Friday, March 30, 2007

What a day yesterday was

3/30/07 Friday
What a day yesterday was. There is so much that happened after the end of yesterday’s post. Sorry to leave y’all hangin on that but by the time the day ended I was pretty much done and didn’t have it in me to finish. I suppose I could have but just wanted to go to bed.

I suppose I’ll start with today and then fill in the rest of yesterdays sudden turns. Right now it is raining pretty hard. There are lots of thunderstorms rolling across the prairie, some small and some not so small. This one will be short but the one east of here is a giant. There were lots of tornados last night but the were mostly to the north of us.

I just let Cherie know I took a pain pill. It’s important that I do that because of the short term memory loss. I can take a pill and five minutes later not remember and take another one. Repeat that process a few times and you got a problem. “Did I take my pills?” is not an uncommon question here. The pill organizer helps as I can look and see if I did or not. Still forget to take my medicine sometimes, often getting distracted as I go to take it. That doesn’t happen much as the seizure and blood pressure pills are part of my routine. Routines are an important part of compensating for short term memory loss.

With the pain it is different because I choose not to take the Hydrocodone every six hours as prescribed. Instead I take it when the pain level gets significant. I’ll decide it’s time to take one and on the way to do so will see something to do and that’s it. The thing about pain is it will always remind you so I’ll get back on track but be unsure if I have already taken the pill. So there’s a little snapshot of life with this common part of traumatic brain injuries.

The rain has ended so I think it’s time to write about yesterday. I took lots of pictures and they serve to bring up the memory attached to them so I’ll run a bunch of them with narration.

Cherie saw this folder among the old company records I opened up the other day. I heard her laugh hysterically and when I went into the office to see why she was holding this folder marked "Humor". "It's Empty. All the humor is gone" she said with great mirth. How well that exemplifies that period of my life.

Yesterday continued – I went into the garage to just sit down and process all of this. Just piddled with stuff as I imagined possible scenarios involving confronting the neighbors. I do that you know, imagine conversations with others where of course I always am clever, well usually. As I was doing that I heard a vehicle pull in. It was the older deputy sheriff. I don’t know if you’re supposed call him sheriff or deputy. “Sir” usually works good.

Anyway, I was surprised to see him this quick. He already knew who, what, when, and where. I think that would kick Dick Tracy’s ass. It seems our neighbors are Mennonites but not the real religious ones, the term unorthodox probably fits. Sheriff (He told me his name but of course that’s gone so I’ll just call him Sheriff for now) told me that the mom wears the long dresses and stuff traditional Mennonites are known for. The kids however apparently run a different course.

The kid who admitted shooting the well said he was just firing at some brush. That’s crap cause there is no brush at all. Sheriff said he had a SKS weapon. I’m not positive but I think that is a high end assault rifle, quite a toy. Apparently they are here on a work visa from Canada or Mexico, Sheriff wasn’t sure. Regardless they aren’t supposed to have guns. “So, are they going to pay for this?” I asked. “Ohhh, they’ll pay” Sheriff drawled seriously.

We rode back to the well where Leroy was still working. In fact he was just leaving so we met about halfway and all got out to talk. Leroy told him about the nest of rattlers we had to deal with the first time he worked on the well, so we all discussed snakes for a few minutes and then it was back to business. Leroy was able to get the pump exchanged on warranty. When the dealer took the pump apart he found that the shaft had actually snapped. This was probably from the pump turning on and off repeatedly but they had never seen or heard of this before so odds are there was a defect and this would have happened eventually anyway.

Sheriff asked Leroy for an invoice or something stating the damages. I just gave him my copy of the bill Leroy had prepared. $837.99 it was and it would have been $700.00 more if the pump hadn’t been exchangeable under warranty. With that Sheriff said he’d be seeing me later when he finished dealing with this. He said the younger deputy was doing the paper work and would handle things. And he was off.

Leroy and I talked for a bit along with his son who had helped in all this. Leroy is quite a guy, real friendly, which I’m not used to. It’s gotta be strange to be uncomfortable when someone you don’t really know being nice but I’m not used to it. Folks aren’t this open and trusting back in Toledo. He handed me another copy of the bill and asked for a check. “I can’t give you one right now, we don’t have any money. Can you wait till the sheriff can get a check from these guys?” I asked worriedly. Leroy didn’t have a problem with that at all. In fact he invited me over for coffee proclaiming he had the fastest coffee maker in Midland. “That sounds good” I said as I agreed to drop by. Leroy made sure I knew how to get there and took off, following his son who had left a few minutes earlier.

So I went back into the garage and sat down to think through all this stuff. Kind of organize it in my mind so I could be sure I knew what was going on. Hadn’t been sitting more than five minutes before I heard another vehicle pulling in. “Man, we have never had so much traffic before” I thought as I got up wondering who it was. It was Deputy and he had two others with him, one an older guy and a kid that looked twenty or so. He was the culprit.

Deputy (he also told me his name) brought them up and explained that they would pay for the damage but the kid needed to apologize first. The kid said it was getting dark so he didn’t know what he was shooting at. I knew that was bullshit because he had told Sheriff he was shooting at brush but at least he was admitting to doing this so I let it go.

I asked the older guy if he was the kids dad but he said he was his cousin. I asked if they lived at the house the shots had come from but they didn’t. That was another cousin. “When you see your cousin why don’t you tell him to come down and talk with me, get to know me. Things work better that way” I told the older guy. Deputy was nodding his head in agreement. I had a few choice words for the kid regarding his use of a firearm. “You shoot you make damn sure you know where that bullet is going. My wife and I live here and if I even think there is a stray bullet there will be hell to pay” I said looking him in the eye. “The gun’s gone now” the older guy said. “You got a job” I surprised the kid by asking. “Yeah, I work for my cousin” he said as he nervously indicated the older guy next to him. He evidently owns the junkyard here in Stanton. It’s always good to know the junkyard guy, at least for me.

I complimented the kid for taking responsibility for his actions telling him that doing so was part of being a “Man”. That changed the tone of everything. I think he appreciated that observation. It was universally agreed that this would never happen again so the older gentleman pulled out his check book to make things right. I asked for something to cover the electric bill that will be hiked up from the pump running nonstop till it killed itself. He made the check out for $900.00 after asking if that would work. That’s fine with me, I’m more interested in the long term instead of taking advantage of the situation because this where we intend to spend the rest of our lives.

I looked sternly at the kid and said “Fifteen hundred dollars in damage is felony level. If I wanted to be an ass you’d be in jail looking at prison time now.” Deputy said he had explained all that to him. I’m pretty sure they read the kid the riot act to impress him to behave. I just wanted to make sure the kid knew I was being nice. Sure I wanted to smack him upside the head but can’t do that. I’ve spent much of my life trying to help others straighten there lives out. I’d rather cause change for good. Like it says on the plaque I carved my creed on “Money and things can vanish in a flash. What has real, lasting value is the lives you touch”. With that they were on their way. Hope that’s the end of it.

With the check in hand the first thing I wanted to do was pay Leroy so I called him to let him know. We agreed that after I ran into town and deposited the check I would meet him at his house, set down, and enjoy a cup of coffee.

When I got there Leroy greeted me warmly and immediately started me on a tour of his world. Didn’t say a word about me paying the bill. Another thing I’m not used to. In my world we always took care of business first and then might be sociable. You know, get the money first. Much more laid back here, or at least with Leroy.

There is a lot in Leroy’s world. (That’s what I call a persons realm so to speak, their house, jobs, people they know, ect.) It had already been a quick moving day where I had a lot to mentally juggle but I had managed pretty good. Now however I was having a hard time keeping up. Leroy would show me something, explaining or telling a story about it and would move right on to the next thing. I was able to make comments and stuff so that I don’t think he could tell that I was having a hard time absorbing all the information. This I feel bad about as he had lots of good things to say and it would be nice if I could retain it.

He showed me his tractor, the race track he built on his land for the neighborhood kids and mostly for his grandkids of which he has a lot. They ride their ATV’s and dirt bikes on it. His wife raises Dachshunds and there was a crowd of the noisy suckers behind the fence. She also does lots of canning and makes jams and jellies. Their garden is impressive. He uses the drip feed type hoses to water his plants, which is the way I’d like to go whenever I can afford it. I learned a bit about growing out here in West Texas when I saw how he had put plastic pails with the bottoms cut out over his plants. This is to protect them from the wind. Out here when it blows the sand usually is raised only six inches or so where it can cut a young plant down. His tomato cages were wrapped with plastic for the same reason.

Leroy took me inside. That’s when I really got lost. The reason for that was his walls had hundreds of pictures on them. Talk about family. Leroy married his wife right after she reached fifteen years of age. He tells that story many times. So he had lots of kids, I’m guessing about five but don’t really remember. Talk about success stories, Leroy would point to a picture and recount how that person was doing. One makes something like three million a year and of course has all the things that go with that like yachts and big houses. One owns an oil company and…well that’s all I can recall right now.

Then we moved on to the wall that has his life’s documents on it. Things like his military discharge, diploma’s, and other achievements. Seeing he was in the Air Force I let him know I had been a crew chief on B-52s. That started a conversation where I could sit down and follow, even participate intelligently with, doing more than saying “Wow, that’s something”. Oh, he had some stories to tell. Seems that Leroy had been in special armaments where his job was to load nuclear bombs. One of them decided to fall out of the bomber (I think he said it was a B-36) as it approached landing. That kinda caused a ruckus. He showed me a newspaper article about it. It’s a good story. Maybe I’ll post it later but probably not. It’s a two page article and hard to copy.

What I was most impressed with was that he was a twenty five year veteran of Midland’s fire department. He was proud to show me his plaque and commendations but he really didn’t go into any details about it, no stories from that part of his life though I know there are some. Many veterans of the military or of occupations such as law enforcement or fighting fires, who have seen the death and heartache that often go with that don’t talk much about it.

So I met his wife and several grand kids who evidently spend a lot of time there. One of them or someone in the family had found this blog, probably back when Leroy first put in our well. By the way, I think I forgot to mention that the well is fixed yesterday and we have water now. So back to Leroy. They home school the grandkids. Seeing all this family, this close knit group of people, brings a sadness touched with a tinge of jealousy. What family I have are strangers at a distance. My sister talks with me some though I have been remiss in reaching out to her. That’s my fault. I’ve been meaning to send her an E mail for months now but never remember to when I am online. Leroy even is their driver’s ed. teacher. I love it. The twelve year old grand daughter came driving up an a Yamaha four wheeler that looked like a golf cart on steroids. Had everything a car would except license plates and a windshield. Seat belts, stereo, all of it. By the time she reaches driving age she’ll be ready to go.

I’ve been working on this for four hours now. I know, I’m slow but that’s the way it is. Kinda running down so I’ll take a break. Cherie is getting ready to run into Stanton and take care of business. I’ll go ahead and post this on the blog but will probably have to put most of the pictures on later.


ByronB said...

...and you thought you were going to have a quiet life on the farm !!

Janie said...

Wow, Bob, what an awesome end to the day.

You may not see the "seed" you sowed into that young man, but good will come of it, I'm sure.

I'm glad they came and made good on everything. Mr. Ledford sounds like a good guy - he has a good reputation around these parts, so that makes sense.

I'm glad for you and Cherie that this is resolved. Really glad y'all have water again!!

Have a great weekend.

Eric said...

Yeah, I agree. You handled the kid just right. There's no telling how people will turn out, but there's a good chance he'll be an ally in the future, and one can never have too many of those, right?

Bob said...

Thanks for the input guys.

I'm glad they made good on it too Janie but I suspect the sheriff had something to do with that. Regardless it would have been a hit that would be hard to recover from.
I used to be that kid only a hell of a lot worse. Gives me some insight and empathy.

"Right" Eric. Allies are always good and if nothing else other's may hear that I'm not so bad. You can't have to good of a reputation, right?

Amy E said...

Well, Bob and Cherie, I am so glad this worked out. I was praying last night for you, and here I check back and find God provided after all. I don't know why I am surprised each time He answers prayer, but I sure was surprised at such a quick turn around time. Miss talking to you! Have a good weekend!

Bob said...

Thanks Amy, We always appreciate the prayers. Any time you want to talk give us a call. I know Cherie would love another woman to talk with out here. We still haven't found anyone out here who will venture beyond just being an acquaintance. You know, something a little more than a "Hi, how are you doing" when you pass them in church.