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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Memoir  |  House: Booksie Classic
30 year old story of a summer that affected a young man for a lifetime. quick and concise history that could be expanded in a thousand directions. enjoy!

Submitted: July 16, 2017

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Submitted: July 16, 2017

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Its good to be back to work.

I dont know what it was that set it off? The sun, the heat, the blue sky and puffy clouds? The familiar sights, sounds and smells? The taste of the clay dust blowing in the wind? I Dont know, but what i do know was that for a moment my minds eye took me back in time.

This summer, in about 4 weeks, is the 30th anniversary of my baptism in the construction industry. I was a wiry 13 year old kid summer of '87. My dad worked with a "crew" of guys that were framing houses "out in the township" which consisted of the land mostly along the corridor of tylersville and hamilton mason roads east of "the bypass" until you hit I-75. Today that would be fairfield township, indian springs and west chester. At the time there was nothing there but farm fields and the houses that we were building.

You may not know this but it takes 4 men to frame a house. A fifth man is helpful and a 6th is a wasteful bonus. There was my dad, Neil the foreman (who's last name escapes me), another man i knew only as "Bear" and Bobby Lednick. I was the fifth man. I mostly carried lumber all summer and when i wasnt doing that i was nailing up bridging in the floor joist, nailing on joist hangers and hurricane roof truss clips, nailing off subfloors and roof sheating, and helping raise walls. Theres nothing like being part of five men standing up a continuous 80' rear wall of a house all at once. I rolled out hundreds of feet of extension cords every morning and rolled them back up at the end of each day. You know nothing about muscle fatigue until you roll up 5 or 6 hundred feet of cord without stopping lol. To this day i can still roll a cord in and out like a champ! I didnt know it at the time, but, those were great times, the best of times.

Dad drove a blue 1978 jeep CJ5 that had no top and over sized off road tires. We rode together every morning at sunrise. If youve never ridden in a stripped down jeep with no top, youre missing out, its like riding a motorcycle but better, and its 4x4 lol. We could go anywhere and do anything in that jeep and trust that we did. We ate lunch at every legendary mom n pop dive bar that ever existed in Butler county. The port union cafe, the castle, the wagon wheel, the reef, the power house etc.... the "crew" and dad were old school bikers and tough guys from hamilton. They did hard drugs, could make a sailor blush with their language, fucked sleazy women and drank beer in the same way an athlete drinks gatorade. They wore "blades" on their hips and had .38 revolvers in the glove boxes. They were outlaws and cast aways and i trusted them with my life and considered them friends. I was only 13 but i had already seen alot of life and i remember feeling grown up at the time partly because they didnt treat me too much like a kid.

One day me n dad were leaving johnsons market and a few houses away there was a keg of beer laying all alone in the middle of the road. Dad locked up the brakes and told me to go check if it was full. It was! Evidently the delivery driver left his door open and lost a half barrel after leaving Johnson's.... score!!! We took our shining silver prize back to the site and they scheduled a party for the coming weekend.

At our house! Holy shit!

Calling it a party was like calling the ocean wet, it was a bash! By friday evening the driveway and street were filled with pickups and 15 bikes were parked in the front yard. Dad made a fire out back and uncle larry stewart had made turtle stew out of 2 big soft shell turtles me n my brothers had brought home that week from the river. The next day and the day after that there were still bikes in the yard and people crashed around the fire. Not until the keg was empty and the stew gone did we get our home back lol.

I felt like a big shot that summer being that young and always having a couple hundred bucks in my pocket that i earned with honest labor. I remember i used to treat my niece Ava's mom to ice cream. We would walk to friendlys ice cream shop on nilles road. Allison was my "girl next door", we shared reeses pieces sundaes. Neither of us could've known that before 20 years could pass we would go out separate ways and she would be dead from a drug overdose and I would be raising her daughter. Quel est le sort!

On my last day of work that summer Neil shut us down 2 hours early and sent me n dad to johnsons market with money to buy beer. We bought 3 32 packs of Strohs. 96 beers. I had to go back to school starting the next day. Now these were rough and tumble guys, old school bikers, like i said but not once, not one time that summer was i ever allowed to drink beer. All those times in the bars, not a sip. They were outcast outlaws but they had honor, the cocaine, the women, the booze and weed never in front of me, never in front of "the kid", i never saw any of it although i knew it was going on... i mean come on, it was the 1980's lol. That day was different though, this party was for me. In two hours i drank beer as fast as i could and almost finished 6 beers, I drank like 5.5 beers lets say before they cut me off because i was drunk. Meanwhile dad, bear, bobby and neil drank the other 90. For all you mathematicians thats like 22.5 beers per man or about 1 beer every 5 minutes for 2 hours without stopping. These were men and for those 2 hours i was too. Then i said my goodbyes and we drove home without seat belts.

True story.

Thanks to my minds eye, today for a brief moment i saw all of this, I saw myself and dad and Bobby and Neil and big old bear and i was 13 again and it was priceless.

Thnx for reading


© Copyright 2017 dj hundley. All rights reserved.

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