks off then sauntered toward my car with them. I was a lineman, now.

The next morning, I drove to my first install, put on the hooks, and up that pole I went. Once I was up there, I snapped the safety belt around the pole, leaned back and surveyed my kingdom. Man, this was awesome! I was awesome!

WichitaLineman.tif

I did the install, then as I was putting my tools in the pouches on my belt a sudden realization hit me; I didn’t have the slightest idea how to get down. My mind raced back to all the things Bunk had said, and I recalled those last words, “I need to show you how to get dow…”. Oh, guff! He’d been trying to get me to slow down, so he could tell me how to get down.

I was only up about twenty feet—it looked like ninety, and I think I stayed there—frozen in place—for fifteen or twenty minutes. Then, resigned to the fact I was going to have to try and get down, I went for broke. I yanked my right hook out of the pole, my left knee bent allowing that hook to split out of its grip, and I was on my way to the ground. Then the belt caused me to slam into the pole, which at the time I thought was a good thing, and I wrapped my arms around the pole and hung on for dear life, which slowed my decent, but not much. I slid in jerky motions—fast, then slow, then fast again, to the ground. Did I mention there was a drainage ditch on the street side of the pole?

I hit the ground, tumbled sideways into said ditch, landing upside down with the belt twisted and holding me tight against the pole. My shirt was torn to shreds.

I stayed there for several minutes, hoping no one had seen me fall, then started wishing someone had seen me, and would come help me get out of the ditch. Finally, I managed to undo the safety strap, then slid to the bottom of the ditch. I finally got to my feet, knees shaking, and my face, chest and stomach literally on fire. I was scraped and scratched from my cheek to my waist and there must’ve been a hundred large, creosote splinters in me!

I got most of the splinters out, and somehow struggled through the rest of the day—I used the ladder—but by the time I got home, I was miserable. Bunk helped me get the rest of the splinters out, chuckling the entire time. I’m pretty sure he was laughing at me, not with me.

That weekend, we went out back again, and Bunk gave me a thorough lesson on how to climb poles. He also showed me how to get down after I’d gone up. I listened intently to every word he said.

 

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A Fathers Day Tribute

My grandfather, Luther “Bunk” Stringer, was a man whose life, in my opinion, was of historic note, and his story deserves to be told and remembered. He was by far the best man I ever knew and he was my hero. If I’m one day considered to be even half the man Bunk Stringer was, I, too, will have had one hell of a ride.

One Hell of a Ride

 

Come over here and sit for a spell

Lend an ear, I’ll give it a bend

I’ve been known to tell a tale or two

Of things that were, or might have been

 

With words I’ll paint a picture of days

When I was young and I was lean

Of days I sat tall in the saddle

Long ago when just a teen

 

I’ll tell of the time I met a girl

Who made me blush and act the fool

The most beautiful girl in Texas

Was no mistake they called her Jewel

 

I’ll tell you about the sunlit days

                              Out on the north Texas plains

Where I chased the steers that wandered

                                 ‘cross the hot mesquite filled range

 

I’ll tell of how I sat atop my mount

         On a hill as I pondered and dreamed

             Dreams of what lay beyond the hills

                   Far places I’d never been

 

I’ll tell you ‘bout some of those places

For a bit of traveling I have done

                                Oh, I wandered from ocean to ocean

                              In pursuit of that brighter sun

 

     But all roads lead me back here

                         Now I’ve lost the lust to roam

And so you find me here on this porch

       In Texas, my home sweet home

 

No, I don’t have much to show

                               For the eighty some years I’ve lived

For I lived hard and I loved hard

                            I gave this world all I had to give

 

But cry not when you look upon

             The few things I leave behind

My life was full of love and laughter

            And I had one hell of a ride

Copyright © 1996 C. Mashburn

 

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I Stood In the Doorway

I’ve written many stories and poems about my grandpa, “Bunk” Stringer (we called him Pa), and I’ll surely write many more. The following poem is based on a story I wrote about him several years ago. Read the rest of this entry »

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Rise and Shine!

Bathroom poetry? Surely you jest! But, no, that is exactly what Claudia has suggested we write about this afternoon. So I went to where I do my best thinking, and in no time at all I came up with this entertaining piece of work. Read the rest of this entry »

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Just One Rose

For the Poetics feature today at dVerse Poets Pub, Brian has requested poems about history. I love history, and I can think of many famous men worthy of a poem, but none had the impact on me that the one the following poem was written for. When my beloved grandpa passed on I was unable to attend the funeral, and so I sent a vase with one rose in it and this poem. One of the family framed the poem and set it beside the rose; both were next to him during the service. I hope you enjoy the poem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Just One Rose

I know I said it was all grade school Tuesday, but I’ve been waiting for a chance to put this one on Poetry Potluck, and just realized this is the perfect opportunity. One of the themes this week is “sorrow”, and this was written in one of my times of deepest sorrow. My beloved grandpa, had passed on, and unable to attend the funeral, I sent a vase with one rose in it and this poem. One of the family framed the poem and set it beside the rose; both were next to him during the service. I hope you enjoy the poem. Read the rest of this entry »

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Daily Encouragement

March 24

            For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. Psalm 91:11

            The concept of angels is awesome to me. To think God has invisible spirits surrounding me and watching over me is hard to comprehend. It does, however, provide another explanation for His omnipotence. It seems to be a way He can be everywhere at once.

            I wrote a poem in 1998 called, “Pennies From Heaven.” I wrote a short story by the same name, and both tell the story of how when we find a penny, it has been placed there by an angel to let us know they are thinking of us. I wrote the poem to honor my departed grandfather. It assumes when we depart this earth and these mortal bodies, we go to heaven where we become angels, and are thus able to look down upon and watch after our loved ones who are still on earth. I don’t have any idea if this is how it actually works, but I like the idea.

            Whether they are departed loved ones or not, God commands angels to watch over us, and it seems to me if we have faith in Him and believe He can do all things, this is no less true than anything else He has promised us.

            I look around the room I am in now, and I imagine angels there. All is quiet now; the morning is peaceful; their job is an easy one. But…. I imagine they are watching intently, warding off any and all things that might cause me harm. I suppose they can even shoo away bad thoughts that try to weasel into my mind as I write this encouragement to you. I like it—the thought of angels guarding me.

            God is so awesome!

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