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Crumley Family Reunion 2011

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Spitting Into Hot Lead Can Be Hazardous

It was a rather cold and early Saturday morning when we were to meet up at Grampa’s property. Grampa---John Elbert Crumley--- was building the last of many houses he had built over his lifetime for his wife Jessie and himself. Grampa was already well into his sixties as he started this home, and yet he was in better physical shape than these three grandkids put together when it came to constructing a house, or plowing rows of soil for the garden out back. The property was located up on the hill above Sunrise Boulevard. From Uncle Gene’s store, (the Tom Thumb Market), you could see a small clearing amongst the big oak trees where grampa had already poured his foundation and was in the process of putting the four inch cast iron plumbing together. By the time we arrived, there was a large pot of lead already beginning to melt in a homemade furnace grampa had built that was like a good hot campfire.

These three grandchildren, John Thomas, John Patrick, and Charles Kenneth, (also known as Tommy, Pat, and Kenny), didn’t see grampa when they arrived, so they all huddled around the fire to stay warm until further instructions. When the pot began to turn into a liquid bowl of hot molten lead, a mirror-like reflection appeared, and as we looked down we could see ourselves faintly in the reflection. This is when Pat got the idea to spit, and spit he did, directly below into the hot lead. If you ever recall what happens when some one spills a drop of water into hot grease on the stove, the reaction is not pleasant and neither was Pats attempt. The lead violently popped and growled, and we all jumped back a few steps while Tommy scolded Pat for his silly escapade. Tommy told Pat, “If that lead pops out and lands on one of us, it’s going to burn some one”, so we all understood it was not a good idea---or so we thought. It wasn’t but a few minutes later that Pat spit again. POW! With a loud pop, this time a small drop of the lead came firing straight up and caught Tommy right on the chin. Like a deer in the headlights, we all stood there, frozen for a few seconds, astounded of what just happened, and then Pat bolted in the direction of the backyard with Tommy in “hot pursuit”, holding his hand over his chin while screaming profanities at his cousin.

(The next part of this story is not clear, so I’ll just do the “Crumley thing” and assemble a close facsimile of the events that followed.)

A few minutes later, here come two grandkids with their heads down walking in front of grampa who was not in the mood for listening to the whole story again---from Tommy or Pat. He just simply handed them a couple of shovels and told them where to put them to use. Some how, grampa hadn’t noticed me still standing by the warm fire, so I got more time staying warm in the cold fall morning than my brother and cousin. Tommy had later sported a small scar on his chin, about the size of the head of a number eight nail. All three of us laughed about the episode, (and Tommy’s new birthmark), years later, but it was a reminder to all of us that spittin’ into hot lead may not be such a good idea.

(This story was produced for Hayden Parker who wants to know more about his uncle Pat. This story is the first one of a series of “episodes” highlighting the youthful lives of the Crumley’s. Rowes, Mayhan’s and many others. Look for others stories to appear here in the months ahead.)

Future Titles:

“Way to go….Stumpass” (the series)

Fishing on the Feather (a series of stories)

The Clementine Lost Pole Story (another true tale of Tom, Pat, and myself on a fishing adventure.

Hot Car Storys: 56 Chevy--65 Shelby GT 350--71 240Z--GTX 400--75 Corvette

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