Woke up early this morning, Memories bouncing around in my head like dropped ping pong balls. I got up and put the coffee on, found one of my warmest shirts…It’s colder this ol’ winter mornin’ than usual and I had a story to write. My cousin Charley passed away . I had lots of cousins down around Springfield Mo. Only a few I ever kept track of. These few played together down in the hills and streams that ran through that country. One of these was Charley Bolin. From my Mothers brother Orville, we were only a few months apart and hit it off pretty good. We both moved away when were about 9, me to Kansas City and Charley to Los Angeles. He got married to Sandy his high school sweetheart had some odd jobs around LA, got into building houses with his two brothers and then into the plastering business’. We got are kids raised and started to visit one another from time to time and talk on the phone. I guess you could say Charley had a lot of hard bark on him cause he had some troubles that would have cut me down. Now I don’t know all the details of his life only what I heard and saw. But I know he Moved back to Springfield area (in his 40s I think) to a little town called Willard. He moved into a farm house out in the country and one day while climbing a ladder in the old barn he fell and broke his leg so bad they had to take it off. Now Charley was a plasterer and he earned his bread on his feet. So he went back to work with a prosthesis. He had a since of humor and loved to see people laugh. One morning when Rosie and I were staying over night with them in Willard,( instead of him telling me to get up to have coffee with him), he just thru that wooden leg through the transom at down to the floor making enough noise to wake the dead. He was a story teller and he would call and I’d say well I was just sittin’ in the bathroom thinking about you. He’d laugh and I’d laugh at his laugh then he’d tell an old joke and I’d laugh and he’d return the favor.
He moved back to California, started another plaster business’ in Paradise where we visited them once and I noticed how close to the house all those big pine trees were. He showed me his hobbies collecting pocket knives and carving walking canes that he gave away. To say Charley was giving person is not understated. He wasn’t a taker he was a giver. He retired bought a motor home and came back to visit with us and sometimes travel to music festivals with us. He would watch me perform on stage and swear i should be in Nashville makin the big bucks, the plaster business’ went under without him and he lost his house moved into his motor home then to an old house one of his brothers provided. Fire broke out in Paradise and took everything he had left. he then moved into another smaller trailer for about two years till the house was rebuilt. With all that he would still call to have a laugh or two. Jesus also was not a taker, he was a giver, and I still have one of Charley’s hand carved walking canes he gave me and when the weather warms up I’m gonna take it with me and remember a man that was more like Jesus than most of us.