Nicknames…

•03/23/2011 • 1 Comment

I was going through all the nicknames of family, friends, local residents of the county and here is the list I have complied. I’m sure there are more that I may have forgotten.

TJ (that’s me)

Tink ( My Dad)

Zeke

Skeet

Spook

Suck

Flat top

Shotgun

Popcorn

Rusty

Dutchee

Suck

Boob

Cricket

Pudge

Doc

Wild Bill

Peaches

Pooch

Puggy

Nette-Nette

Spark

Slug

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Edgar the Barber

•03/22/2011 • Leave a Comment

Edgar the Barber was one of those characters I remember from my youth. He looked like a cross between “Doc” from Gunsmoke and Floyd the Barber from The Andy Griffith Show.

DocFloyd

It was said Edgar could cut hair better drunk than sober. I know he cut my hair a couple times but I don’t recall how good a job he did or if he was drunk doing it. I remember him taking a few sips of beer while cutting my hair though.

He had a little shop in Pulaski up the street from the local tavern, Bill and Babes, where he frequented in his idle time.

My Dad tells the story of how one time Edgar had got into a race with another guy and ended up in the middle of a field. The guy with him was thrown from the car and passed out in the field. When asked if he was still alive, Edgar took the heel of his boot and dug it into the other guys hand. When the guy flinched from the pain, Edgar pronounced the guy was OK.

Edgar ended up losing his drivers license so he bought a horse to ride into town. Edgar would get drunk and get on the horse and ride it home. with the horse knowing the way. Who needs GPS anyway?  One time the locals hid the horse from Edgar as a joke. I think it took awhile for  Edgar to find the horse, but he eventually was able to find him and get a ride home.

Then there was the time Edgar bet a local farmer that he could out run the farmer driving a grain truck while Edgar was on foot. They raced up the street in town. As Edgar neared the finish line, he dove onto the asphalt head first to try to beat the farmer. Not sure who won but Edgar got pretty scraped up, but felt no pain from a few drinks he had before the race.

Good times. Good times.

The Cool Down Ride…

•07/27/2010 • 2 Comments

It’s been a hot summer for much of the nation and with at least one more month to go, I can’t help but think about a story of my Grandpa Reutebuch and his cool down rides. On those hot muggy evenings in Northwest Indiana, he would announce he was going on a cool down ride. This meant jumping into the car wearing only underwear and shoes and taking a quick spin with the windows rolled down.

I can feel the cooling breeze in my mind as he cruised the rural Indiana roads, perhaps giving a wave to any neighbors hanging out on the porch. that’s what we do in Indiana, give a wave to people we pass.

I wish I could have known my Grandpa but he died of a heart attack when my Dad was a senior in high school.

Another story I liked hearing about Grandpa Reutebuch involved a plug of tobacco and a baboon. I’m guessing he was at a zoo and took a plug of chew and threw it to the baboon, who promptly picked it up and ate it. Not long afterward, the baboon puked. I find this pretty funny and just a glimpse into what a character this man was.

So, some night soon, a cool down ride may be in order…in celebration of summer nights and Grandpa Reutebuch.

As for baboons eating chew, now that we all know what happens, I will leave that to Grandpa’s legacy.

“Well I was born in a small town…” John Mellencamp Small Town

•07/13/2010 • 2 Comments

One of my goals with this blog was to document the characters and stories from my childhood growing up in rural northwest Indiana. I have been listening closely to my Dad whenever he relates them to me and have mentally written them over and over but just have not digitized them yet. I hope to start doing that now by “setting the scene” for you…

My Dad used to work at a small gas station that was started by my Dad’s Dad and one of Dad’s uncles. Since my grandfather died before I was ever around…my Dad took the business over with his uncle…who we called Uncle Clarence, or as he was more widely known, Uncle Skeet. More about him in a future post.

The “garage” as we called it, consisted of one side with some groceries, “pop” machine, coolers with ice cream and other frozen goods, a candy cabinet, and other assorted things like a few fishing lures. They even made milk shakes and my parents still have the metal cups and milk shake maker at home. The other side of the garage had one bay with a lift for doing car repairs and oil changes. At the back of the bay was a tool bench with vises and grinders and tools of all sort scattered about. In other words, a kids dream to wreak havoc. It was always fun to hang out at the garage with Dad.

Uncle Skeet did many a small engine repair, fixing the local’s lawn mowers. The usual problem was burned out points, gummed up carburetors, and dirty spark plugs. I can still hear Skeet revving up the mowers as loud as they could after repairing them. I wonder how many lawnmower blades he sharpened in his life as well. It was cool to see the sparks flying as he set the blade to the grinder.

Tire repairs were also another service that was performed often. The local farmers kept them busy with truck and wagon tires. Dad repaired a helluva lot of tires. You can bet on that. It was not an easy task either.

The garage was located in the small community of Pulaski, Indiana and sat on a hill near the Tippecanoe River, which flowed behind the garage. Over time, the garage became to known as the “Eighth Wonder of the World” to us because as you walked towards the back, you felt the slope of the foundation going downhill, like it was going to go over the side of the hill at any moment. It never did.

This was not one of those self serve stations either. Dad or Skeet would go pump the gas, check oil, clean windshields…check tires pressure if asked. Sounding like a scene with Goober in the “Andy Griffin Show”?

One of the great things about the garage only being a couple miles from home was Dad would get to come home for lunch nearly every day. It was great to see him pull into the driveway.

The garage would serve as a central point for many of the characters that I recall from youth. Next time I get back home, I will try to find some pics…and add them to this entry.

On the google map below…the garage is located near the center of the image. The Tippecanoe River is at the top of the image…

The “Eighth Wonder of the World” still stands, albeit, a mere shell of itself from days long past.

The Worst Day of My Life…

•05/28/2010 • 4 Comments

Today, May 28th, 2010, marks the twelve year anniversary of the death of my youngest brother, Ronald John Reutebuch.
He died from a fall off a ladder while at a construction job, just mere inches from the ground. He missed a step coming down the ladder and hit his head just so on the concrete floor, rendering him brain dead. I still find it hard to grasp.

There are two things that I carry with me from this tragedy.

First, I remember my Dad telling about a guy none of the family knew but Ronny had treated with kindness. I don’t remember the specifics but I believe the man was overweight and possible wheel chair bound or something to that effect. My brother’s actions touched this person and he wanted to pay respects at his wake. That is why I never try to make fun of other people in a cruel manner. I only tease because I love…not for hate. You never know what may seem like a small, insignificant gesture to you might mean volumes to somebody else.

Secondly, I try to use this date to remind me to take the time to do something that makes me happy. Usually, that means heading to the lake to do some fishing. It makes me realize that you never know when your time is coming…and we should live our lives like there is no tomorrow. It’s easy to get caught up in jobs, home life, and all the demands on our time. It’s all necessary but set aside time to do something that will create lasting memories. That is when you are truly living.

Ronald John Reutebuch

Amanda Christmas Concert ’08

•12/17/2009 • Leave a Comment