Damn, I can't sleep. I've fallen asleep for 20 or 30 minutes, but right back awake like I'd been asleep for 8 hours. Weird. I used to get insomnia on a regular basis when I was in my early 20's. Went about 6 weeks on 3 hrs sleep a night. Makes for a weird experiences believe me. Four to six hours used to do me pretty well, but I need more than that now. I think it's because I slept probably 18 total hours the day before when I was sick. Sadly, I don't feel too whippy right now, but that's because I can't sleep. What a vicious circle.
So, what shall I talk about since I can't sleep? History? Sure, why not.
I was born in Russell Kansas October 26 1960. That was back in the day when they kept mom and baby for 5 days in the hospital. Ma said it snowed that Halloween when they brought me home. My earliest memory, I suppose, is standing in the living room watching the TV and seeing Pres Kennedy get shot. I was just 3, and not much past that. But I remember my mom coming in and not believing what was going on. Strange how you'll remember that kind of stuff. It was a big 2 story house that set in the middle of town. At the time, there was only one other house on that entire city block, and they moved it across town. Basically I had and entire city block for a yard. Pretty cool stuff for a little feller.
I did get in trouble for crawling down into the old foundation of the house they moved and coming out with a flattened kitty as a door prize. I also remember getting scrubbed nearly raw. Mothers are so picky. Notable things that happened. I got shot with a BB gun above my left eye. The kid that shot me squeezed it out like a zit. He was afraid his dad would beat him senseless, and I think he would, so we hitched up a story about me falling out of the tree. Ma and Pa didn't buy it, but squared it so the kid didn't get beaten blind. I broke an arm in first grade. Simple fracture. The Doc set it in his office without anesthetic. It only hurt for a couple of seconds, but I threw up all over him while he was casting me up.
Broke the other arm in second grade. Compound fracture. Did an overnight in the hospital. At the time you could buy school health insurance for a $1 a year. Covered anything that happened on school premises. Pretty nifty. We bought that until you couldn't anymore.
I went to school in a 3 room school house. Grades 1,2, and 3 in one room. 4 and 5 in another, and 6 graders got their own room. 7 to 12 went to the High School. I think, in some respects that was a good thing. While we were learning one thing, the other kids were on something else, and by osmosis I think you pick that up. I know that when I went to 5th grade at a bigger school, I could read far better than the other kids in my class. Between fourth and fifth grade we moved out to a farm. A full section with a limestone house and barn. One stone had the date 1868 carved into it. The walls were 18 or so inches thick. Cool old house. We had 2 acres of yard and surrounding area that I mowed with a 20" wide mower. Pop taught me how to start it, took me 3 days to mow it all. Wait 3 days, then start over again, because it was wet that summer. I watched a horse and 40 head of registered Angus cattle for $3 a month. Learned to ride. Didn't have to rope, but the horse and I moved cattle from pasture to wheat, to pasture and back to wheat that summer. The summer was wet, but by September it'd stopped raining and the ponds were drying up. It snowed. A lot. The cattle couldn't get water, so I saddled the horse and moved them off the wheat into the pasture, and chopped a hole in the ice. Got extra sick after that, and the rancher still lost 6 calves to the cold.
Moved to Great Bend Ks in time for 6th grade to start. Right along the Arkansas river. It flowed all the time then. I enjoyed school there. Wrestled, played basketball, ran track. We were on the not so wealthy side of town. Made some good friends there though. A bunch of us ran the heck out of the river, played like mad men for certain. Tough, man a couple of those guys were tough. One of em ran 4 older kids out of seats at a movie my mom paid for us to go see. Cracked on the head told them to move, because he'd told them the seats were saved. They didn't even blink. Just got up and left.
Got the livin piss beaten out of me there too. A 16 year old 7th grader, with the help of 2 kids my age, just tuned my ass up big time. I ran home bawling. Dad thought it was just one of the little punk assed kids from up the street, and told me to quit cryin or go finish it. I bailed back into the 16 year old. Got some good licks in before the 2 ass weeds with them ganged in. 2 ass whippins in one day, from the same guy. My old man never forgave himself for sending me out there I don't think. At any rate, one of the river buddies older USMC brother tuned that kid and his older brother up a few months later.
Moved from Great Bend to Liberal in time to miss 8 weeks of school there. I already discussed that in another blog. Liberal was a good place to live at the time. I wrestled one year, tore the piss out of a shoulder and hung up the wrestling shoes for good. I decided to work and play instead of organized sports at school. The work certainly wasn't at school, nooooo. If I cracked open 2 books in 5 years of school I'm sure it was a mistake. I didn't know how to study because I didn't have to study, not to get by in HS. That's both a good and bad thing. I didn't know how to study when I went off to college. And you really need to know how to study if that's what you want to do.
Nope, I worked. Mowed lawns to start. Worked at the mobile home park we lived in until July 1, 1975. Dad had a hand twist off in the middle of a work over. At 0430 my bed room light comes on and dad threw me a pair of gloves and said "Hang these on your shit hooks, we have work to do". First day in the oil field. Finished that work over. Then the rest of the summer we did a minimum of 2 pump changes a day up to 4 a day, depending on depth and distance between. My ass dragged all summer long. Made enough that summer that I could have cruised through school without a job, but that didn't seem right. Got my learners permit and went to work cleaning the shop and helping with inventory at the International Harvester dealer. Worked at least 2 school vacations for dad, since hands would cut out during holidays. The IH dealer closed and I went to work for Yankee Clipper. Like Long John Silver's only I thought better. It gave me a healthy respect for people in food service. It's also the first job I told a boss and manager that someone needs to decide who makes the rules, because I wasn't going to get my ass chewed out twice trying to please both people, and quit. It's the only job I quit out of anger without anything to go to first.
Worked at OTASCO changing tires and delivering furniture and appliances. L Frank Osborn and I made a pretty decent team. Wendall Wilke, the manager was somethin else. He and the assistant manager Roy Arnold used to take me with them on repossessions. No fun that, believe me. It only got hairy once. Roy and I went to Hugoton to get a freezer, the guy bowed up, Roy stepped into a stance, I picked up a board. And that's as far as it went, thank gosh. Frank and I delivered stuff in two of the worst pick up trucks you've ever seen. POS has those trucks pictures under it in the Encyclopedia.
High lights is all this is. And there may be more farther down the road.
My buds and I did some crazy shit. But that's going to be up to them to tell those tales. I don't wanna come off as big headed! HA!
Although, even the highlights are part of what makes me who I am, and why I do what I do. It was never so bad that I couldn't find some bright spot somewhere. It's still that way. Funny shit happens everywhere, you just gotta look for it. Otherwise the dark side of things is all you'll find, and that's a piss poor place to put yourself.