More Than Junk


I awakened early this morning to the sound of rolling thunder and the thud of heavy rain falling on the roof. The closed shutters in the room diminished any possibility of my enjoying flashes of lightening, but the sound was a very welcoming sound. At first I thought I was dreaming. In my dream I was either listening to the sound track of “One Stormy Night” by the Mystic Moods Orchestra or better yet, enjoying the sound of Mother Nature creating the music from scratch as no one else has the capacity. It was music for my soul.


Just yesterday the General had commented as we drove across the low water crossing near our home that it would take a really heavy rain to wash away the sand from the water crossing. They say: “Nothing is dustier than a country road in a dry spell”. Actually, I’ve even said it myself, but it isn’t quite accurate. I grew up in West Texas and I remember the dust bowl from the 1950s. It was dustier than our road. It was so dusty that you could taste the dust in your mouth when you walked outside. For that matter, I can almost sense the chocking smell and the taste of those days gone by as I write these words. It was really bad. Perhaps that is where the expression, “God forsaken wasteland” comes from?


But that was a long time ago. By today’s standards and my current frame of reference, “Nothing is dustier than a country road in a dry spell”. The driveway from the gate to our home is covered in crushed granite, but it doesn’t serve as a protective barrier to keep your car from getting covered with dust as you make you way up the drive.


Fortunately, the quick drive doesn’t include the smell or taste of dust that I remember from the dust bowl in the 50s, but one trip from the gate up to our house can ruin the look of a fresh car wash.


We made an unplanned trip to Craig’s home yesterday afternoon. It was probably an overreaction on my part, but it seemed like a great way to eliminate stress. Saturday evening the General’s brother and sister-in-law came over in their truck. They had spent the week in Odessa providing support for my mother-in-law. In addition, they attempted to de-clutter her garage. Seriously, for well over the half century that I can remember their home, I don’t recall that there has ever been a vehicle in their garage. I’m almost remembering it initially being a detached garage that they subsequently attached with a room. Has it ever held a vehicle? I don’t know.


Reportedly Treva’s brother was bringing some things over for us to take to Craig. Okay, so it was a thoughtful and kind gesture on his part. That part was true, but he was really bringing stuff (I’ll call it stuff) over because his mother told him too. Initially, when they drove up in their truck I had visions of Jed Clampett and the Beverly Hillbillies. The truck was loaded with large metal boxes made out of sheet metal and held in place by neon straps that were a bright yellow-green color. The neurons and synaptic connections in my brain sent a resounding message of: “No! No! No! – Not No but ‘Absolutely Not!’. You are not leaving that stuff at our house!”


Honestly, sometimes a man has to stake his ground and take a stand. I don’t care whose idea this was. Okay, so it was an overreaction on my part. I don’t always get it right. After all, feelings aren’t right or wrong, they just are insight into what you’re feeling. This was not feeling good to me. In addition, it was clear from her body language that the General wasn’t going to put up with any of my nonsense. When she raises one eyebrow brow, I know I’m in trouble. Okay, so she had given me the look. It was time for me to back off and play nice. But I had a personal stake in this. It was MY truck they wanted to put the stuff in whatever it was.


Fortunately, the large metal boxes were not for Craig. His stuff was located elsewhere in the truck, but what was it? Treva’s sister-in-law said: “Don, this stuff is really heavy. You probably want us to go ahead and put it in the back of your truck so you don’t have to move it twice. Almost by the time I got the tailgate opened and the top covered folded back, she was tossing mangled lead pipes into the back of my truck. “No No No”, I cried. We are not doing that! Let me get a box.” It was like the Clampett family had just shown up in our drive way and they were tossing junk in the back of my truck.


Okay, so I’m a little OCD when it comes to my truck, but I’m not hauling junk. I don’t care whom the junk is for or what purpose it serves. Why did Craig need this mess of mangled lead pipes anyway?   Okay, so I over reacted!!! The way I see it, all of my buttons were being pushed. I wasn’t even mad at the General’s brother. That’s like shooting the messenger. He was just doing what he’d been told to do. I wasn’t really mad at the General’s mother, but I did give it some thought. I even found myself being a little irritated at the Generals dad for having hauled that mess of mangled lead pipes home. That didn’t work either. He has been on the other side of eternity for over a decade and a half. In addition, he was one of the kindest people I’ve ever known. I couldn’t be mad at him. That didn’t make any sense.


The mangled lead pipes were only the beginning of stuff for the back of my truck. It was all reloading equipment and empty bullet casings. It was all about hunting and reloading ammunition and doing-it-yourself. Craig would be elated. Why he needed anymore of this loading stuff, I don’t know.


Okay, so Saturday morning I had taken one of my grandfather clocks to a clock repair person on the other side of Bastrop. Reportedly, the clock would be ready for pickup by next weekend. “Hello Houston we’ve got a problem”. I couldn’t pick my clock up to bring it home with all of that “stuff” (mangled lead pipes included) in the back of my truck. Consequently, we hauled it all to Craig yesterday.


Before we made it to Cat Spring, Craig texted to ask if we had run into the rain yet? It was raining heavily at their house. The thought of rain put a smile on my face. Of course, the smile was bigger this morning when I realized the rain was on our dusty driveway and our landscape. That’s not a bad way to begin one’s day. Life is good and at times I can be a jerk.  Saturday evening my sister-in-law said out of nowhere, “Don, I start reading you blog almost everyday, but I seldom read it to the end.”  How’s that for encouragement? Well, if she reads this one through, this message if for her: “I truly reget my misbehavior on Saturday.  Forgive me please.”


All My Best!




4 thoughts on “More Than Junk”

  1. Google Map says we live 101.7 miles from one another, a fair distance, and Mary and I passed most of the night listening to the rumble of thunder, the sound of rain on the roof and saw the almost constant flash of light from lightening.
    Texas is getting a good general rain and that is indeed good.Looked to me as though Treva’s mom was getting some of it also.
    I bet I know who made those galvanized metal boxes. In the 9th grade I took a General Shop class. Half of the semester was wood shop and the other half metal shop. In metal shop we made a cold chisel that took several weeks to make. We made it by hand, shaping it with a file. The other project was a galvanized sheet metal tool box.
    The day before we were to start on the tool box, we took a field trip to Topper Sheet Metal.
    Mr. Topper introduced himself to the class and then said, ” Hello, Wayne”.
    He then told everyone he had known me a long time and we went to church together. Then he told me to come up and help him.
    Made my day.
    He talked to us about his work and showed us jobs he was working on in the shop,air conditioning duct work that would go into homes and businesses.
    Then he showed us the finished tool box we were going to make in shop class, set it aside and started cutting and bending sheet metal and explained everything he was doing and why. In less than half an hour he made what would take us several weeks.
    Mr. Topper was a kind, gentle Godly gentleman and very skilled master craftsman.
    Like you, my Mama and Daddy crossed the threshold of Heaven some years ago, but
    when I go home to the house I grew up in, I can go into the garage, go to the work bench, put my hand on a metal lever , pull it down and the years fade away. Daddy and me are loadin’ shotgun shells again to replace the ones we used up that day on dove or quail. Gettin’ ready for tomorrow.
    I think grandmother sent Craig a pickup load of memories.
    Glad he has them, the loader and a Godly grandmother to think of him
    Glad y’all got the rain too,hope it is not over.
    God Bless you Treva and rest of family,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wayne – You are such a dear friend! Thanks for sharing your memory and for providing an update on all for which we should be grateful. Craig spent his childhood reloading shells with Mr. Topper. Craig’s kids have spent a good bit of theirs loading shells with their dad.

      God Bless you and Mary. We’ve had the good fortune of being friends forever.


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