Saturday, April 4, 2009

My friend Larry Wisdom


Larry Wisdom and I became good friends because we grew up together as neighbors. Larry lived behind me on the same block. Larry was a couple of grades older than me and I guess I looked up to him like a older brother. Larry was a very good person and lived his life that away. I can remember times he would sent me home because I was cussing in front of little sister. I don't remember Larry ever letting lose with an assortment of profanity. I became a better person by being reminded that a person does not need to cuss to get his point across.

After we graduated from High School and went our own ways. We were brought back together during the summer of 1966. Our fathers both worked for the railroad and they had a program that summer to hire kids of railroad families to work as brakemen from May to September. They hired Larry, Butch Gilstrap, myself and a kid from Poteau, who's name escapes my mind. Since it was a union job, we had to sign an agreement that we would quit the job effective by September when we went back to college. Larry came in late to the program and was told to go to work and he could sign the agreement later. Larry never signed the agreement. When he went back to school that fall, he was still earning seniority as a brakeman on the railroad. This paid off for him later on in life.

We had a lot of fun working that summer. The regular brakemen all took vacations that summer so that we could get a lot of hours. You would be called day or night about being sent out on the next train. We put in so many hours, up to sixteen hours a day. I remember going south on a freight train that stopped on a tassel that crossed a canyon. I had to climb up on a box car so I could signal with my lantern to go forward, stop, or back up. It was really far down to the bottom of that canyon. Then there was another time that the crew on the train had a good time at my expense. One of the knuckles, which couples one car to another had broken. They sent me back to the caboose to get a new knuckle and carry it back to the car that was broken. This must have been 3/4 of a mile and this thing weight one hundred plus pounds. After I exhausted myself getting it there, they all starting laughing because the stand practice is to disconnect the engine and go back on a side track to get the knuckle and bring it back. Larry and I worked together that summer and had the best of times.

My next hook up with Larry was went I got out of the Army in 1971. I went back to college at Southeaster and Larry came in at the semester. My oldest son was about two years old at that time and they became good friends. I thought it was strange that Larry was always coming around to see if Brian could go with him for an hour or so. Never inviting me. Come to find out, my kid was so cute, that Larry could get in on conversations with the young ladies going to school there. He was like a babe magnet.

I went to work two days after I graduated from Southeaster for the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission. Larry went on to become an air traffic controller at Tinker in Oklahoma City. Three years later I was promoted to a new job which required me to move to Oklahoma City. Guess what, I bought a house just a couple of doors down from Larry. We had some good times in Edmond. Our kids played together everyday, just like we did growing up. Larry moved back to Heavener after a couple of years and we didn't see each other as often. Larry later started having health problems and you know the rest. I really miss my good friend.

2 Comments:

At April 4, 2009 at 8:59 PM , Blogger John Inman said...

Paul, Cynthia will love this one about her brother. That's what we need, MORE blogs about growing up in Heavener and more from you, my friend. Thanks for signing back in.

 
At April 5, 2009 at 11:21 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good stories, Paul. Enjoyed 'em. - Jim Patterson

 

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