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God's Woodpile

Story ID:7393
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
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Godís Woodpile
By Chuck Dishno

Many years ago I had a friend whom Iíll call Dick.

Dick was born in Arkansas in 1904 and grew up on a farm, no stranger to hard work.

When he was in his teens he left home to work in the oil fields of Texas and like most roughnecks learned to imbibe on occasion.

Dick eventually married and settled down but the Great Depression drove him and his family to California.

I first met Dick in 1962 and we became fast friends. He lived in the small community of Calwa, a suburb of Fresno with his wife Lilly. When I met him he was working for Fresno County as a messenger and I was working in the printing department. Dick eventually took the tests and became a printer. That is where our friendship really developed. Our printing presses were side by side and he would tell me tales of his earlier life as a roughneck and a hobo.

Dick didnít have much schooling, probably 4th or 5th grade at the most but that didnít hold him back from learning to do things the hard way such as becoming a printer.

This story has to do with another vocation he learned the hard way. He had a black and white television that quit and when he took it to the TV repair man, the man told him how much it would cost and would have to keep it several weeks. Dick thought this was outrageous and promptly sent away for a correspondence course on television repair.

It took him over a year but by sheer perseverance he learned the trade and of course fixed his own television.

Soon the word got around that he could repair televisions and radios so he built a small shop behind his house and although he never gave up his printing job, his moonlighting as a repairman kept him very busy.

After work he would go home, have dinner and head out to his TV shack where he would spend the evening plying his new trade. Dick still liked the occasional nip of good whisky now and then so always had a bottle handy to keep him going and to offer to friends who happened to stop by.

One day when he came home he noticed several ladies from the church talking with his wife in the front yard. Now Dick had stopped by the local liquor store and picked up a pint of whisky. He didnít want them to see it so he tucked it in the top of his half Wellington boots, got out of the car, said his ďhowdyísĒ and went around the side of the house and hid the bottle in a woodpile beside the TV shack, then went back to the front yard to chat with the ladies and promptly forgot about the bottle.

Several weeks later he was up on the roof of the shack nailing down some shingles that had come loose when he lost his balance and pitched head first off the roof, landing on his back on the woodpile.

He told me, in his Texas vocabulary, ďChuck, I knowed I was most dead and hurt so much I could hardly move. I figured I had busted some ribs and could barely breathe. When I opened my eyes, right in front of me was that bottle of whisky I had hid a few weeks earlier.Ē He said, ďI didnít even have to move, I just reached over, took the top off and drained it right there. Chuck, I know the good Lord made me put that bottle there for this occasion and it saved my lifeĒ.

Dick went on to live a long life and the last time I saw him he and his wife were well into their nineties.

Sometimes you just donít know why things are done and Iím not one to say. I do know that my friend, Dick was a good man who told me many stories. I will write more of them soon.

I am sure Dick made his way to Heaven and asked God about the bottle. It may have been Godís way of telling him he had much more for him to do. I certainly hope so.