The silence…

Originally uploaded by jayfherron


I have to be honest. The way things went a few weeks ago have had an effect on my spirit.
My motivation has been rattled…

I’m getting ready for a phone call from my boss. Yes…well,no I do not work anymore because of my stroke-but I still refer to my former employer as my boss. Actually-I still have that sense that I have to ‘jump too’ when ever the call comes to get together.
Don’t get me wrong-I love getting the calls…knowing my boss considers me a friend (since we hav’nt worked together since 1990) and respects me for the achievements I led the company to during the time there. We had success’s…most likely the most beneficial employment I was ever able to keep (I’d say outside of trucking-yet I drove trucks at this company too…I pretty much did it all here).

The plan is to travel down the St.Johns River in his houseboat-to hear him describe it the thing sounds like a mobile home on pontoons. To hear how much he spent on it makes it sound like a home and not a boat….the flat screen TV set with full channel cable-dish (I’m not sure what they call them)-makes it sound like buying a river front home would be more practical,but what do I know? Keeping my own home together is enough.

I like the river trips my boss and I have done in the past. He grew up on the St.Johns and knows places from Jacksonville to Melbourne to get away and hide from the rush of life. He once took me to a camp site known as Possum Bluff…the only way there was by boat-and it was miles from anything.
I like that seclusion.

I never really could not figure it out why the guy likes me as he does. I think that it might be that when I first started with the outfit in the early 70’s I seemed ‘no count’ and had no motivation to succeed…we seriously had rocky roads-I’d have something happen and I’d quit,or they’d have something happen and I’d get fired…but it was one of those kind of places no one really minded who you were as long as you showed up and did a days work.
In other words-it was not the grandest jobs they had to offer…but it was jobs.

It was it this outfit that built my home…the ‘walked home’ home!
My wife and kids and I had come to a life living in a pup tent in the woods,the same woods in the photograph.
The outfit was a construction company that had a private landfill which was the dumping site for old form materials-lumber which once held concrete in position as it cured.
I used to work all day and then go down into the pit and dig out a few boards worth saving…and hitch hike almost 20 miles with my load.
Thus…the walked home home.

I know my boss knew this…the whole damned company did-the fool hippie who wanted that trash wood…they called it the ‘house that Crom built’…The Crom Corporation was the company’s name.
I didn’t know it all the way back them-but in his silence my boss ‘observed’ my diligence….no automobile-and a family living in a tent and here I am, this hippie coming and working his ass off,and this too…the walked home home.

Years into it all I ended up working there once more-what must of been my 50th re-hire…I was once again in the ‘yard’ as a laborer-a ‘yard dog’ is what they called us.
By mere fluke of chance-I convinced my boss that I could go out into the field (the ‘field’- reference to job sites around the tri-states of Florida Georgia and Alabama) and was capable of setting scaffolds with out being intimidated by the antics of construction superintendant…a long standing standard in the industry to have a ‘super’ be the most largest ass hole on any job.
I did it…they gave me a chance-and I was able to block the superintendants out.
Even an ass hole isn’t going to climb 90 or 100 feet in the air on a set of pipes to rant and rave…so being up on a swinging pipe high in the air had its redemption.
I was successful-the company sent me to Purdue-Calumet University for engineering scaffolding courses and WACO International School of Scaffolding. The experiences I had through the years as their laborer paid off in being adjusted to hard work and feeling better about it earning great money….most of which I dumped on others,as I have never been friend of money-lots of it I dumped on drugs-but that’s another story.

My boss was the first real out side person who heard the story of what happened to me in the barracks D.
After our final days together as employer and me…he fired me in 1990…very lucratively I might add,as I was one of the best scaffold men around at the time-and actually was fired in the morning and by evening had 10 offers to work for competitors,none of which I accepted.
But even after the firing the man stayed interested in me.
I learned from him years later I could have sued the company for the reason they had for firing me….and his perplexed state was why I never had interest in money. And…why I was the way I was?

I never really knew all of the mans feelings-he was just the boss. I never knew what or how he thought on a personal level-but then came the holiday of the tree (I call it crix-mix) and there came an invite to come on that day to have a meal.
I showed up on foot…miles from my own home-and I walked.
The following year…same thing.
The following year…another invite.
They mingled them into Thanksgiving-and those were better,as I enjoy Thanksgiving.
It was at one of those dinners that he asked me why?

I explained what happened-how I enlisted and wanted to serve my country.
I explained to him how I became broken. It was just the right moment-we were sitting up on his second floor deck watching the various members of his nephews and cousins and brothers and family playing volley-ball and other activity’s and it was emotional for me to be there seeing the family like his is-together.
I told him about New Years eve 1969-70 and even said how correct the Bible was about how brothers can be evil to their own brother-like Joseph being sold into slavery by his own brother’s,or Esau taking his brother Jacob’s birth right….
So I told him about being raped-it was amazing to be saying this to an outsider of some regards-and definitely not whom I ever thought to say it to.
This was several years before I ever told the VA.

He does continue to call me. We lunch and I listen about business…which none of it interests me,but theres this need to be attentive-he is my boss.
He called me a few weeks ago to pre-arrange the boat trip….his conversation starter was unusual-he said he had just been talking about me! He had been telling some one about how happy go lucky I am about life and being poor and never having two dimes to rub together…that money never seems to be the answer to happiness for me,but I never seem down about not having any.
He said we can take the houseboat down the St.Johns and find a place to pull into where he can do some fishing and I can dig the silence.

I responded to his comments about my solidity as a poor man-I get to travel in high luxury and it will be on a craft that I am not spending anything on maintain-and when the trip is over I get to go home,and he gets to worry about the dock storage charges and the upkeep…and who’s the one who is better off?
He said that’s why he likes me so much-I keep things in perspective.

As you can see…there’s not much to sit back and read today.
My mind and spirit are mixed and confused.
I feel challenged these last few weeks by the difference…here’s a man that has been around me off and on most of my life since I came to Florida,and who knows me-knows my integrity and my patience…knows my intelligence,and put it to work. Here is a man who goes out of his way to stay in contact with me-despite that we’ve not worked together in almost 20 years!
It’s frigging weird….really!

One Response to “The silence…”

  1. bernie Says:

    lost your email. please email me

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