This is a collection of stories that my Grandfather Otis told me at one point in my life or another. The details will be foggy as they would change with each telling of the story but the heart of the story is there.
Otis grew up on a farm in the Driftless Zone of Wisconsin. A stone's throw from the Kickapoo River. Kickapoo is an Algonquian word meaning "one who goes here, then there" which is fitting as the river only travels 60 miles as the bird flies, but the river itself is 130 miles long.
As Otis ages, his story telling has a bit of "one who goes here, then there" about it. He doubles back quite often, sometimes stalling to remember the most trivial of details, but his heart is in each story.
I plan to add to these tales and stories as I learn more from him. And as the details come back to me.
One fall night, waiting to go to a dance in nearby Cashton, Otis' neighbor was admiring my grandfather's 1942 Ford. At the same time he was making allusions to his own brand new 1943 (insert car name here, Otis spent 5 minutes trying to remember it).
"A wager!" shouted the neighbor with glee. Whoever made it to the dance last, would have to buy everyone in attendance a beer. A nice piece of change in 1943. With $3 in his pocket (not nearly enough to cover the wager) Otis gladly accepted the stakes.
Cashton was 8 winding miles from the starting line. Otis arrived at the dance 4 minutes before his neighbor. Bouncing his needle on the speedometer over the 100 mph mark.
"I couldn't even get in to high gear before I lost your taillights!" the neighbor laughed.
This is when Otis showed the neighbor the engine inside, a rebuilt Mercury 8, which had previously been employed in a police cruiser.
This is a horrible story that I tear up every time I tell it.
Otis was helping another neighbor fix his stalled tractor. Miles from anyone else, the two of them alone in a field. Otis was straddling the engine, working on some engine part or another with a monkey wrench. The neighbor reached up and grabbed Otis's dick. Why? We will never know.
Otis turned and smacked the neighbor in the head with the wrench, knocking him out cold. When the neighbor came to 5 minutes later Otis was standing over the top of him holding the wrench. "If you touch me again, I will fucking kill you."
Then he dropped the wrench on the neighbor and walked home. It is possible that this is the first mic drop in the history of man. Or at the very least, the greatest mic drop of all time.
This story is from when Otis was 68 years old.
He was driving my grandmother Phylis to dinner in a neighboring town. He did not appreciate the gentleman who was tailgating him for the entire ride so he pulled over to the side of the highway. The gentleman tailgater obliged and pulled over as well.
A spry 28 year old got out of the car and Otis confronted him, informing him about just how bad he was driving.
Fists started flying, Otis ended up with a fat lip. The 28 year old got a black eye and a bloodied nose.
A few weeks later Otis got a speeding ticket for going 85 in a 55 mph zone. I love this man.
This one requires a bit of a preamble. It has upset some people when I tell it because they fail to remember that this happened on a farm in 1946.
Otis was in California for a chunk of time with the Army. Not healthy enough to serve, he plied his trade as a truck driver with the Army right up until we dropped 2 bombs on Japan. Near that time, Otis' father Clark had passed away. With no one to run the farm, Otis was dismissed and headed home.
After taking over the family farm, and running it quite well, Otis noticed a dog kept killing his sheep. He confronted his neighbor about it, and the neighbor denied that his prize blood hound would do such a thing. Even after Otis pulled blood and wool out of the dog's mouth, the neighbor refused to accept the truth.
A couple of days later, Otis heard another sheep crying. He grabbed his .22 caliber rifle and ran to investigate. The neighbor's dog was at it again so Otis did what anyone would do at the time. He shot the dog in the head.
A few days later, some of the other farmers and Otis were in a bar playing cards and having a few beers after a long day on the farm. The dead dog's owner entered and sat down with them. After a couple of beers to embolden his mouth, he yelled "I've got $50 for anyone that can tell me where my blood hound is. I haven't seen him in days."
Merle, a kind gentleman who was a bit slow, but lived in between Otis and the asshole wanted to help. "If...you...want to...find...your...dog...you...should...go...look...on the...manure...pile...behind...Otis'...barn. He's...laying...there with...a...bullet...in...him."
The asshole neighbor turned bright red and started heading for the door when Otis landed the knockout punch, "Hey wait, don't you owe Merle $50?"
When Otis was a teenager, the farm had a prize bull. Cost a bunch of money, especially when they didn't have much. This bull charged Otis one day, gored him in the ass, and then picked him up and threw him in to a water tank.
A couple of days later when he had mended, Otis' father Clark walked in to the barn and handed Otis a 2x4. He told Otis to call the bull in and when he got in the barn, hit him with the 2x4 in the balls as hard as he could.
The bull came into the barn and stopped. Otis swung the 2x4, and at the same time Clark toned the bull's head with a steel shovel. The bull's legs splayed out and it landed on it's stomach while dropping pounds of crap on the barn floor.
Ten minutes later the bull got up and went back to the pasture and they never had a problem with that bull again.
I'll fill in the details of this when I get them narrowed down. Too many stories floating in my head with details mixed up.
- I know he caught pitches from a guy who pitched for the Yankees (it may have been Ryne Duren but I'm not positive yet)