‘Sir’




‘Sir’

Originally uploaded by jayfherron.

As I’ve said before-they called my fathers father “Sir”. As kids we never called him Grand dad or Pops or any thing endearing like that,we all called him Sir.
As grandfathers go,this was a great guy-out of my two he was my favorite.
Sir was a quiet man-its been too long ago so my memory is not accurate,but I honestly cannot remember him saying much at all.My grandmother-we called her Wickie,she made up for his quiet ways.
Both of my grandparents-Wickie and Sir-were interesting people. During the days of ‘Hooverville’ in Washington where all the broken promise veterans encamped to get the government to make good on the promise they broke…Wickie would make buckets of coffee and my dad as a kid carried those buckets over to the waiting vet’s-cold and damp. These were the same vets-with wives and babes camped along withier thier husbands-were chased off by the mounted calvery-the US Calvery,led by MacArthur-ordered by President Hoover.
Sir at one time was a river boat pilot which back when he was given that title it meant that he hung over the front of a river boat and looked for logs stuck in the river…he had this job when he was a teenager.
Sir was born the same day that the state of Washington was given statehood. I mistakenly said the other day he was born in 1899-his birth date is November 11,1889. It facinates me to know that as a boy I held this mans hand to cross the street,a man who lived in the days before telephones.
I am not sure how my grandparents ended up in Washington DC. My grandfather lasted his life out there as an iron worker-setting steel in many of the post world war two buildings in the city-he even worked the iron when they gutted the White House and renovated the entire structure. Once Sir gave me an old wooden handled claw hammer and stamped in the handle was the government identication-he told me to take care of it because the government must have paid a lot of taxpayers money for it. I still have it and always felt that it came from that job at the White House,he seemed to hint at that when he gave it to me.
I had heard that during the depression my grandparenets did all kinds of thing to make ends meet. My grandmother took in sewing for the upper class and many of her clients were almost as poor so they bartered a lot of the time-my grandparents apartment was filled with objects of exotic back grounds,happily I have a few artfacts from their home.
I was told Sir walked across DC with a small tool box that had red and silver paint in cans and brushes and spirits and stencils-and for seven cents each he would walk across the city and paint the fire call boxes brite red and in silver would stencil the numbers on the box…but after the depression steel was going up everywhere and my grandfather became well known in his field-that may be where the title’ Sir’ came from.
My grandfather once took me to the museum of natural history-he and my uncle had been working that job during its construction. He told me to be in bed when he came home from work that day-that was all he said. That meant I had to be in bed around four in the afternoon so Wickie let me lay in her bed in the bedroom,a place I had never been before,and I tried my best to sleep but the room was filled with treasures for a boys eyes and the anticipation of as WHY I was tod to be in bed so early.
Sir came home about five and I lay there trying to listen to see if I could hear conversation-but they never talked.
After it got really dark out Sir came in and woke me and after I dressed we went out front and caught a bus and went into the city-just me and him. We went up by the Washington Monument and sat on the grass and ate thesehard boiled eggs Sir had brought in a sack. He had this little piece of wax paper that had salt and pepper mixed up in it and we sat there in the grass and peeled these eggs and rolled them in the pepper mix and watched and waited and chewed on those dry old eggs.
Then down Constitution Avenue came these blinking lights and sirens and we got up and headed for the din and there was the neatest thing I’d ever seen. A big riggers truck was pulling a huge locomotive down the street-the truck with its yellow flashing lights and police cars and thier red lights and it was all exciting. I think I was the only kid there-but that might have been because it was so special and my grandfather was so special that I might not have noticed any body else. It is so cool to go to that museum and see that big green engine sitting there and recalling my own personal experience with that big machine.
When my young family became homeless and ended up out in these woods miles from town-we did’nt a car and I would get up up and walk out of here every morning around three-my mind would think of Sir walking across that city painting those boxes and the jobs I usually held had a great deal to do with some of the larger construction jobs andone in particular I hauled all of the iron/steel to the project-the south endzone of the Florida Field.
I’d alway wished Sir could see-and much of the time I feel that he did see.

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