Ike Willis

Discussion in 'In Memoriam' started by Ike Willis, Feb 5, 2017.

  1. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Afternoon,

    Friday Night Fun
    One crisp fall evening when I was about 11, maybe 12, I was at the kitchen table doing my schoolwork. It was Friday night but I didn't want it hanging over my head all weekend. It was 9:30 pm and I just finished it up. Gramps was sitting in his corner of the kitchen, listening to country music on his old Philco. Real country, Bob Wills or Hank Sr.
    I heard Ike's truck grind into the back yard and squeal to a stop. Doors slammed, kitchen door opened and in came a short, round gal followed by Ike. Ike said this is Terry and introduced Terry to the family. Gramps just sat there grinning, not taking his eyes off Terry's chest. Then Ike asked Dad if Hop can go with us, I need him to help me move some of Terry's stuff. Everyone called me Hop. Dad said yeah, if his schoolwork is done, have him back by midnight. I squeezed into the truck beside Terry. She took up a lot of my side of the seat. Terry wasn't really fat, just comfortably so. She has a very cute face and bubbly voice and laugh. And, she smelled good. We headed back to town, skirted the edge and wound up a steep hill overlooking part of town. Ike drove back into an unfenced field far enough the truck wouldn't be seen from any roads or streets. Then, we all got out and unloaded the back of the truck. Out came a large tank, like the ones they have oxygen in and two boxes of stuff I couldn't identify in the dark. Terry held a flashlight while Ike layed out a large dark fabric object and a big spool of thin nylon cord. "This is a balloon and that tank is helium, help me fill it." I helped Ike hold the balloon up while he fastened the end to the nozzle, turned it on and we could hear helium hiss into the balloon. It slowly took shape into one, huge dark blue balloon. Ike taped a strip of foil to the side of the balloon, tied off the end then tied a small flashlight to the line as we released the balloon. It rose into the night air fairly fast, the lit flashlight swinging underneath. Higher and higher it rose.
    The gentle breeze took it out over part of town. Eventually we could hear voices and shouts as the swinging light on the balloon was spotted. The balloon, being dark blue, couldn't be seen. The foil on the side reflected light in an eerie way. We played around with our "mysterious light in the sky" as the local radio station and newspaper called it. We would rell it in low, let it rise high, up and down long into the night. Finally tiring of our sport, Ike cut the cord and let it drift up and away.
    Terry worked at the town's Woolworth store. It's what we had before WalMart came to town. The helium tank belonged to the store and we had to sneak it back. I don't know where Ike got the balloon. All went well and we headed home, to wait and see what commotion we caused. Terry came home with us. Somehow I knew she would. Well, the strange swinging, rising light in the sky was the talk of the town for several days. It even made newspapers in other towns. Sheriff Hagan came by and visited Dad and Gramps a few days later. As he was leaving he noticed the spool of nylon line still in the back of Ike's truck. He looked at me, grinned, then left. I think Sheriff figured it out but nothing was said.
    And that's how farm boys amused themselves in the late '40's early '50's.
     
    #91
  2. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Haha...my favorite so far!
     
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  3. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Mornin'

    Fishing
    Anyone here fish? Best sport there is. Anyone can be a good fisherperson, no matter your physical condition.
    One Saturday morn in the early spring of my 10th or 11th year, dad and gramps left for town in the truck. Ike was in the garage getting both tractors ready for field work. I was helping, whatever I could. After they had gone, Ike fished a quart bottle of warm beer from behind the tool boxes. "Last one Hop. Find a clean coffee can and I'll split it with ya". We saved all our empty coffee cans so I was soon sipping the warm bitter bubbly liquid. A few hours later dad and gramps came chugging up the lane into the yard. The truck had an odd assortment of boards in the back. I went to help unload asking what was this for. Gramps answered it was a boat, what in hell's it look like? And that was the beginning of many happy hours spent on the water.
    Dad and gramps went to work on the boat the very next day. I was amazed at how they could work without plans or blueprints. They wrote measurements down on paper, cut lumber, drilled holes to bolt rib pieced together and in a few days, a beautiful jon boat was ready for paint. Back then, good wood was still easily obtainable. The ribs were redwood, the rest cypress. No plywood whatsoever. Dad bought some dark green boat paint and gave me the job of painting it. Angel wanted in on the painting. We gave it two coats. When they dried, dad filled the boat with water to swell the seams tight. Then came launching day. Dad, gramps and Ike got it on the truck and off we went to the pond. A lot of happy hours were spent in that boat that summer. At some point an old Evinrude 1 1/2 H.P. outboard motor was acquired. It was perfect for that pond. It would idle down to barely moving and throttle up to about as fast as a man could row. One afternoon stands out in my memory. Gramps and I were fishing by ourselves. I was in the stern running the motor and gramps was on the bow. I ran in close to the bank under a low hanging tree branch, knocking a huge snake off his perch and into the boat. All hell broke loose. Gramps, nears as afraid of snakes as Daryl, grabbed up the canoe paddle and started wildly whacking at the snake, shouting the whole time. I cut the motor and drew my bare feet up so the snake wouldn't go up my pant leg. Snake was thrashing frantically, looking for a way out of this crazy place. Gramps was yelling, hitting everything but the snake, with his paddle. I was fearing for my life when gramps hit my big toe a mighty whack, breaking it. That was enough. I went over the side, along with the snake. Gramps sat down breathing hard from his workout. When we got home dad asked " Hop why you limping"? Another time dad and Angel were fishing together. She was using my casting rod and reel and was not quite up to par yet. Dad was running the motor, Angel was on the mid seat. She rared back to make a cast, snagged dad's hat with her bass lure and cast it out into the pond.
    We kept our boat chained to a tree at the pond but took our motor home each time. One day while getting ready to go out in the boat, some other guys were fishing at the pond. One came over and asked dad if the boat was for sale. They haggled awhile ending in the sale of not only the boat but the motor too. I was crushed. But, before that summer was over, dad and gramps built another boat even better. Best yet, dad got a 5 HP outboard motor that ran great. We had that boat and motor for a number of years. I still have my first bait casting reel that was dad's and given to me. It's still in perfect working order. I think of those days whenever I handle it.
     
    #93
  4. Patsy Faye

    Patsy Faye Veteran Member
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    Another great story :)
     
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  5. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    You're doing a wonderful job of sharing "Ike's" your dad's stories with us Bethanne....thank you so much. :)
     
    #95
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  6. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Mornin'

    "Nother Fishin' Story
    About 5 miles from our farm was a place called "tractor pond'. A bridge crossed the pond and the road led onto a river and another bridge. The pond was quite large and deep in places. Like one end of the bridge where a tractor slid over the bank and into the pond. It totally disappeared underwater. No one tried to get it out.
    One end of the pond was swamp, which drained into the pond. The other end of the pond drained out and into the river farther off. When the river flooded so did the pond. Some great fishing could be had there. Dad loved to fish for largemouth bass.Big brother Ike didn't like fishing much so Dad did his best to teach me the art of casting a fishing lure to a point exactly where I wanted it to land. At home, I would lay a short piece of 2x4 on the ground, back off a distance and cast a line with a lead weight at the board, hour after hour. Not to brag, but I got very good at it. From different distances, using Dad's old steel casting rod and Pflueger Akron casting reel he gave me and I still have to this day. I could plop my weighted line down near either side of the board or on it if so desired. Many a summer evening, Dad and I would sneak off to our pond hidaway and fish for bass until dark. It would take too many fish to feed our family of 8 so we released them back into the pond. I've never seen Dad so relaxed and happy as during those stolen moments on 'our' pond.
    Bethanne
     
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    Last edited: Mar 4, 2017
  7. Ina I. Wonder

    Ina I. Wonder Very Well-Known Member
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    Thank you Bethanne, You are such a good daughter to help us deal with Ike's passing, and at a time when you're grieving for your father.

    I know that I miss the encouraging conversations that he and I would have through PMing. Your father did much to help me except the passing of my husband.

    And, I'm happy to tell you that his advice on talking to myself is working rather well. Since your father has passed, I've started acting like it is his voice that is talking to me. I find I'll listen to him when I know I won't listen to my self. :rolleyes: :D
     
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  8. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Thank you so much for the compliment !! Doing this is also helping me as I type his stories out !! I am SO glad I made this book for him years ago, I'm sorry I don't get a story out everyday as I planned. I went back to work 2 weeks ago, but I plan on posting all his stories that I have, just may take a little longer then I planned !!! :)
     
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  9. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    We are just so thankful you are posting "Ike's" stories Bethanne, and we don't want you to feel any time pressure in sharing...just share them as you feel you have the time to do so. It means so much to all of us just to be able to read them and hear your dad talking with us still through each one of them. :)
     
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    Last edited: Mar 5, 2017
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  10. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Mornin' All
    Bethanne here....sorry so long since the last story! We had a major storm here Monday night...tornado did quite the damage. It hit my neighborhood as it cut across town. My house was spared by just 3 houses between mine and the worst damage in our neighborhood. It is a terrible mess !!
    But on with the next story !!

    First Date
    Bet you all remember your first date. Where did you go on that magical moment in your life? Me, mine was unremarkable. When I was a freshman in high school I only befriended 3 other guys. They were considered undesireables by the little student groups, just as I was. So, I wound up going on a double date with one of my pal's sister. He could legally drive and had a car. I didn't yet have a car or license. She didn't seem to pleased to be with me. She must have heard the rumors too. One date stands out in my memory though. Before I met the girl I would mary, I had moved from the farm to town to work in a woodworking plant. This was about '58 or '59. About 15 miles north of my town was a small Mayberry-like town. I dated a girl named Kay whose dad was a barber in that town. I'll call him Floyd, in keeping with the Mayberry theme.
    Well, Floyd forbid me from coming to his house. He told Kay he probably couldn't keep her from dating guys like that G*d damn Hoppy but he could keep me out of his house. My popularity reached everywhere. Mayberry was still in my county, on the Northern edge. That'll be important later in the story.
    I picked Kay up one Friday night and we headed back to my town to attend a drive-in movie. In the back seat of my car was my steel picnic cooler, full of ice and beer. All the makings of a fun evening. After the movie, we rambled about town awhile, then drove back to Mayberry. I should mention here that I was driving a mildly hopped up '48 Plymouth club coup. It had a racing cam, hi compression head, dual carbs and more.
    Mayberry is bordered on the South side by a railroad track and the North side by a highway. You turn off the highway at the main street, left, back down the main street. We were on our third lap when I got over ambitious rounding a turn. Too much gas in second gear, tires squealing, car skidding around, all that attracted the attention of Barny Fife, lawman.
    Well, on the next lap through the down town, Barny Fife runs out into the middle of the main drag, waving his flashlight , about a block ahead of me. I stop, Kay yells "back up around the corner and let me out, my dad will kill me."
    Fat Barny is still a ways off, huffing and puffing closer. I stomped on the gas, slammed the shift lever into reverse, popped the clutch, horrors. I had hit second instead of reverse. We leapt forward, nearly mowing down Barny, and stalled. By then Barny was standing beside my door, gun waving at me, blowing his stupid whistle until he saw his backup running over. Kay buried her face in her hands and sobbed.
    So, they got us out of the car, Barny's partner drove while Barny made us walk down the street the block to the combo police station/ city hall/ courthouse, with our hands up. He was putting on a show for the few townspeople still out on the streets.
    They searched my car, found the beer, said something about a drunk driving charge on top of the attempt to run down a police officer. Then they found a .22 air pistol under the seat. I used it to put rabbits on the dinner table. Barny mumbled something about a concealed weapon. A search of the trunk turned up a spotlight, binoculars and two cased shotguns, probably stolen, Barny wrongly surmised.
    Kay was released to her dad. I was locked up. Before Kay was sent off, I asked her to call a number in the morning. Next morning, Sheriff Hagan came by. Mayberry was still in his county. Sheriff Hagan joked about how he should leave me there, just because. He said a young lady phoned and told him an unbelievable story and he just had to check it out. Then he talked to Barny, no doubt telling him how honest, upright and harmless I really was. In the end, I was let go but told they wouldn't mind if I never came back there again. I never saw Kay again.
    Thank God Sheriff Jack Hagan was a childhood pal of my dad.


    Bethanne
     
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  11. Babs Hunt

    Babs Hunt Veteran Member
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    I'm glad your house was spared Bethanne and I hope your neighbors will all have their damage taken care of real soon.

    Your dad had a really exciting life and this story is just one of the many we are so glad you are sharing with us. What a "pistol" your dad was when he was young, he definitely seemed to like taking life to the limits. :) Thanks for another great story Bethanne. :0
     
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  12. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Bethanne here for your next story:

    Your Worst Date
    What was the worst date you ever had? I told you about mine. My sister, Angel's first date was probably her worst.
    When Angel was about fourteen she went on her first date. We were both going to town school then. Angel met this boy at school I'll call Freddie and he asked her out to a movie that Friday night. Freddie couldn't legally drive nor could Angel. So, I noticed Angel was being extra sweet and nice to me for several days. Then one evening a day or so before her date, she told me about it, about how nice Freddie seemed and would I please-oh-please drive her to town Friday night? All I had to do was drop her off at the movie theater and pick her up at the drug store/ soda fountain about two hours later. "Okay, I guess so", I must have said.
    Friday night finally arrived. Angel came down the steps and I gotta admit, she was a pretty sight. Cute as a spotted puppy under a red wagon, as gramps would have said. We stopped at the movie house and I saw Freddie standing there in his Sunday best. I watched them go in, then drove off wondering what to do for two hours.
    Driving by the diner, I noticed Wanda was working so I parked and went in. Wanda was a senoir in high school. That put her a year or two older than me but I knew she kind of liked me so I felt comfortable talking to her. I whiled away the two hours drinking coffee and chatting with Wanda whenever she had time. When it was time to pick up Angel, I parked in front of the drug store/ soda fountain but before I could go in Angel came stomping out, arms folded and a hateful look on her face. She got in my truck, slammed the door and just sat there. "God, what now"?, I thought but was afraid to ask. I finally did muster up the courage to ask how things went.
    "Freddie put his arm around me".
    "That's a normal thing".
    "THEN HE GRABBED MY TITS". She turned to look at me to see if I would laugh.
    I so wanted to laugh but feared for my life. When I could say it without giggling, I ask what she did then.
    "I threw my Coke in his face, punched him hard as I could in his crotch then elbowed him in the side of his head as he bent forward". I felt kind of bad for Freddie. "And the manager ushered me out and told me not to come back". I cut loose with a laugh until I saw Angel staring at me with that killer look of hers. I asked her how long she was at the soda fountain waiting. She said since about fifteen minutes after I left her off.
    Monday I saw Freddie at school. He was the guy with the purple looking eye and cheek. He saw me walking toward him and tried to dodge me, probably thinking I was going to thump him. I asked him how he was. Freddie grunted something. I told him Angel still liked him, sort of. She just didn't like being touched unless she initiated touching. That must be a family thing. We all were like that. Freddie should have been warned. Angel never dated Freddie again.
    As far as I know, the rest of her dates were more or less normal.

    Bethanne
     
    #102
  13. Ike Willis

    Ike Willis Veteran Member
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    Good Morning ! Bethanne here for the next story .

    Ever Wreck Your Car Doing Something You Knew Was Stupid ??

    Somewhere, I think Wyoming, I rolled my truck on it's side. After leaving Nebraska I was wandering across Wyoming on the back roads, the blacktop rural highways. There was little traffic, fewer cops, and I could poke along at about 40 MPH without being in anyone's way. My old rust block of a '59 Chevy 6 banger seemed to like that speed best.
    Ahead was a little rise in the landscape. On my right, atop that rise in a pasture, stood an antelope, watching the road. I noticed an open gate and without thinking, drove through, shifted into second gear, and went off in happy pursuit of brer' antelope.
    I had no intentions of running him down, just wanted to see how fast he could run. 30, 33, 37, 39 MPH, he was really traveling. I saw him give a curious hop and change directions, then I saw why. He hopped over a small erosion cut big enough to wreck an already wreck of a truck.
    I stood on the brake and cranked the wheel hard left. She went over easy onto her right side. All the beer in the cooler on my seat dumped, some exploded open, spraying the inside of the cab and me.
    The road was in sight just down the little hill but no houses anywhere in sight. Before I could get out and walk down, a Ford Bronco stopped on the road, backed up to the gate and drove where I was. A thin, tanned middle aged guy in a big hat and wearing sunglasses, sat at the wheel. I explained I was just hurrahin' a antelope and upset. He didn't say anything. Just got out, hooked up a cable from his front mounted winch to my truck, and pulled her over upright.
    He said I should check my truck's fluids, some oil and battery acid might have leaked out. Then, before he drove off he said next time I wanted to chase antelope in his pastures, I should ask.
    And that's about all I remember of Wyoming.

    Bethanne
     
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  14. Chrissy Cross

    Chrissy Cross Veteran Member
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    Ha ha, nice folk in Wyoming...seems like your dad could get in trouble anywhere. :)
     
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  15. Joe Riley

    Joe Riley Veteran Member
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    Bethanne, that story should be named "The Beer and The Antelope"! Thanks!;)
     
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