Monday, January 11, 2010

Memoir Monday: The One Where The Groom Almost Dies. Again.

My dad, as most of you have probably already figured out, was and still is a huge influence on my life.

He was an incredibly godly man, he loved his family, and he busted his hump for us to have what we needed. He raised four boys on a salary of around 35k a year, with no government assistance whatsoever, and we NEVER went without what we needed.

In order to facilitate this, he had to compromise on a few things.

The first was his truck. The man drove a 79 Ford F150 Custom. Manual transmission, original everything, and it rattled like crazy. The truck was 21 years old when he died, and I never once heard him complain about wanting a new one.

The second was his "found it on the highway" collection.

You see, my father was a firm believer in the "finders keepers" rule of life. If you were foolish enough to drop anything on the roads in or around Okay, Oklahoma in the 80's or 90's, chances are that my father either picked it up or dismissed it as useless and passed it by.

He acquired a dip-net this way, some hats, and several tools. Upon finding the items, he would immediately take them home, get his initials on them somehow, (which were BS) and then he would put them to use, as if using them immediately somehow further elevated his proof of ownership.

Here's where it got scary though.

His method of retrieving said articles?

It was to send his boys on the pick up. It got scary folks. He would pull over, and it was our responsibility to hop out, exercise discretion and caution upon going out on the highway, and then get the item and get back in the truck as quickly as possible. As I write this now, I realize that the speed was probably so that the owner of the item didn't return to see it being stolen by a 13 year old.

Here is the story of the dip-net.

For those of you who don't know what that is, it's a net that is used to get fish out of the water without breaking your line lifting them into the boat. It looks kind of like this:

On some models, a scale is built into the handle so that you can weigh the fish at the same time.

The scene is set in Tulsa, Oklahoma on a busy weekend afternoon. We were in Tulsa for some reason or other, I don't know why. I don't remember the street, but what comes to mind is 31st and Sheridan.

We're in the Aerostar, our minivan.

All of the sudden, we hear it.

"Is that a dipnet? I think that's a dipnet. Does it have a scale on it? Hold on, guys."


I don't think my father had a specific selection process for choosing the kid that got out to get the stuff. It may have been that the first face he saw in the rearview mirror. I guess we'll never know. I DO know that we all just kind of made ourselves look small and non-attention grabbing. I (kind of) remember the conversation that took place on that day:

Dad: "Brad! (The Groom) Hop out and grab that dip-net."
Mom: "Oh Brian, I don't think that's a good idea."
Dad: "Oh, he'll be fine. The road isn't that busy."
Mom: "Brian."
Dad: "He'll be fine. Just jump out and get it!"

It was at this point that I knew my brother was going to die.

We just looked at each other as he opened the door to the van, and I think in our own wordless way, we said goodbye.

Do any of you remember the game, Frogger?

That's the only way I can describe this. I watched as my brother dodged every single vehicle imaginable, procured the net, and then ran back across the road faster than a Democrat from a controversial issue.

He made it.

I have never been more proud of my brother. As he crawled back in the van, the look on his face was part sheer terror, and part excitement, and part exhiliration. I really believe my brother will a shorter life because of the experience, but I also believe he had more fun doing that anything else he's ever done.

I don't want any bullcrap in the comments about how horrible it was of him to do this sort of a thing. The truth is, I'm guilty of it now, and probably will be when I have kids. Was my brother in danger? Yeah he was. Was that a good thing or a bad thing? I believe it was absolutely a good thing. We need to get back to raising kids that way. Let them risk their lives every once in a while. Make them tougher. Hit them a little more. Yeah, yeah, I know I don't have kids yet so I can't really talk. But still. That's my advice for today.

I asked him for a quote to sum up his experience from that day, and being ever the miser with words, he said this:

"I feel like I almost died for a $12 dollar dip-net.

The Groom will probably be the first in my "Meet The Brothers" set of posts, which I'll try to have up this week sometime.

Other Non-Chinese Fire Drilled Drives Down Memory Lane: (GO READ THEM!)

Sal's Memoir: The Blackbird Song. (This is so far a 5 part story, and you won't regret clicking the next button.)


  1. You ran across the road to get a net?

    I believe that, yes, "DIP" is an appropriate term to use here.

  2. HAHAHAHA Maybe I'll send my ex across a busy freeway for a gum wrapper. After all, gotta clean up the world and that would kill two birds with one stone...or car..or SUV...or truck.

  3. Link me up bay-bee:

  4. BS...that's the coolest set of initials...mine are BM...HA! That's so funny too! Fitting, don'tcha think?

    Wait...that wasn't the point. Umm...Oh! Yeah! We have a Sheridans...its a frozen custard place. NOM NOM NOM that's a diabetics yourself dead and then climb into the freezer...

    wait...if your dead you can't climb in the freezer. Someone has to put you there.

    I'm thinking that wasn't the point either.


    It's Monday

    I got up at 4:30am

  5. Your daddy and my mother would get along famously.. only my mother cleaned apartments and the whole area of them, like the halls yadda yadda.. You don't know how much stuff came to OUR house when someone else left it there when they moved...

  6. I think this should have a subtitle "Growing up Oklahoma"

  7. Make them tougher - Ward would agree with you there.
    His Dad would have done the same kinda thing.

  8. Ummmmm, yeah...I have been guilty of sending my boys out of my van to pick up something on the side of the road. Does that make me a bad parent? NO! You know why? My kids now find things THEY THEMSELVES use in their own lives. The difference is the only one of them that has a child cannot send the child yet because he's too young! LOL! Great story!

  9. Love the Frogger game reference. I can just imagine it now. Loved the quote from your brother too. Putting the whole thing in perspective.

  10. I did this with my grandma. She had one of those el Camino's and she'd make whatever grandkids she could round up ride around with her on sunday night which was when everyone set their trash out. Good times!

  11. I see nothing wrong with this.

    Kids are like tools, you have to use them for the right jobs.

  12. That's funny. I don't find anything wrong with it either. When I was around three or four, my Mom was driving down the interstate in California, and she and my brother jumped out of the car (he was twelve I think) to pick up a four foot by six foot wool canvas out of the middle of the road. It's still hangs on their wall today, or rather my brothers now, but...

  13. One of my parents friends taught his 3-year-old kid a cool trick - at parties, if you tell him that you're thirsty, he'll go to a cool, grab a beer and bring it over to you while saying "cold brew?" That is probably the only reason that I could ever think of to have a kid.

    Oh, and I posted a MM this week!

  14. Dude this is hilarious! And I'm pretty sure I was almost chose once to get something for your Dad.

  15. grandma was a dumpster diva. True story.

    I was thinking Frogger before you even said it! Too funny.

    Link me up, Scottie! Er, Travis.

  16. Ok . . . I totally agree with you. Kids nowadays are nothing like they were when we were growing up. Kids need to be spanked. I'm not saying beat them, just spank them. Put the fear of God in them. That's the problem with kids today. I got a Memoir Monday brewing in my head at the moment . . .

  17. haha..! your dad reminds me of my dad's brother. He's like that with his kids. Everyone criticizes him.

    Looking forward to reading about your brothers!

    Here's my linky thing:

  18. sweet momma ! what kinna turrble man wuz yo faddah??

    just kidding

    THAT'S FREAKING AWESOME.. and the aerostar visual.. classic. Kids should have to hone their video gamin skills before actually playing them.. like dodging traffic before playing froggah.

    Did it have a scale?

  19. That story is soo funny. I'm guilty of picking up items, no matter what or where. here's my link:

  20. After reading that, I SO don't feel bad at all for telling my 3 year old daughter to go play in traffic. At night. While wearing black.

    Okay, I never told her to do that, but still, I agree that we should scare the shit out of our kids once in a while so they can truly "appreciate" life.


  22. You all learned a lot from this man, and the love shows.

    I bet good money that if you decide to have kids of your own, you'll be pulling similar shenanigans.

    Was roadkill off limits?

    Link me up, please.

  23. My dad stops on the side of the road to pick shit up even to this day. It's embarrassing, really. But seriously, the man can see a quarter, on the highway, like a mile away. Strangest shit I have ever seen!

  24. Love, love, LOVE the new look of your blog, T! Simply fab!

    LOL. Your parenting advice is dead-on for a non-parent. So was mine. Thinking about how you want to parent before you have kids is the best way to retain a sense of humor once you do - because you will be laughing your ass off at the stupid shit you thought you were going to do once you had kids because kids have a way of confounding even the best-laid plans of their parents.

    P.S. Missed you, too. Let's wait awhile on the hit - I need to use the insurance for a bit!

  25. Hi Travis,
    Great story. Sounds like you had a really good life with your dad. Kids today need more character building and trials by fire. Take care have a great week.

  26. Well Daffy and I have more in common than I thought b/c my initials are EBM. Yuck. Love the BS, though. ANd I was the Queen of Frogger back in the day. Man, I miss my Atari!!!

    Great story! I need to get back on the Memoir Monday bandwagon. You've got quite the following!

  27. lol - I think these sorts of childhood life-endangering experiences are priceless. Probably because I have so many of them.
    Oh, and P.S. Travis? I love your blog,and love that you follow and comment on mine, but please, PLEASE get the difference between England and Australia sorted! Otherwise I'm gunna have to start referring to you as Dutch.

  28. Thats a good way to get some good stuff!

  29. P.S. Link me up!

  30. Travis...I didn't know your dad, but MAN WAS HE AWESOME. You see I know that he was awesome because he and my dad are like identical strangers. I remember more than once jumping out to get buckets and crap like that off of the INTERSTATE! My dad has gloves, tie downs, buckets, and all kinds of crap that he's found on the highway and/or interstate and/or back roads. My dad is a stud and so was yours.

    GREAT STORY! Proof once again that OK and MT are more alike than I'd care to believe...heh

  31. Great story!! My husband has done this a time or two.

  32. Great story....your dad sounds awesome. Happy New Year!

  33. Lucky you got to keep shit. My dad, the Drivers Ed teacher, would make me get out and clean things off the road. We would pass a box or bail of hay on 69 South and he would pull over and say, "Justin, go get that out of the road. Move it to the side, its dangerous." Semis and shit...

  34. I think your dad and my mom might have been soulmates cuz my mom's favorite activity has always been digging things out of the trash. Everytime I get rid of something, I find her wearing it the next day. Like a pair of moldy leather flip flops that even the Good Will wouldn't take. Yep. She's wearing them. And she adores them too, so she says. Uh huh. Go on with your bad self, moms.

  35. My husband and brother in law (both Okies) collect items from the road, too. They call them "RT's" for Road Treasures.
    Sometimes it's "LT's" for Lake Treasures.
    I have my Monday Memoir up. Hook me up!!


The price for my stories is your conversation.