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A Junkyard Full of Redneck Memories

I am almost finished with the first Family Series of books. It is about one serious Redneck named Bill Manning, raised in a Junkyard, who can fix about anything mechanical, can hunt and gather like any good redneck, knows how to grab an alligator without losing a finger. Can throw a cast net and provide fish for an entire cook out with one cast, in other words can catch, clean, cook anything that walks or swims in Florida! However this Redneck was a little different, he was smart for his age and tried to hide it, as he was embarrassed by the fact he could answer most questions the teacher asked about the lessons he was assigned. I happened to have a good memory and liked to read and learn about new things!

 

I admired my older cousin Frank Pearson, son of Arthur Pearson of Pearson's Junkyard, he was able to fix radios, he used simple electrical tools to find and fix all kinds of radios, he was and still is a smart man. Well he saw something in me and encouraged me to get out and find something I wanted to do! Well it went like this! One day while working in the Junkyard in the middle of August down here in West Central Florida it was about 95 degrees, I was sweating profusely in the heat. My cousin Frank, a man I respected walked up to me and said," Son, you are too smart to stay at this Junkyard for the rest of your life, go find something you like to do and use that brain God gave you!" It took a few years to find it but I found it in the Fire Service, and the rest they say is history!

 

Now 30 plus years later, I still love my job. Funny thing is, I sweat way more in my bunker gear during a fire than I ever did working in the sweltering heat of a 20 acre tract of land loaded with metal piled over 30 feet high that had absorbed heat all day long and kept the temperatures near 100% most of the day! Imagine that! I love it! In this book you will meet some of the nicest people that ever lived, some of the strongest men, some of the strongest women, some of the normal Florida rednecks that just happened to live and work at a Junkyard!

 

These are all true stories! Some may seem to be made up, but I can name names, give dates and get eye witnesses to each and every story in the book! That to me is what makes them so funny, they all really happened! I am trying to record them for my family to help keep them alive, as with the passing of older members of the family a lot of our history is lost. I hope to save some of it for generations of rednecks in the future, as somewhere along the sands of time will be a redneck with his flying saucer up on cinder blocks as he tries to figure out how to use a coat hanger to fix his flux capacitor!

 

Here is a little sample of a true story that is titled,” Watermelon Head” You will have to buy the book to see why it is titled that! LOL

 

Nice thing about living in a junkyard is that there was always something broke sitting around you. I was always tearing things apart and putting them back together. Always a fixer of things or best described as trying to fix them.   Sometimes I could fix them and sometimes I couldn’t. What was nice about it was that you never got hollered at for breaking something. I mean, come on, it was already broken when I got it. When I got it back together and it didn’t work I would quietly slip it back into the surrounding junkyard and not say anything to anyone. If I was able to fix it, it would be taken to everybody I could find to show it to and sometimes even customers selling junk would get a story of my mechanical ability. Then one day a guy offered me $5.00 for a small lawnmower I had fixed. I could not believe my luck, what a fool.

 

It was sold. It was loaded into the trunk of his car and both of us, no doubt, felt we had gotten the best of this deal. The buyer realized that for $5.00 he had a running lawnmower with a blade and that was a good deal. I, on the other hand, had no overhead except what little labor I had put into fixing that little mower. I envision myself as a millionaire in no time, living high on the hog and eating ice cream every night. I thought I was headed for the big time when suddenly the realization of overhead appeared.

 

I put the $5.00 in my pocket but before I could even think about buying candy, Julius, my older first cousin, who actually looked like a low land gorilla but with bigger arms and could actually walk upright for more than a few steps, suddenly appeared. He grabbed me, picked me up, held me upside down and kept shaking me until the money fell out of my pocket. Then unceremoniously he dropped me to the ground, looked at me with a sideways grin and had his evil laugh right in my face. I thought to myself “One day Julius Pearson, you just wait and one day…” The thought of actually facing Julius face-to-face trading punches with him quickly faded away. One of the reasons his arms were so big was that he always picked up heavy things. In fact, I remember many a time not having a chance to change a tire on a full-size car because you did not have a car jack the right size when you would see Julius walking by. People would just say “Julius please lift this car up so I could take the tire off.” Julius would then walk over, lean his back against the side of the car, bend his knees, grab the fender with both hands and then lift the car up high enough for you to take the flat tire off. I know you will say that this is not possible but I will tell you this, I will take a lie detector test and I will bring witnesses to the same event. So let’s just say, he was strong.

 

Over that summer I learned not to offer anything for sale with Julius in sight. I never made a lot of money but I gained a lot of valuable experience. It was in my time at the junkyard and under Julius’s tutorage as a financial advisor that I discovered that people would accept far less than they really wanted for an item they brought in. You just had to have a steely resolve, squint like Clint Eastwood and if the offer was refused to just turn and walk away. He would also be known later as Jewius Pearson. I never understood that until I got much older. I just knew it had something to do with saving money. It was also that summer that I was included as one of the guys. I guess the year before I was too small for Julius to pick on. It is amazing what one year, four inches of growth spurt in height and ten pounds of weight will do to get you noticed by your way bigger and way stronger than you first cousin.

 

That was the year I also learned just what the expression, “… mean as the junkyard dog” truly meant. Well in Webster’s dictionary under canine erectus, subsection Junkyard, is a picture of Julius wearing his greasy ball cap. I think it was of his first arrest for beating people up in a bar. He was 14 years old at the time. Of course, the police did not believe he was 14. He was only 5’8” tall, 180 pounds, large thick chest, and arms that looked like they had been surgically placed on him, the donor being a silverback gorilla that he had personally beat to death with his bare hands. That by itself would describe my cousin Julius.

The book will be at the editor in a couple of weeks!

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