Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Man I Married

You have already met my ex-husband. What I did not tell you was how very intelligent he was. He did not have an education which he equated with being stupid. He was wrong. I also did not tell you how very funny he was. He did not realize that he was funny which made him even funnier. He was also an alcoholic which is sad.

I will start with his drinking. It makes some of the stories a little easier to understand.

My husband did not start out as a drinker. It was a gradual thing. But as the years passed (we were married for 20 years) his drinking increased. Beer was his choice and he was usually a "sleepy" drinker. By that I mean he would drink then get sleepy and go to bed.

But if he drank vodka which was the only hard liquor he drank he would want to fight. I cannot tell how many times he would call me to come get him. "They're picking on me," he would say. I would get to the bar just in time to see him and some other guy rolling on the ground fighting.

Once I got them separated the fight was over. Then he would get up, look at the other guy and say, " Man, that was a good fight. You want a beer?" And back into the bar they would go. I shake my head just thinking about it.

In case anyone has a concern about his temper, my husband never threatened or hurt my children or me. He thought that was the lowest thing a man could do. And that is something I would not have endured.

One evening a friend of my husband's had come to do some work on our television. My husband came in from the bar and sat to look thoughtfully at the man. After several minutes he said, "You know, for fifty dollars I could have you killed."

The man very quietly said that he would come back another time. He packed his tools and went home.

The next day my husband could not understand why the TV was not working. I told him he threatened to have the guy killed. He did not believe me.

After several days of no television my husband went looking for the man. Surprisingly he agreed to come finish his job.

It was late and I invited him to supper with us. As we were eating I told the man that my husband did not remember what happened and did not know why he had not returned right away to fix the television. He reluctantly and with his eyes peeking from under his brow looked at my husband and said, "Man, you threatened to have me killed."

My husband could not read. It embarrassed him and he went to night school for beginning readers. He learned a little bit. Then he got a new job and we moved out of state so there went his education.

However my husband could make anything. And I mean anything. Once a driver came into our junk yard driving his dump truck. My husband asked for a favor.

The driver lifted the dump bed on the truck with the hydraulic equipment. Then he would lower it again. My husband squatted on the ground watching the workings of the hydraulic system as the driver repeated the lift and return several times. Then he thanked the driver. He had seen all he needed to see.

My husband then proceeded to make a hydraulic lift system for one of our trucks. But he did not go buy materials. We had a junk yard. He used scrap metals that were just lying around. It worked perfectly.

He also built the winches to make our tow trucks. Again he just used scrap metal that was there. They turned out so well that he even made a few for colleagues in the business.

Like I said he was intelligent. He just thought everyone could do what he did.

My son owned a shop where he worked on his fleet of trucks. He was out taking care of business one day when a friend called him. "I thought you would like to know... Your dad's on television."

My son raced to the nearest place that had a set. There was his father, so drunk he had to sit on a tree stump to give his interview to a reporter.

He had been removing trees from the lot around my son's place of business to make more room. He was using a backhoe/front end loader to knock the trees over. One of the trees fell onto the power lines and took out the power for the whole area. More than 200 houses and companies were without power.

On top of that the power lines landed on a trailer my son used for staorage. The whole thing caught fire and everything was lost.

My son's father sat on the tree stump giving his slurred statement to the reporter. The machinery he had been driving was laying on its side near him in view of the cameras. My son was mortified.

My husband also owned a truck or two. A driver for one of his trucks was going up a small hill and somehow ruined the clutch. The truck had about 100,000 lbs of cargo. The friend who let them use a tow truck only had a small tow truck. Too small for the job but that was what was available.

Naturally my husband had been drinking. My son was with him to help try to get things moving.

They hooked up the tow truck. Then the police arrived. There were two males and a female. My husband was driving the tow truck. It was obvious that he not only had been drinking but that he still was. The police did not comment on that. He stood at the door of the truck talking to them.

Now my husband never ever gave any thought to what other people might think. He stood there talking to the police then abruptly went around the truck and to the back of it. The female officer followed him to make sure he was not trying to escape.

My son just held his head. He knew what was coming. Between the trailers of the truck, he set his beer down on one of them. Then he proceeded to unzip his pants and urinate. The female officer turned away in shock. The male officers were laughing so hard that one of them actually fell onto the ground. My husband finished and walked around the truck as if nothing had happened out of the ordinary.

One of the officers said that they needed to get the truck out of there or the truck would be impounded and all parties were going to jail.

A quick huddle was held to plan what they were going to do. My son got in the truck with the bad clutch. His father got in the tow truck and began to pull. My son got his truck started. It was not easy but he did it. The tow truck popped up in the air then came back down.

Off they went. They left the police looking in wonder at what had happened.

My husband was driving his truck. As he was going through an intersection in the city, a motorcycle ran the red light. The bike and the driver were under the truck when my husband stopped. He jumped out to help the motorcycle rider. When he looked under the truck he saw that there was no helping him.

The rider was tangled in the framework of the truck. In order to free him my husband would have to back the truck over him. It was not a good option. All he could do was crawl under the truck and try to give comfort to the man as he died.

That was the man I married. Most of these stories happened after we were divorced. My son actually told them to me and I promised I would include them here.

Most of them make it sound like he was a hopeless drunk. He actually never missed work because of his drinking. That is not to say that he was not drinking at work because he usually was. He was also basically a good man.

I have four beautiful children thanks to him. Each of them have traits of their father and each of them looks like him. I would be a pitiful person to think ill of a person who gave me all that.


  1. Yours is a truly loving and generous spirit. There is a strength in your account I marvel at --the kind of strength others (and I) are stronger for. My compliments and admiration.

    1. What a nice compliment. However I am afraid that I am just like everyone else... I have my mean-spirited moments too. My husband was a remarkable person but I could be just as angry with him as anyone else. And I think he was able to "push my buttons" in a way that no one else could. But I see so many of his good qualities in my children. How could I not be fond of him for that?

  2. I am always struck at your ability to look at your life in such a straightforward manner, and without any rancor or regret. It is refreshing.

    1. I have had such a joyous and happy life. There have been painful bumps there too but they only accentuate the good things. To know that you have been loved and can return the love makes for a very good life.

  3. It is obvious that you had a lot of admiration and love for your husband, Emma. However, it is very obvious from reading the incidents you recounted in this,post, that it must also have been a very tough love, at times. I was glad to read that his temper never resulted in any physical abuse, as so often happens when drinking is involved. Too bad about the downed power line and the loss of the storage shed.

    1. The kids and I still chuckle about some of the incredibly crazy things that happened around him. And when something incredibly crazy happens we might all look up and say that he would have done something like that. Even the loss of the shed and having to pay for some of the work that had to be done to restore power to the neighborhood could not keep my son from laughing at the whole unbelievable scenario. But that was the man I married.