Saturday, June 1, 2013

Off-centered Humor

Dale had an off-centered and unusual humor; actually his whole personality seemed a bit askew. He was a bubble off plumb on most things and most of the time. Cursing and lying were not spectator sports to him. If there had been Olympic Games for tall tales and foul language, Dale would have won gold or at least silver in both “sports.”
He was good at imagining things and using his imagination to create things. He would take old and broken machinery and by using parts from several of them he would make something useful to him. He would use the corner of my dad’s garage as his workshop, where he would cut, drill, and weld his creations, but he was equally at home dismantling a motor in the middle of his living room on the carpet. The shelves in my dad’s garage were filled with Redman tobacco cans and those cans were packed with nuts, bolts, washers and screws from his dismantled objects.
One contraption I can remember him making was a walk behind mower. It looked a bit like the garden tillers of today. It wasn’t like the commercial mowers where the blades are hidden beneath a protective dome. His was built like the farmer’s old hay mower with a cutting bar where the teeth scissored back and forth to cut the tall grasses. It was open and dangerous. But it worked.
The motor was mounted on a frame that he made from old pipes and through a series of pulleys and belts the mower bar and the mower was driven and self powered.
He got great pleasure in either stumping people or embarrassing them. The one incident I can recall most vividly was his oddest. It was the cane that he made.  A cane isn’t an odd thing unless it is created from something different, something exotic, or made of something unexpected. The cane that he made was all three.
It started out as the penis of a bull. Somehow he had gotten his hands on one. (One of his friends did have a slaughter house.) When he got it, it was fresh and supple. Tying a weight on both ends, He hung it over a tree branch that had the radius that he needed for the handle of the cane. He allowed it to hang for several days.
Once it had dried, he removed the weights and trimmed the ends. Coating the cane with several layers of shellac, it did indeed look like a wooden cane. He was in his glory when someone said "That is an unusual looking cane." or ask, “What kind of wood is that?”
He would hand the cane to the person and say, “You tell me.”
He would get this wolfish, self satisfying grin as the person handled it or he would actually laugh when the person tried to smell it or taste it. He loved to watch the reaction when he told them it was the penis of a bull.
What was especially amusing to him was when the person was a woman and he told them what exactly what it was, they would squeal and drop it. I don't know what he ever did with that cane.

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