I was ready to start the fourth grade, the year we moved to Izee. Prior to that time, the Miles family had lived in Bates, Oregon. Bates was a company owned, sawmill town, too. The biggest difference was that the houses in Bates were painted, on the outside.
My sister, Rita, had married her high school sweetheart, in June, and had moved to Eugene, Oregon. We would not be able to see her more than a couple of time a year - as it was ninety miles to the paved highway, and then over two hundred miles from there. My brother, Robert, would begin his high school in a few weeks. Robert would have to be boarded in Canyon City or John Day, Oregon. The Izee school had only first thru eight grades available in its two rooms.
Mom had assured Dad and me, "Robert will be just fine. He will only be fifty-eight miles away. He can come home on the weekends and for spring vacation. We know how important it is to get a good education."
Mother had never attended high school, herself. Born Mildred Heck, with eight siblings, she was working in a Baker City laundry by the time that she was twelve years old. As the dominant parent, Mother never expected too much of my father. Her kids were her life and she could handle everything.
Mom had never known her father, a Nez Perse Indian, who, like her mother's other three husbands, had died young in Baker City, Oregon. All that she had known about her father was that he was a Catholic. She had made his religion her own. Her mother was a Nazarene. Back then, some people called them 'Holly Rollers' and Mom wanted no part of embarrassment.
Being poor, born nearly deaf, offered enough ridicule for any smart child, as my Mother had been. When she had gone to grade school, she sat in the back of her class, ashamed, in her hand-me-down clothes. When called upon by a teacher, she usually answered, "I don't know," rather than admit that she couldn't hear the question. She had educated herself by reading books and was anything but stupid. She wanted babies. She would handle everything herself. Her own Mother had, she expected to, and she did.
"Oh Buddy, Rusty, look! There's the school? It says IZEE School Dist. # 31, over the door. The town must be right around the corner?" Mom was excited.
I looked. It wasn't as big as my old school, in Bates. There were just two swings and two teeter-totters. Two school rooms, and two outhouses. We waited, expectantly, for the Izee town to appear. It didn't.
"Well, it has to be just up ahead? Here comes another lumber truck toward us, Bud? For heaven sakes, move over a little bit?"
"That's sure a fine looking load of lumber, Mildred. They say they've got enough trees to run for the next twenty years. They're running three crews of fallers, now. That's a lot of hungry lumberjacks to feed!"
"We'll do just fine, Bud. Now, you relax. We'll meet the superintendent and he'll offer us the job. I'll be right here with you. We'll be fine."
"You just remember, Mildred, they found the last cook hanging by a noose above his cook-stove. They said his food was bad," Dad declared. " He made good men eat beans, everyday," My father continued, with genuine sympathy advocating for the collinearly abused laborers.
"Bud, you know, very well, that the poor man and his wife were having problems. They said that he committed suicide!"
"Well, he wouldn't be the first cook that they've strung up in a logging camp!"
"Bud Miles, you stop thinking about such things" Mom demanded.
"Well, he won't be the last one either, Mildred," Dad persisted... before changing the subject. "Rusty, are you watching for this town, Son? Keep an eye open for a big buck! I saw some fresh tracks in the dust where he crossed the road, back there. It looks like a black bear, or something, has rubbed himself against that tree!"
I looked. There was some dark chocolate hair glistening on the broken branch of a green juniper. I could see some of the bark was missing from the tree trunk too. No one could spot game sign like my Dad.
I wanted to be the first to see the Izee. I was real thirsty. The dust stirred up by that last lumber truck was, still, hanging thick in our 1952 ford. I rolled the passenger window down to try to get some fresh air. Mom handed me another piece of Juicy Fruit gum.
"Throw the other one out, Rusty. This will make our mouth's taste better. We'll be there any minute and I'll get you a cold glass of water, first thing."
It seemed like we would never reach Izee. The ruts and bumps of the dirt road tossed our car and we helpless victims in every direction. Around each corner, lay dustier road and another corner that we couldn't see beyond. The schoolhouse turned out to be twelve miles from the town. Dad was getting anxious.
"What time are we supposed to meet with this man, Mildred?"
"His name is Mr. Ellingson, Bud. He is expecting us at around 1:00 O'clock. It's not even 12:30. We're doing fine. Step on it, a little? You're not even going thirty miles per hour? That last log truck - that passed us - was going twice as fast on this same road!"
The loud blast of the air horn behind us meant that another log truck driver agreed with Mom. Dad pulled to the right as far as he could, without leaving the road. The truck, loaded to the top with fresh cut pine trees, roared past us before I could roll up the window.
"I told you so, Bud. Now let's go!"
"I'm not going to follow that crazy man, too close. Chains break on loads like that. You can't stop by the time you see the logs through all the dust? So, you just calm down, Mildred. I want us all alive when we get to this mill."
As the dust trail of the log truck settled in the distance, Dad increased the speed to thirty-five mph. Billowing from more bumps, a new layer of road powder inside the car, settled upon us. It was well over 100 degrees, inside the car and out. We continued on, in our hot pursuit of the elusive logging camp. I had, pretty much, given up hope on ever getting to Izee. At eight years old, you can keep the faith, while riding in a hot car, for just so long.
Mom saw it first. "Look, Rusty! A real ball park!"
The backstop appeared from out of nowhere. Except for a few wooden benches, it was the only thing there, situated in the gully between the creek and a hill. The hill had one small trailer, perched on the peak.
The next sights were less than encouraging. More single wide trailers and make-do-mobiles with clothes flapping on rusting lines. This was the "Upper camp," where many of the less permanent workers with families lived.
"Keep on driving, Bud! These shanties are not the main town. It has real houses. They said we will see the mill when we get here."
We continued on - around another two more corners - to the "Main camp." Rounding the last curve, we saw the smoke from a sawdust burner drifting slowly over three rows of wooden structures, houses of the main camp. Steams and gasses could be seen bursting forth from the many operational buildings of the Ellingson Timber Company sawmill.
Arrogantly, on one side of the creek, the sawmill sprawled on the large, level side of the landscape. All but a few of the houses were close together on the other. Like bleachers in a stadium, rows of adiquate housing assended the mountainside due limited flatland on their side of the creek.
Actually, this creek was the "South Fork" of the John Day River. Our forner hometown, "Bates, Oregon," lay eighty-eight miles to the North East, and was on the "Middle Fork." There is, also, a "North Fork" of these tributaries. After the forks all join the "Main John Day," it flows on to expand "The Columbia River."
In those days, sawmills were built on creeks in remote areas where timber was in close proximity. A sawmill could be expected to operate for fifty to seventy five years. The towns were the necessary outgrowth of a place to house the laborers for the mill, loggers to cut the trees, log truck drivers -. to haul the fresh logs in - and lumber truckers - to transport the finished dry boards out.
The lumber companies that built the mills owned the towns. These were not "One horse towns." There were no horses or cows or pigs or sheep. Just families who rented company owned houses, from the company, while the men held jobs at, or for, the mills. Permanent workers, at the mills, got first choice of the housing. The better the job, the better the house, made available from the cheaply constructed one-level structures. Most had only two bedrooms, no matter how many children were in the household. Most families had one or two dogs that roamed freely.
The mill workers were "Permanent." So long as they could perform their work adequately, and their families did not disrupt anything, men had a job and a place to live. The companies made all of the rules. People with too many family problems were fired. There were, always, people who wanted a job. Many people worked their whole lives for these companies, raising families, perfectly content with their lots in life.
Then, like now, most problems developed when people felt too isolated or blamed each other for their own dissatisfaction. When a worker was injured on the job, the company took care of the medical. When the injury to a good worker was severe, the company might find him another job that he could do. Unmarried men, and those waiting for a house, "Batched" in bunkhouses. Women were not allowed to work in the mills. Once grown, single women were not even allowed to live in the towns.
Most sawmill towns had two sections, one where the "Permanent" workers lived and a second section, where the "Temporary" or seasonal workers, with families, resided. These might include the contract or "Gypo" loggers. People who worked at the mills usually didn't get too close to the families of the people who might be gone in a few months or years when their jobs or contracts ran out. Izee was a "Logging-camp." The company, that owned everything but the land it was built upon, made no pretense of this being - or ever becoming - a "Town."
Our first stop in Izee was at the "Commissary." That was the word used for the company owned store. It was the only store in the camp. Can goods, toilet paper, dog food, cleaning supplies, candy bars, and cigarettes, were the major items stocked. A gas pump was in front and the prices were "Sky-high." Most people bought their groceries in John Day, when they went in to town to cash their paychecks. There was no bank in Izee. No alcoholic beverages were sold in the camp, either. The land lease agreement, allowing the mill with its necessary housing, clearly prohibited alcoholic sales of any kind. The mother of the rancher owning the land was a devout Catholic. When the mill shut down permanently, all evidence of it prior existence would have to be removed.
The wood floor of the commissary was raven black, having recently been oiled. Dad observed my hesitation to step on it. He assured me it was all right.
"They do this, Rusty, to cut down on wear and to make the floor easier to keep clean," he said before asking the man where he could find Mr. Ellingson.
Mom found the ice-chest cooler and bought me a seven ounce 7-Up. Boy, did it taste good?
Johnson, the commissary clerk, who was also responsible for the separate mail section, pointed to the superintendent's house. Dad and Mom were to apply for the job of running the "Cookhouse". It was an important position for the company that had enjoyed, too much, turnover in years past. It would not, anymore.
Dad was hardly inside the door when he told Mr. Ellingson, "A man can't do an honest day's work on an empty stomach. You've got to feed him, and you've got to feed him real good!"
The Superintendent gleefully agreed and set about selling my parents on taking the job.
The position required that the "Cookhouse, husband and wife operators," work about sixteen hours a day - seven days a week. Of course, the job wasn't represented that way but that is actually what would be required, to handle it successfully. Included, with the position, were the attached living quarters, and all meals for the operator's own family. Although no restaurant - or other eating establishment - was allowed in Izee, residents that occupied houses, neighbors, or even friends were not allowed to eat at the Cookhouse. It didn't matter how much people were willing to pay.
Dad was offered the position, as "Head Chef" and Mom would be the "Second". Her job would be to help Dad, bake all of the breads, make the deserts, and serve the tables. Together, they would prepare the meals for all of the forty five to eighty single men - mill workers and loggers - who lived in the bunkhouses.
By five O'clock A.M., the loggers and woods crews would sign in for breakfast. The mill workers came in at 6:00. By then, the woodsmen would have eaten, packed up their lunchboxes, and departed. All meals were deducted from worker's paychecks. This was no free lunch.
Lunch for mill a worker was between when the lunch-time whistles blasted, at noon and at 1:00 P.M. A man might have to run to get there. Dinner was served from 5:30 until 7:30, seven days a week. The Superintendent spent more time selling them in taking the job than my folks spent trying to get it.
While Dad and Mom were going over details of what the position entailed, I asked if I could walk down to the swings that I had noticed when we had arrived. Mr. Ellingson thought it would be a great idea, a chance for me to meet some of the kids who were playing there. He was quite proud that the company, only recently, had the huge swings constructed for all of the children in the logging camp to use.
Mom walked me outside, with a stern reminder that I had my "New clothes on."
"Don't get into any fights," she said. "I have heard that these Izee kids are the toughest and meanest on this earth? And, watch out for the rattlesnakes? If you see one, Rusty, promise me that you won't go near it. Your father and I will pick you up in a few minutes. You see that big house across from the swings? That's 'The Cookhouse.' It's going to be our new home?"
Rattlesnakes! We don't have rattlesnakes in Bates! I could feel my heart hammering against my stomach as I walked - what I believed to be - 'The Rattlesnake Road.' Maybe, I thought, if I kick that rock ahead of me, it will scare them away. But, I didn't want too kick it too far. I might need it to kill a snake.
I could see two boys and two girls at the swings. They're all watching me. The girls look friendly, but the boys - they want to fight. They're both bigger than me. I remembered that my Dad had said, "The bigger they are, the harder they fall!" If they give me any trouble, I'll show them that Bates kids are tough, too.
I wished that my brother, Robert, had come, this first time. Instead, he had gone camping with the Boy Scouts, that day. Robert can beat up anyone. Well, anyone but Okie Joe. He's taught me to never back down from a fight. I ain't never yet! Anyway, them boys are looking at me funny. I kicked the rock off the dirt road in the direction of the swings. The biggest boy stepped forward to challenge me.
"Whatta ya doin' kickin that rock?" "Lookin' for rattlesnakes. What's it to yea?" "That's my rock!" "Oh, yea?" "Yea!" "Here, take it then!" I kicked the rock at him. He had long legs and jumped out of the way. "Where da ya think yer goin'?" " Those swings." " They're mine, too?" " Oh, yea?" "Yea, my dad built 'em!" " Mr. Ellingson said they's for everybody?" " Yea, well, I'm next!" "O.K.,"I said, willing to wait my turn. But, I could see that 'Long-legs' didn't like it. " That's a funny looking shirt? you Roy Rogers?" " No?" " Sez Roy Rogers? whata ya doin wearin his shirt?" " It's mine. My mom bought it - for me - this morning ? in John Day." " Oh, yea?" " Yea! You wanna make somethin' of it?" " If I do, you'll be sorry?" " Oh, yea?
Two buttons flew off when he grabbed me by the collar. But, my head moved faster than his fisted fingers! When I slugged him in the stomach, Long-legs doubled over. So, I punched his snorting nostrils. Blood squirted, everywhere. It spurted at my new shirt, too. Fear gripped me! Mom's gonna be mad.
Our fight was over for that day. Long-legs left holding his nose and swearing that he'd "Get even, later!" His faithful friend - who even looked a little like Tonto - went with him. So did one of the girls who had been on the swings.
" Do you want to swing, " the other girl asked me? "Okay," I answered, trying to wipe some blood off my shirt. " What's your name?" " Rusty Miles." " Are you going to live here?" " Yeah, I guess so." " Which house? " " That one - right there?" I said, pointing. " Oh, good. I live right across the street. I'm Diana. We can be friends."
We were flying high, in the swings, when our family Ford pulled up. Mom got out of the car.
"Rusty, did you fall down? Honey, are you all right? Look at your shirt! What, on earth, happened to you?" " He started it? Mom, I didn't mean to?" " Hush up! Get into this car, right now? before anyone sees you like this? Let's go, Bud? They want us back here, and on the job, Monday morning.," Mother urged.
[ End Chapter One ]
* * *
By Russ Miles
Selasa, 08 Juli 2008
Title: Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 (2005-2006
Author: Joan Rattner Heilman
The following review was contributed by: NORM GOLDMAN: Editor of Bookpleasures.
No age group represents such an enormous market of potential consumers than those over the age of fifty.
According to author Joan Rather Heilman, author of Unbelievably Good Deals and Great Adventures That You Absolutely Can't Get Unless You're Over 50 (2005-2006), more than a quarter of the population of the United States is over 50, and by the 2020 it is expected to reach one third.
It is little wonder why the business community actively courts this sector of the population that controls most of the wealth of the USA.
If you are one of the lucky ones who have reached the "big five O," hold onto your wallets before you fork out money for hotels, car rentals, tour packages, college courses, airfare, entrance admission to parks, restaurants, buses, trains, sports activities, and even shopping.
Heilman passes out all kinds of "goodies," as if we are children in a candy shop, with hundreds of tips as to how to stretch your vacation dollars.
Dividing the book into twenty chapters, the author presents excellent insights pertaining to various value-added possibilities. However, as stated by the author, it is essential that if you are over fifty, you must very often ask for these discounts. Most vendors and their representatives will not voluntarily offer them to you.
Most of the book is devoted to savings the over fifty crowd can enjoy from the travel industry. Realizing that this sector of the population is the most ardent travelers, it is only logical that the travel industry would offer all kinds of price reductions.
Heilman details the offerings of the various airlines with their names, phone numbers and web sites. Similarly, discounts pertaining to hotels, motels, car rental companies are listed.
Are you looking for some alternative lodging? Did you know that Del Webb Sun Cities, the largest builder of active communities offers a Vacation Getaway program, where you can enjoy low-cost, short vacation stays so that you can sample the lifestyle to see whether you would like to move in? Bear in mind, however, that in order to qualify one partner in a visiting couple must be over the age of 55.
In addition, the reader will discover all kinds of deals concerning trains, buses and boats pertaining to North America and elsewhere. Companies such as Amtrak, Via Rail in Canada, Greyhound Lines, train passes in Britain, France and other European countries offer some kind of a discounts, although requirements as to age may differ.
If you are a sport's enthusiast, Heilman presents a comprehensive rundown of assorted clubs, tours, associations, and other institutions that offer different vacation possibilities as skiing, cycling, walking, golfing, even softball, where special privileges and discounts are offered. Names, phone numbers, and website addresses are included.
In addition to being a nifty addition to one's library, this reader friendly book would make a great birthday gift for anyone celebrating his or her "big five O."
This beautifully laid out trade paperback has a gorgeous and practical design both inside and out. I recommend you read this book with a highlighter and a pen and be ready to take copious notes in the blank pages thoughtfully provided between chapters.
Manners That Sell: Adding The Polish That Builds Profits should be required reading for high school and college students and for anyone already in the business environment. Once upon a time, good manners were taught in school and at home, but that time has long since passed. This book provides the perfect refresher course for those of us who were taught manners but no longer remember the finer points of etiquette.
While reading this book I discovered that the author, Lydia Ramsey, covered every conceivable point of etiquette including many that I'd never been taught. Each of the twelve chapters covers one main topic broken down into digestible bite sized chunks of rules and guidelines to enhance credibility and professionalism. Topics include first impressions, greetings and introductions, the art of conversation, dressing for business, telephone courtesy, electronic etiquette, correspondence in business, etiquette in the office, gift-giving in business, etiquette out of the office, dining for profit and doing business internationally.
The author of this delightful book, Lydia Ramsey, is a business etiquette expert with over thirty years of experience working with non-profits, corporations, colleges and universities. She is a frequently published author who presents workshops, seminars and keynotes on all aspects of business etiquette.
I recommend businesses buy this book in bulk and present one to every employee from the frontline up to the top management. In this ever changing world with so many consumer choices, the bottom line is often affected by the simple courtesies that can and should be afforded to customers. You need this book if you want your employees to succeed and your business to thrive. You can purchase Manners That Sell at http://www.MannersThatSell.com.
By Davis Virtual
This article is based on the following book:
What Is The Emperor Wearing?
Truth-Telling In Business Relationships
This book is inspired by the popular tale "The Emperor's New Clothes". It provides stories of ordinary individuals in the workplace who are in the predicament of confronting the unlikely benefits of "deception" and steering away from the risks and dangers of "truth-telling".
Unfortunately, "truth-telling" is justifiably perceived to be difficult, risky, and unrewarding. More often than not, others will try to invalidate your truth with what they believe is true rather than discover the true nature of the problem.
Take the case of Rita. She tried to tell the truth to her manager, Kerwin, but he refused to listen. Her predictions were correct, but it was only after the scandal broke out in the media that Kerwin realized it. Clearly, Rita's truth was ignored.
Robert, however, was reluctant to accept that his store manager was stealing supplies from his dry cleaning establishment. Robert lost money in a store that seemed to be doing very good business simply because he'd rather not know what the truth is.
Truth-telling has become more risky and difficult to some of the characters in the book. Basically, they had hard times telling the truth when:
the truth is bad news
the truths collide-that is, when your truth gets fabricated along the way
you'd be happier if you know what the truth is
you're not sure if your truth is really true
your integrity is sacrificed
it makes better sense not to tell the truth
The genuine stories of Rita, Robert and the other characters of the book proved the profitable side of truth-telling. In the long run, it has become obvious that truth-telling is always more beneficial than "deception". To practice the skill the following is recommended:
Examine Assumptions. With the fear of jeopardizing her position by confronting the manager, Kathleen decided to carefully examine her opinion that her boss is behaving inappropriately at meetings they attended. Eventually, it dawned on her that her objectives are different from his.
Know Yourself First. Irwin, a telecommunications executive, was not aware of his alcohol problems. It took near disaster before he realized this. Looking back, Irwin identified that incident as a major turning point in his life and career.
Use Your Intuition to Guide You. Elizabeth rarely understood the reason for crying at meetings. When the team examined the situation more carefully, they discovered that Elizabeth's intuition was warning them when something subtle was wrong with some proposed action.
The Truth Will Set You Free, but First It May Make You Mad. Pete's team confronted him on his ineffective leadership style. It was difficult to hear the negative feedback, but as he listened and responded, the team members' animosity changed to offers of help and support.
Get the Information You Need Without Being Gullible or Paranoid.
Ask Questions with Grace and Skill.
Tell Your Truth with Compassion for Yourself and Others. Valerie struggled with herself about how to inform her client that she suspected he was using drugs. As she prepared him for job interviews, she started to think that other interviewers might notice the subtle symptoms and mannerisms she had observed in him. She carefully examined her own internal conversation and her fear of alienating her client. Her commitment to her own integrity helped her find an appropriate way to take the necessary risk while continuing to support her client.
The "What I Feel Like Saying" Process. Staff meetings were becoming a waste of time in Monica's mortgage banking office. Staff members would come late, leave early, and barely pretend to participate. Introducing a simple exercise at the start of each weekly meeting allowed everyone to gradually learn to work together more effectively.
Is Something Sinister Going On? Everyone at the meeting was frustrated. People were repeating their points several times, but they were not reaching any resolution. A simple matter that should have taken five minutes had been debated for an hour. After a brief recess, Barry raised a new issue that concerned everyone. When the discussion of the new topic was completed, they went back to considering the original issue, and they reached agreement on a solution almost immediately.
Using Agreements to Create Dialogue Instead of Conflict. It is important for any truth teller to realize that your truth is not THE TRUTH, and neither is anyone else's. Exploring different perspectives on the truth instead of arguing about which is correct can best be accomplished in a safe environment. A variety of organizations use an ever-evolving set of agreements to create and maintain a context in which truth-telling can occur.
By: Regine P. Azurin
The Joy Of Dating Again is designed to be a do-it- yourself workshop. This book features 21 self-empowering keys. Each of the keys is presented as a workshop session. There is an explanation of each key and its relevance to your life. There are also exercises, meditations, affirmations and guided social experiments to reinforce and help you apply each key into action. This book can guide you through the keys for self-empowerment, helping you get the tools to move into a "new life," stretching your old limits and breaking the barriers of what is possible for you. In addition, you will develop the tools to attract a partner that is really suitable for you; the "new you."
As the author Jeanette Castelli, points out "The main element of learning is taking action in the real world. Every key is presented with several ways of implementing it immediately in your life. I truly believe in doing not just reading to create changes in your life."
To create the joy of dating again, you need to take action to make it happen. Some of you wish there was some kind of service where you call and they deliver the date of your dreams, with no effort on your part; or maybe, you wish you could fast forward time and already have found that special person, skipping the whole dating process.
The truth is there are powerful experiences of transformation, joy and self-discovery awaiting you in this adventure of dating again. A new level of self-esteem, passion for life, love and positive relationships can all be yours. As you learn the keys or reinforce them, you will start transforming your life. That subtle or not so subtle transformation will be reflected in your dating experiences. You can expect more joy in your life and that can only be translated into the joy of dating again. As you empower yourself, your life will change and you will enhance your dating experience. It is all within your reach; it is all in your hands.
You have the chance to use the experience of dating again as fuel for self-discovery and personal growth. Dating again can become a precious experience that will pull you out of your comfort zone into growth and empowerment.
Start right now with a positive attitude and see dating as an adventure, a journey into love, a trip into your heart, a challenge that can help you grow, a fun activity, a process of self-discovery, a project for happiness, a quest for inner harmony, and a great opportunity to enhance the quality of your life.
EBOOK information: "The Joy Of Dating Again" by Jeanette Castelli, M.S. (ISBN: 0974206113) Features 21 self-empowering keys to transform your experience of dating and your life, eliminating the trial and error. Contains exercises, worksheets and social experiments to implement each key. EBook available from http://www.JOY.urbantex.com/
By Jeanette Castelli
Rusty Miles never had a real identity. I was that "Little Miles" kid, youngest of "The three Rs," Rita, Robert, and Russell. My parents were somewhat older than those of most of my friend's.
When we moved to Izee, I wondered why Dad wouldn't play baseball, like the other men in the logging camp. While other dads got together at the ball field, drank beer, played, and had lots of fun, my father would go off fishing, by himself.
Oh, I could go along with him, if I wanted too. But, Dad didn't believe in talking much because it "Scares away the trout." Anyway, it was more exciting to watch the younger men play baseball, after they got off work, and get into fights. Someone would cuss about being called: "Out!" The next thing you know, there would be fists flying everywhere.
Sometimes, their wives would get into it, too. Women are dirty fighters. They scratch, and pull hair. Maybe, even kick you someplace. That's why Mom said we didn't want to go. She went only one time. Just when the fighting and cussing got real good, Mom said: "Rusty, I'm glad your father isn't here to see this. We're going home! These people are just, plain, stupid. They drink up every dime they earn, and they don't even have a pot to piss in!"
My Mom was right. While we Miles had indoor plumbing, most of our neighbors still used outhouses. "We are not going to learn to talk like this, Rusty. These people should wash their mouths out with soap, but they probably don't even have any. If they do, they sure never use it!"
There was never conflict in our house. We had better sense than to fight among ourselves. We were a family. Mom saw to it.
"People in families stick up for one another. They defend each other and do what's right." As Mother often said, "Anyone, with a lick of good sense, should know that."
A spectator but once, Mom didn't like me to go to watch the baseball because of all of the fighting. I'd tell her, "It doesn't happen much, anymore. All of my friends get to go!" Mother would sigh, sit down with Agatha Christi, tell me to "Be back before dark, and you walk home!" I was not to ride in a car with people who had been drinking, even if the driver's own children did. It was a long walk home, from the ball field to the cookhouse, where we lived.
by Russ Miles
As MS (multiple Sclerosis) is doing such a fine job of devastating my mortal body, I thought it prudent to begin writing my life story. At least, to recall some parts of it that have had significant impacts on me becoming who I think I am. If I wait for someone else to write it - I won't be around read it. If I delay any longer to begin, I may not be able to remember my life - at all.
I suppose that it's normal to want people to say nice things about you, after you're gone. Sometimes, you can make a deal with them to say nice things about you - if you will just go. Since I don't have very much to cut a deal with, I figure - if I want some nice things said - I'd better say them myself.
I'm reminded what I once said about a dog that I had. " He never bit anybody?" I don't remember ever biting anyone, either. Another dog, I adopted, kissed everyone. Although I tried to do that, too, I was never as well received as he was.
Cats don't try to kiss you. They spend all of their time licking themselves. A lot of people that I've met do that. While many things are yet within their power to accomplish, they give up.
I've learned, there is nothing shameful about trying and failing. It was only a shame when I failed to try. We all get to have our share of failures. No one else gets to have them all. If you've never failed, you have probably never tried to do the impossible, like be a good marriage partner, or eat soup with a fork. I get better at being married each time I try it.
In this story, I don't think I'll change the names. No one is so innocent that they need protecting.
* * *
We moved to Izee early Saturday, to the house we had never seen the inside of. Mom was following in the car, Dad commandeering a borrowed pickup with all of our earthly possessions. Robert came with us to Izee, this time. Since Mom would be explaining to him "The boardinghouse rules" for high school away from home," I rode with Dad thinking it was funny that my brother got to eat more dirt than I did, as they followed us over the miles of unpaved road. Like a filthy phantom from planet dust, Robert kept emerging from the 52 Ford, recovering anything that blew off our loosely tied down load. He looked even scarier when it started to rain.
[Continue on in Chapter Two if you still wish to read more.]
By Russ Miles