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Smoke School Stories

Larry the Cable Guy Yard Man

I thought he walked on Water- November 7, 2008

Yet another story from the Heart and Soul of Uncle George- an old hippie who don't know what he's a doin.  

Perhaps one of the finest most honest people I ever met is Larry the Yard Man. Born Larry Thomason on an Alabama cotton field near Birmingham in 1947. Larry teaches me every day that you should judge a man by his character rather than the color of his skin. He is one of my closest friends. Larry said that he has picked cotton but he did not particularly like it.

Perhaps our children are smarter at times then we are. Larry says that he did not like picking cotton so he was not very good at it. Perhaps it had something to do with how much those cotton bags weigh to a small child or how those cotton bows cut your fingers to the bone. Perhaps it has something to do with when those cotton bows get rotten you can't pick very much cotton in them old Cotton Fields Back Home. What ever it was, Larry was not good at picking cotton so they confined his chores to cleaning the house. When I was a little bitty baby my momma used to rock me in the cradle in them old cotton fields back home.

After the family farm fell apart, scattering the family across the nation like the four winds, Larry moved in with relatives in Washington DC and Colorado. He worked as a laborer on just about every job you can think of.  His best experience was living with his grandmother and caring for his blind grandfather. Larry said he learned more about life from his grandfather than anyone else.

Looking back, I reckon I learned a lot from my grandfathers too. Pawpaw Roddy White was a logger and a hunter in Clarks Louisiana Caldwell Parish. Pawpaw Hugh owned pool halls and loved people. That would make me a person who loves the great outdoors and having tailgate parties with people.

 

To me smoke school is one great outdoor tailgate party after another. When the season ends in November, I get depressed as heck. But now it is time to deer and duck hunt, and catch those white perch, crappie, or Saco late. Larry, Angie, Aaron and I should spend some great times on the bayou or in the woods. We already have a week long hunting trip planed with our customer friends in Alabama. I noticed they have a nice chair up on a platform at the plant for shooting the deer eating the baited corn under the gas flare at the edge of the plant. The game warden said it was perfectly legal to night hunt unless you get caught. The same thing the game warden told me about fishing with dynamite.

Larry likes best cleaning houses and being a yard man. One day in 2007 when I returned home from a smoke school trip he was working on our yard. We shook hands; I gave him a cup of coffee and asked if he could cook. I needed a cook and a laborer for the smoke school crew. The rest is history.

 

The only problem with Larry being on the road with me is the animals. Once a farmer always a farmer. Goats, chickens, roosters, pigs, dogs, you name it Larry has it. Larry has a lot of friends who have 4 legs. It is a good thing, because if there were no humans, the ones who have not liked talking to animals would get mighty lonesome. No matter where you ask him to travel or for how long, the only comment he makes is “I will miss my animals and I need to find someone to feed them. “

 

In these days with cell phones, if you listen to the conversations around you, then you can learn a lot about the people. Just the other day, I had to make an emergency trip to the latrine at a truck stop. I like the handicap stalls because they give me plenty of room to take off my girdle and let my belly flop around. They also have these side handles for power squeezes- uuHHH. So there I am friends and neighbors in all of my radiant beauty when the person in the next stall says, "Hello"

I look down to the floor under the wall and see these pair of shiney dress shoes and assume it is a business man. I answer back, "Hello"

"How are you doin?"

"Fine- You?"

"What are you doing"

"Number 2, pooping- cant you smell it?"

"Where are you going?"

"Birmingham- You?"

"What time is it?"

I take the cell phone out of my overhaul pocket, open it up and say, "9:15"

"Wait a minute, I will call you right back. "

I listen to Larry's end of the cell phone calls when we are on the road again. On the road again, the life I love is on the road again, I like making money with my friends, I can't wait to get back on the road again. I listen to Larry's cell phone calls when we are on the road. Larry is so mild mannered on the phone that I can't believe it. He ends each call with, "I appreciate it, I appreciate it--- Very much." Larry helps us the greatest when he babysits our son Aaron age 12 when Larry can’t travel because of feeding the animals. I hope Larry's attitude makes the same attitude adjustment on my son as it does on me. Aaron loves to spend time with Larry.

 

Last summer we made a road trip to do smoke schools in Alabama. We had a few days to spare and I was happy that Larry could spend some free time with his brother and other Alabama relatives. When we finished the smoke schools we had some more spare time so I decided to spend a few days in one of my favorite quiet places on the planet, Dauphin Island Alabama. The condo revolution has not hit there yet and you can actually relax and see the ocean. The only problem is that Hurricane Katrina dumped tons of sand in the surf and the fishing pier is on dry land.

 

Larry followed Big Red and the Phantom smoke school trailer in my other Chevy van. Larry never saw a need to learn how to drive or get a driver’s license until he turned 45. Larry missed the exit on Interstate 10 to Dauphin Island and I did not see him again for hours. We checked in the hotel, ate supper, walked on the beach, and waited. When I was able to contact him on the cell phone, he said he was either in Pensacola or Houston- not sure which.

 

Last week we made a road trip though Ohio.  Near Akron we stopped and had supper with Larry’s sister whom he had not seen in 15 years. I wept when I saw them hug and kiss, I said I would not miss this for a hundred dollars.

There was one part of the trip what was terrible, horrible, and unbelievable. Larry's sister lives in a beautiful old house in downtown Akron, that reminded me of your grandmomma's house. It was furnished in priceless antiques.  During supper we met her friend who said he had a dog that Larry could take home with him. He said the dog was trained. Now I know exactly what that meant.

We picked up the dawg a few days later after we left the Cleveland Browns game. This would put it somewhere in the middle of the night. The dawg was simply beautiful. It was a black and brown full grown German Sheppard police dog that was as big as a Texas cow. We squished him into the back seat next to Angie and me. Angie sat next to the dawg and petted and loved on him as we drove in the darkness. The dawg rode well so we decided to stop by for supper at Bob Evans. The trouble started when we came back to get into Big Red. Larry took the dawg out to get his sea legs back and take a leak on a tree in the parking lot.

 

When the dawg finished watering the tree, Larry led the dawg back to the back seat of Big Red. Angie got into the truck next to the dawg and the dawg came unglued. In the flash of an eyeball, the dawg had Angie's forearm in a weapons dropping grip between his teeth. Angie went into shock. It is a very good thing that she was wearing a thick sweater. Not thinking, I reached around Angie's arm and gripped the dawg by both upper and lower jaw and tried to prize his teeth off of the arm. They were locked. It reminded me of what my poor ole momma done warned me about a turtle not letting go until it thundered. If must have thundered because to my surprise the dawg let go. Angie was in shock and shaking all over. We removed the sweater and saw where the dawg had bitten through the skin. I decided it was time to find a hospital emergency room.

I asked Larry and Dave to drive the dawg back to the owner after we dropped Angie off at the emergency room. They both looked at me like I was as crazy as a loon. I could tell that neither one wanted to get close to the dawg, they were also in shock as I was. I decided to get Larry to take the leach and tie the dawg to  a fence near the tree in the parking lot. Then I dialed 911 and told the cops about the dog bite, the emergency room and that the dawg was tied to a fence at Bob Evans', cant miss it.

As we headed to the emergency room I called the owner and said the dawg was tied to a fence at Bob Evans and the cops were coming to cut the dawg's head for a rabies check. You better get there pronto.

The emergency room was a lot faster in treating Angie than I have ever seen. It was a lot worser experience for me during the fish hook episode. Even a lot faster than the Baton Rouge emergency room when my Uncle Guy fell off a ladder at my brother's house and landed his head on the farm tractor disc. Blood had leaked from the red blood soaked towel onto the emergency room floor and they all just sat and looked at it until my Cajun sister-in-law suggested that Uncle Guy fall onto the floor and roll around and squirm like he as having a convulsion. Uncle Guy took the fall and rolled around and the nurses were on top of him like a Mississippi Bird Dawg.

 

Angie's nurse was even swifter. They had her cleaned up, injected, inspected, rejected, and, peroxided before you could say Jacky Robinson. As we were waiting for the lab tests and prescriptions, the cops showed up. I thought they had me again for littering with the cigarette butt out there in the hospital parking lot. Going to put me in jail again with the mother rapers and father rapers for littering. But they wanted to know the who, how, what, where, and when of all of the awful details.

The cops misunderstood me and thought Larry was the owner, although technically he was for about 30 minutes. Larry could not remember the guy's name who gave him the dawg, so we had to get him on the phone again. They wanted to know about rabies shots and my heart went out to Angie as I thought about the shots in the belly. Later the Cops were convinced that the original owner did not want the dawg no more and then the cops took possession of the dawg. There was still some talk about removing the dawgs beautiful head and putting it on a platter.

Angie seems to be recovering well from the dog bite, although it is still sore today. She took it as well as can be expected. Larry felt absolutely horrible. He said he heard the man say it was a trained dog, but did not know the dawg was a junk house yard dog. Mean mean Leroy Brown, meanest man in the whole dam town, meaner than a junk yard dog.

In the hours before the dog bit.

Larry loves football, so we went to see the Cleveland Browns play the Baltimore Ravens. Larry loved the crowd, the game, and the stadium although we were up high in the bloody nose section. We did have a great view of Lake Erie though. Most of yawl know that I was born in a purple and gold LSU diaper. I have not had time to attend an LSU or a Saints game this year, but I have seen the Browns play.

 

After the game we stopped by an Obama rally where I hoped we could see Bruce Springsteen. Although I had already absentee voted for McCain, I was proud that Larry was able to see the rally.  We got him some good tee shirts.

 

During the trip we did a smoke school for Campbell’s Soup in Napoleonville Ohio. This is one of my most favorite locations for smoke school.  Robert Conselman and the rest of the crew wait on us hand and foot. I guarantee. They set up a circus tent and bring us a generator and porta-potties for the attendees. After the smoke school they took us on a tour of the soup factory.

 

I watched the astonishment on Larry’s face as he watched the soup cans, the Prego cans, and the V-8 cans fly overhead in the assembly line. I was amazed myself and I have seen plenty of plants in my day. Larry kept saying my friends ain’t going to believe me when I say I done seen the Campbell’s Soup Factory.

 

Larry is happy today as I type this story out. Angie and I decided to fly back to West Monroe Louisiana so we could spend more time with Aaron while Larry and Dave Wallace, the firefighter drove Big Red and the Phantom back to Odon Indiana so our other crew chief, Dave Hudson could move the smoke generator onto a new trailer.

 

While there I got them a hotel room at the Gasthof in the Amish Community near Montgomery Indiana. I wanted Larry to see the black buggies, Melvin and Sharon Yoder, some of my other Amish friends, and pickup a new horse trailer, some homemade Amish Peanut Brittle and other candy that we use as smoke school prizes. I also wanted to buy some horses, pigs, goats, chickens, and turkeys for my yard and for Larry. Larry is happy now because he has more fiends to talk to.

If this you liked this story please read the other ones.

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