Major Mini Wreck

mindsalvage.com Jeff

My little brother was a creative and mechanically oriented person. He was good at fixing just about any engine or vehicle. He worked on keeping his toys running and fixing things to use. In his younger years, one of his teachers in junior high, decided that the best way to work with a bunch of unruly adolescents was to bring in a bunch of non-functioning small engines and let them have at it. Evidently, that was an approach that worked well and kept them focused for a little while. Then as opposed to now, it was more common to have hands on experience during the early 1970’s, teachers could get a little more creative with their teaching methods! My brother was often getting excited about riding snowmobiles and two wheeled vehicles. He was a good outdoorsman. He did a lot with my father and they frequently hunted together for deer and turkey. I’m sure he kept Dad’s lawn mower running smoothly.
When I was in college and working on a teaching degree I would come home periodically to see my folks. My brother and sister, both younger than me, lived at home. During one visit that I remember, Jeff was a teenager building a mini bike as he called it. It was a gasoline engine from a mower and a few metal rods welded together to make a frame. He made a nice throttle on the handlebars and it looked reasonably balanced for speed and comfort. He was proud that he made it himself, taking time to find the parts and piece it all together.
On this visit of mine, he invited me to take a ride on it. I thought about it for a minute and decided to oblige him. I mounted the seat and he gave me a couple of lessons on how to operate the controls he had fashioned for it. I sped out of the driveway and up the dirt road a half mile or so. I turned around up near the intersection at the “Y” that went up over Densmore’s hill.
My ride home was a fast and furious one. While I tried to Continue reading

“Standard” Procedure

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As a teenager, I was often trading cars or trying to “upgrade” the one I was currently driving. I had a 1960 Chevy impala that my Uncle Dave gave me for free. I remember it had wide “bat wing” tail fins. All I had to do was put a new transmission in it, as he had an automatic transmission and it had gone south, never to work again. A few friends and I towed the car to my house. I could keep a car running if I had to, but I had friends who knew much more than me on the subject, so when I got in over my head it was always a good bet to call one or more of them. It was a dream of mine to change it over to a standard. I believe it cost me about 50 dollars total to change it over. This included purchasing a defunct 1962 Chevy which we towed home with a chain right up route 103 in Chester, Vermont. I sat in the driver’s seat while the driveshaft banged on both the pavement and the underside of the car floor. The noise was deafening inside the car, and we finally figured out a way to wire it so it wouldn’t hit the pavement, just the floor. Amazingly, we never got picked up by the police. The whole junk car cost me $15.00 and I used the transmission for my ‘60 Chevy. The guys that were helping me change it over were great and enthusiastic. As long as I agreed to keep buying the beer, they agreed to keep putting parts on the Chevy. I think the whole labor thing cost me about 3 or 4 cases. The neighbor let us use his garage to do the work, which was a nice gesture, as it was warm and dry.

One night, while we were working on the car, one of the guys decided we needed a case of beer and some chips. It was just about eight minutes before the store closing time, but he decided to try to make it. He raced the whole eight miles from my house to town, some of which was dirt road, to get there before the doors were locked. Evidently they were successful because they returned in one piece and with the beer.

We were able to hoist the motor out and put in the standard transmission. It all fit, but we still had to search and scavenge for a few parts, including a shifting lever from the floor. I found one in a near-by town and we went to see if it would fit and work with what we had. I of course relied on the experienced guys to offer the opinion on how it would all mesh for the best results.  I paid for the shifter and parts and got ready to take it back to put in the 1960 Chevy. Just as we were getting ready to take our seats in the car, a train pulled up and slowed at the railroad crossing where it crossed the paved street. One of the guys yelled out. “Hey, Wyman! Do you think you can catch that train and jump on the caboose?”

It sounded like a fun challenge to me, and I was never one to turn down a Continue reading

Be Careful What You Catch…Fishing on Horseback.

PhilWithFish

Living in the country on a dirt road allows for many adventures in youth, including fun outings on the spur of the moment. Fishing in nearby streams that follow the contour of the valley in Cavendish and Chester Vermont, was one of those summer activities I enjoyed as a kid. The season always started on the second Saturday in April and coasted along until September which made it a perfect summer pastime for school vacation. My father was a great fisherman and came home with a fresh catch for supper often. I wasn’t as good at it but enjoyed catching a few good sized brook trout. I spent more time fishing alone than with friends because I had to meet my mother’s “get home so I can make sure you haven’t drowned” schedule. There weren’t many kids my age to go fishing with either, and it seemed that the one neighbor that was close to my age was always luckier than I was, and he didn’t hesitate to tell me so, which made me feel a bit inferior as a fisherman.

One day we were feeling like an adventure and took out a couple of horses for a ride. At the last minute we decided to take our fishing-poles with us. It appeared this would be a less strenuous trip than even on a bicycle. No pedaling, just hold the reigns and the pole crossways in our fingers over the front of the saddle. Every time we came to a good fishing hole we could just tie the horses up to a near-by safe tree and walk to the brook and throw in the line. The creel was a canvas bag with waterproof interior so if we caught any fish it would keep the leather saddle dry.

After fishing on the Dean Brook Road about 2 ½ miles from home, we turned around to head back. The ride was pretty uneventful and the horses were calm for the most part. The closer we got to home the more anxious we were to make it a more exciting ride. I recall David was on my right and I was posting along at a slow trot. He decided he’d like to kick it up a notch and we began to trot faster and then canter. Suddenly, and unbeknownst to him, the hook he had placed in the eye of the pole bounced loose and swung over just enough to catch in my Continue reading

Feeling Well Enough To Write Again

 

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Thanks for reading my blog again. I wish to apologize for the past month of being absent. I have been extremely ill. For several weeks I have been unable to eat or drink normally. It all culminated with violent pain in my abdomen due to a catastrophic perforated ulcer. After an ambulance ride and emergency surgery, I awoke with a large scar and much diminished ability to function. I had never had pain like that in all my years, and with all my surgeries and broken bones. Fortunately for me, I have a remarkably supportive wife and some friends and family who have helped to make the road back home easier after a 6 day hospital stay. I’ve been home for about a week, but the trauma of adjusting to a patch in my stomach and trying to ease from clear liquids to full liquids and some soft foods is not as easy as I thought. Things were bleak, but now there is a whole new chance to get back to healing my cancer and enjoying my home and family.

What I didn’t realize is that there is also a psychological beating that goes along with my emergency journey. The worse I felt emotionally, the less appetizing food became, and I began to worry about failure. The thought of failure meant the worry of a shorter future. Having those heavy weights on my mind, stress is a huge part of my daily life, and I struggle to not become too depressed. My patience has become much shorter with everyone, and everything I am trying to accomplish seems farther away.

I’ve been battling this disease using natural therapy for 3 ½ years. Things were going well and I had beaten many of the odds given me by the traditional institutions and their treatment regimens. Doctors are very unwilling to budge from their views and accept my wishes for this route of therapy. I had at one point shrunk my largest tumor by 1 ½ centimeters and my then oncologist was very unwilling to give me any credit for my success. Her words were that I had done a tiny bit of improvement. It was at the time very discouraging and shook my confidence, so I began searching for different alternative therapies. After a time I allowed a scan and the doctor called a meeting to tell me my tumor had grown “a lot”. I attended with my wife and there were three professionals in the room. The oncologist I was working with told me somberly that it was time to now pursue full blown chemotherapy and there wasn’t time to wait. I asked how much a lot was, and was told it had grown 1 full centimeter. By my calculations, I was still ahead by half a centimeter, and after an exchange of numbers and images of my scan, I was very skeptical of their findings. My trust in the doctor waned, and I decided against the chemo, which I still view basically as poison.

I spent a lot of time since researching therapy choices and tried a variety of them. I eventually came to the conclusion that the one that had originally shrunk the tumor, the Budwig protocol,  was the best fit for me. It had worked once, so I will assume with my diligence it will work again. A little over two months ago, I started again with full force. I also added some complementary nutritional therapies into my schedule. Perhaps, in my enthusiasm to rid myself of disease, I overlooked the fact that there are side effects of successful cancer cell die off. Once cancer cells die they become toxic and cause huge negative effects, and the body needs to be detoxed through the liver and kidneys especially. Now I know I need to take detoxing very seriously and try to be aware of symptoms. I am also aware that stress could also have contributed to my ulcer, and will try hard to keep it in check.

The road is not an easy one, but it can be done. Positive thinking and education along with supportive family will lead me to a longer future. Love is a key ingredient to make things happen. Thanking God that I was able to make it through this set back in my life.

Please keep reading and stick with me. I’ll keep writing.

(c) Rick Wyman

Poem, The More I Walk

mindsalvage.com TrailInTheWoods

Casual trail in the snow,

Cross country skier had been there though.

Deep mountainside woods,

A place I’d been before.

Travelers on skis or foot,

Seeking distance to feel

Solitude.

No door to close,

No window shade.

The more I walk,

The more my worries fade.

The snow is colder here,

Left untouched by the sun,

Not a wrinkle for the wind to smooth.

Deep breaths massage my chest

While passing silent sentences,

My thoughts layer upon my memory.

I will recall them to be laid upon paper,

That my eyes may give an opening for retrieval,

My pen renewed my calm.

Rick Wyman, 3/20/17 6:41 p.m. Spring Equinox

Barney’s Garage, or ,How I Got My Reputation

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A lot of people I knew in high school, and some I didn’t, made a reputation good or bad at Barney’s Garage. The place was just across the street from Chester High, the school I attended, my first year being 1967. It was a real garage and a real place of business. The man was as nice as could be and rarely ever complained about the patronage of students that frequented or spontaneously showed up there. The parents of a lot of the students were his customers for gas or minor work on their cars. Some of the older students themselves were customers and I believe one of his children was a student at the school too.

Sometimes the students would loiter out in back of the garage to have a place to smoke or just hang around talking. Often the students would go there for answers to challenges by one of their adversaries. You’d often hear someone shout out in the halls of the school, “I’ll meet you behind Barney’s Garage at lunch time.” But more often it was, “We’ll settle this behind Barney’s Garage after school tonight!”  No matter what the adversaries looked like, there was always something to watch happening there. My reason for going to Barney’s was usually to buy a bag of chips or soda and candy bar out of the vending machines.

One day while I was standing there, two cousins with an age difference of a few years, and 50 to 75 pounds difference in weight, arguing and daring each other to do stupid things. They were trying to prove who was the bravest, or perhaps the results were to prove who was most foolish. I tried to talk the younger one out of taking one dare in particular of a most disgusting and what I’d call dangerous nature. He was dared to Continue reading

Some Words Better Left Unsaid

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Two words I never want to hear, in relation to myself, and would not accept, are “palliative care”. I will never forget when my friend and employer as a handy man for 32 years told me he had decided to not do anything to try healing the cancer he had. I asked him what he was going to do about nutrition, or about dialing down the effects of the disease. His response was, “Well if I get too bad they’ll keep me from being in pain and give me what they call palliative care.” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing.

It wasn’t too long before nurses from hospice were visiting his house, and he had a couple of step-relatives helping. I visited him a couple of times in the last week of his life. I watched in disbelief as his mental assessment of the end of his life had a powerful influence on his speedy demise. He told me he had no regrets and Continue reading

My Unsuspecting Mentor

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The old man was a tough task master for me while growing up. The longer I live, the more I can look back on the lessons and realize his mentoring was just what I needed to become respectable and self-sufficient. I learned to have confidence and survive under adverse conditions.

Growing up, I never really worried about his providing for us because, well, he always did. We lacked money and luxury, but I never thought we were undernourished or without plenty of entertainment. The word bored was not one I can recall using when describing my day to day life. My father was a man who had an overabundance of suggestions to keep me busy as he was himself always on the task of something. If we were low on food he would know Continue reading

Part 2…A Career Not Meant For Me

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The summer got shorter, and so did my construction job, as I was enrolled at Castleton State College for the fall semester. Being on the construction crew still required me to be there at an early hour, usually 6 days a week as the deadline for finishing the bridge neared. This made for very tense times when it rained, or when the specialty skills guys couldn’t make it.

The rest of us were pushed onward and upward to get things ready for the “big guns” to inspect the work, such as the angle of the bridge approach, the amount of right of way, and the pouring of the structural concrete. Being nineteen years old,  I made sure my life was fun as well as productive. My mother was a big fan of me never being idol,  making sure I was up in time to get to work. A motivational alarm clock, if you will. Some days I’d make it to work early, and fall asleep in my car at the job site. If I did fall asleep, I’d be awakened by a fellow worker or the foreman rapping on the windshield, telling me to get up and get started.

I was on the crew picked to cut the trees for the right of way, and pile the debris to be burned. We had spent the week cutting and piling so the heavy equipment guys could make sure the entrance and exits onto the bridge were ready to set, and the temporary crossing was clear for everyday traffic. We had a giant pile of brush and chunks of wood ready to be burned. The workers with carpentry skills were on the bridge building the forms that would hopefully soon be full of concrete.

Another worker, a year or so younger than me, was on the job that day too. He was a pleasant kid, and told me he had a wife and a baby at home. I wondered how he’d gained all this responsibility at his age. We got along well and had become friendly during the time we had spent on the same tasks. He was supposed to help me control the burn and clean up the area. We had chainsaws and gasoline cans around in case we had to make further cuts for managing the project. There were storage tanks of fuel to fill the heavy equipment machinery. I remember standing next to the brush pile and telling my coworker friend to go and get 5 gallons of diesel fuel oil to start the pile on fire. He took off in a chipper mood with the empty can.

I was leaning on my shovel when he returned and said he’d soak the pile so we could get a good ignition and feed the fire. I stood and watched as he shook the last drop out of the can. In great anticipation I watched him squat down to strike the match. As soon as his hand swiped across the friction pad on the match book, Continue reading

Nine Lives Countdown…A Career Not Meant For Me…Part One

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During the time adolescence turns to adulthood, dreams become prevalent about what profession might bring both satisfaction and large earnings. When I was in college, in the early 70’s, the time between semesters brought a couple of jobs I had randomly acquired. These soon fell off the list of things I’d choose for future careers.

I will be the first to admit that I am someone who has been described as accident prone. I have been getting injured since clumsy toddler-hood (check my mother’s entries in my baby book) and have not had a respite from damaging my body since.

Despite all the signals, I still found myself working a construction job building a bridge in southern Vermont. The job had a variety of risky tasks to perform working toward its completion. Safety rules were not as diligently observed then as they are now. The owner of the construction company decided to recycle the steel beams that spanned Continue reading