Mail Sack, Easter 2013, Part #2

Some more mail on the subject of thankfulness:

Builder Jon Ross writes:

“William, I fully agree with you. Having traveled the world I am constantly reminded of how lucky I am to have been born here in America. As I get older, I have taken notice of many things that in my younger years I was way too rushed to notice. Happiness comes in the most simplest of things; for me it is good time with friends, making a beautiful weld or some other type of craftmanship. I enjoy your observations as you wax philosophical; perhaps this is because I share many of the same observations as you do.”

KR2/Corvair builder/pilot Steve Makish writes:

“William, very good post. I also knew men like the person you vividly describe. I was in Detroit during the 1967 riots and last year at my Fathers funeral I saw nothing has taken place of the destruction of 1967. The old man I knew was in his eighties when I was a kid and he was the only one around with a chain saw and would cut our winter wood for us. He lived in a tar paper shack and drove an old Hudson “terraplane” He had many truisms but the one that sticks in my mind was “do you understand all you know about it?”  Warmest regards your friend,   Steve. “

Builder Allen Oliver writes:

“William: FYI: The book “For Two Cents Plain” that Joe Goldman referred to is by Harry Golden (1902-1981).
Good luck at SnF. Regards.”–  ww)

Piet builder Harold Bickford writes:

“Hi William, Printed out the numbering system list and added to the manual; that is the best way to say thanks to you and Grace for your work (aside from actually building up the engine).

The Easter comments were appreciated. There is so much to be thankful for rather than complaining about things often out of our direct control. I also think too many folks just don’t get involved in things bigger than they are so it becomes really easy to miss the people and opportunities that come our way daily. Off to the shop…..Harold”

Zenith 601XL builder/flyer Dr. Gary Ray writes:

“William, you and Grace are from a small part of humanity that I am lucky to know.”

Zenith 650 builder Becky Shipman writes:

“William,I very much like stories like this. The truly important people in my life always have time – although the people who are considered important generally don’t have time for anyone.

This story reminds me of a man I knew in my youth – “Uncle” Elwin. No relative, but he was everyone’s uncle. He started out farming (in Maine – not very lucrative). In the summers he ran a small group of cottages on the Maine coast by day, and was a maintenance man in the local sardine cannery by night. In the winters he and his wife took a trailer to Florida and picked fruit – a migrant worker from Maine. I knew him because my parents rented a cottage from him every summer of my life. On dump day, uncle would put the trash in the back of his ’47 Chevy pickup, put his two dogs in the cab, and several of us kids would jump in the back with the garbage. We’d go to the dump, and help him unload, and then he’d help us scrounge for material to make a go-kart or whatever. On the way back something would generally fall off the pickup – it was showing its age.

Sometimes people would just treat him like he was stupid. One day he was digging holes and putting birch trees in the ground that had been cut off the stump, and someone said to him “You know, those will never grow like that.” And Uncle rubbed his chin, looked at the tree, and then looked at the person, and said “Ayuh, you know I think you’re right”. And went on with putting them in the ground. They were there to support some kind of pea vine, but Uncle didn’t feel the need to bother pointing that out.

People would come by while he was in the kitchen, cat in his lap, dogs at his feet, smoking a pipe in his rocker, and they’d tell him the water didn’t work in their cottage. ”Ayuh” was all he’d say. The person would go away frustrated, and uncle would sit and rock, and about half an hour later he’d get up, and go fix it. He wouldn’t go fix it until he figured out what was wrong, but lots of people felt he was just lazy.

Maine grows blueberries, and they are picked by migrant workers during the summer, who lived in tar paper shacks in the blueberry barrens. In his later years, Uncle had some land on a river near there, and when he drove through he would leave some food from his garden at the shacks. When he passed away, he willed his land to the local native american tribe “It was theirs to start with”.

Anyway, your story reminded me of Uncle Elwin, and a number of really important people I met during my life who were never in Who’s Who. Thanks for reminding me about what’s important. Becky”

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