Monday, September 2, 2013

Rolling Your Own

                My uncle Dale worked at the same place with my dad for a short while. They worked at a factory in Greensburg, Pennsylvania. Walworth made valves of sizes from two and a half inches to three feet in diameter of brass, iron, and stainless steel. The company did everything from casting them in the foundry to shaping, welding, cutting, and assembling them. Once they were assembled, they were inspected and the high pressure valves were tested.

                They made two types of valves, a ball valve and a wedge valve. The ball valve had a round ball-type device for closure. It fitted into an angled ring that regulated or stopped the flow of the contents.

                A wedge valve worked much in the same way. The closure device was wedge shaped and would slide up and down between two planed surfaces. Both type of valves were opened and closed by spinning a wheel that caused a screw to raise and lower the ball or wedge. The surfaces of the ball, wedge, and each surface had to be cut and polished so that the surfaces fit snugly.

                Dale rode to work with my dad and two other men. When they drove by one house, a shaggy collie-looking dog would chase the car, barking. Day after day the dog would run beside their car and bark. It was annoying to all, but especially to Uncle Dale. For some reason, it really irritated him.

                One day, Dale asked my dad to stop the car at a saw mill before they got to the dog’s house. Dale got out of the car and walked to the discarded wood slab pile. Moving a few, he selected one and carried it back to the car.

                Dale walked to the back of Dad’s car and asked him to open the trunk. Once Dad opened the trunk, Dale climbed inside, holding the slab in his hands. Dad slipped behind the wheel and drove away. The dog ran out at the approach of Dad’s automobile and started yapping. Dad was driving a little slower than normal because of his passenger in the trunk. Dale extended the slab out past the side of the car. When the car drove by the annoying mongrel, the slab caught the cur and knocked it off its feet. The dog gave a loud yelp and tumbled off the side of the road in a cloud of dust. It rolled across the berm and disappeared done a small hill.        Dad stopped the car a short way down the road. Dale climbed out, closed the trunk, and got back into the car after tossing the slab away.

                The outcome, when Dad would drive by the dog’s house, he would see the dog in the yard, but it never chased my dad’s car again.

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