Friday, June 1, 2007

TCC: The First Crumb, Part II

One of the things that I am reminded of is hearing my father saying that everyone would be a lot better-off if they could make a living out of doing something that they loved. For if they did not: they would not be of much value unto anyone, not even themselves.

Sound advise: be assured; and after the war was over: my father returned to something that he had been doing (off and on) since he was 15. Something that he dearly loved: being a pipeliner.

Now, being a pipeliner is (for those who do not already know) working on a natural gas, oil, or some other kind of pipeline between 2 points. It can involve new construction projects or maintenance of an existing pipeline; and my father mostly ran a bulldozer on the construction of new natural gas pipelines. Depending upon the size of the project: a job (which is what individual projects were commonly referred unto by those of this vocation) would last for a few weeks to several months; and it was not at all unusual to finish a job in North Carolina one week and start another job in Michigan the next.

Yes, my father was a rolling stone; and neither did much moss grow on the back of my mother after she became an orphan. For she was bounced from one relative to another. There was, afterall, a great depression going-on; and times were desperately tough all over. She did, however, manage to get a 6th-grade education at the school in Yellville, AR after her uncle's cotton around Stuttgart, AR was picked.

Sometime after she turned 14: my mother went to live with an unrelated couple who owned a cafe in either Lepanto or Marked Tree, AR. She learned a lot about a lot of things from them; and she really appreciated all that they did for her. Nonetheless: my mother had her share of "teenage moments"; and she would "borrow" the nice couple's car on occasion so that she and some friends could dance the night away in Memphis (Beale Street?).

After staying in northeastern Arkansas for awhile: my mother heard the voices just over the horizon calling her name again; and she wound up moving in with a lady (whom she came to think of as being her mother) in Texarkana, AR. It was there, while working as a car-hop in 1951, that she met a fun-loving pipeliner, who introduced himself as being "Buddy"; and after a whirlwind courtship: she left with him as his wife to start a new job in Ohio.

Oh yes, from the upper-peninsula of Michigan (with its garbage-can-raiding black bears) to the Atlantic coast of South Carolina (Myrtle Beach!!!), Connecticut (with its New England charm) to New Mexico (rattlesnakes, scorpions, and fire ants: OH MY!!!) the good times rolled. They (the good times) do have a tendency to come to an end, however; and the extreme reluctance of 3 of my father's sisters to truly accept my mother into their family put a definite strain on my parents relationship.

To remedy the situation: my parents decided to buy a nice little house just outside of the city limits of Miller, MO (a bustling metropolis of a few hundred good people and a couple of old sore-heads). For this fine community was half-way between Blue Mound, KS and the Buffalo River area of Arkansas. They also limited their exposure unto in-laws and outlaws to my father's mother (his father was deceased), and his sisters Ann and Maxine, during extended periods of downtime between jobs.

To the best of my knowledge and understanding: there was not any contact with my mother's family at the time, other than occasional visits with her unofficially adopted mother in Texarkana. Yes, happier days were there again; and it would generally stay that way until I burst upon the scene.

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