Sammy – The Most Unusual Character In My Life

by admin on February 26, 2009

Recently my 81 year old husband “Sammy” (not his real name in order to prevent possible retaliation) and I celebrated our 20th Anniversary. I often wonder where the years went and how I’ve kept my sanity this long, though there are family and friends who wonder about that I have kept my sanity! Never did I realize back then at age 52, what kind of man I was agreeing to marry. I will say it has been an adventure.

For a little background information on him, he was a semi-truck driver for most of his working years until forced into retirement after suffering fishing and trucking accidents and resulting injuries and even some surgeries. He has also had two hip replacements. All of which have not slowed him down one bit. Take for example that two days after returning from his hip replacement surgery, he drove himself to Wal Mart for some “man” shopping, though he did use the electric cart. This article is about Sammy and him being the most unusuable character in my life.

One Tough Fellow

I knew nothing about his post hip surgery Wal-Mart trip until I was told much later that a friend had seen him. Years before retirement, while on a trip to Rock Island, IL, a piece of construction angle iron fell on his shoulder. He was taken to the hospital in an ambulance where it took 35 stitches to sew up the shoulder injury. He was taken back to scene of accident and released. Then he proceeded to drive his 18-wheeler one-armed over 200 miles back to his truck terminal. He has proved himself many times to be one tough fellow.

He’s had fish hooks caught in his hands several times but he wouldn’t go to Emergency until I took a picture of the hand, hook and all.



The Counselor

For years he had a drinking problem and had many buddies he regularly met at local bars. One night he decided to have a little fun with his friend who usually only drank wine. On this night Sammy was slipping tequila to him. When his friend was finally ready to go home, Sammy said “this is what you should do, go home, sit down with your wife and tell her you’re the boss of the house, etc”. Well, his advice was followed and several days later Sammy saw his friend with a large bandaged neck and shoulders. He told Sammy that he would no longer listen to Sammy’s advice or he’d end up being killed. His wife was cleaning the kitchen when he walked in and started talking. Somewhere in the conversation she hit him over side of head and shoulders with a cast iron skillet. For this bit of advice, Sammy’s friend ended up in Emergency for many needed stitches.

Sammy The Travelling Doctor

He wasn’t all fun and games though as one trip down south, he was flagged down by a motorist stopped along side of deserted highway late at night.  Sammy went up to ask if he needed help and was told the man’s wife was in last stages of labor and he couldn’t get to a hospital in time and didn’t know what to do.  Well, as usual, Sammy remained calm, climbed into backseat and delivered their baby boy who they named after him.  He was always picking up hitchhikers and stopping to help stranded motorists.

The Turn In Sammy’s Life

In later years, at aged 52, he had a terrifying nightmare where his semi truck was engulfed in flames and no handle on the door to get out. As truck headed into a wall of fire, he noticed a man out in the field dressed in white and he yelled for “help”, then woke up, soaking wet. Two days later, he went to church at 7 AM and gave his heart to the Lord and asked for deliverance from alcoholism, smoking and occasional drug use. When he rose from the altar, he realized he wasn’t shaking with tremors as he usually did when needing his morning drink. Later, he trained as a deacon and finally was ordained as a minister and had his own church for several years.

Weddings And Fishing

Though retired, he still performs wedding ceremonies which are mostly unusual ones (this naturally fits in with his character).  The last wedding was on a pontoon boat in the middle of a lake with the young bride in a beautiful white gown.  Another marriage took place on a ferry that transferred farmers and their equipment across the river.  After the ceremony, everyone went fishing, which suited him just fine, as that’s the “love of his life” as far as activities go.  Once he married a Mexican couple in a church and all the bridesmaids and bride were barefoot.  They said it was a custom in their culture.  One other time while waiting for bridal couple to arrive on a lake dock, he took out his fishing pole and did a little fishing!

Sammy’s Crafts

We lived 15 years in a house that was over 100 years old, with many peculiarities such as sinking floors and leaky ceiling tiles. Upstairs were two small rooms, one used as a bedroom for my teen aged son; the other was my husband’s “play room”. After moving in, my son started hearing sounds in the room at night, saw swaying ceiling lights, closet door opening and closing and smelled strange odors, just like you’d expect in a haunted house. This was quite annoying and mystifying so we finally had a minister come and walk around the upstairs using exorcism to order any and all “spirits” to depart in the name of the Lord. That solved the problem as nothing else ever occurred.

Sammy used the other room to melt lead to make bullets and fishing sinkers, did sanding on different projects, worked on making clocks and belt buckles out of turtle shells he’d clean, polish and paint with polyurethane.  He also used cast iron skillets to make clocks. Some he’d sell, but  mostly everything was for gifts to friends, family and even strangers.  He always wears a turtle shell belt buckle which many people admire. One 6 or 7 year old boy in Pennsylvania saw it one day and was really impressed, so Sammy took down his name and address and a week later mailed him a boy-sized turtle shell buckle.

The Protector From Wild Animals

This old house had a hole in the siding at ground level at the back of the house and animals found their way into our house. At night when Sammy would be out trucking, I’d hear strange scratching or gnawing sounds which annoyed and puzzled me. One morning I discovered the leather watch band laying on my bedroom dresser had been partially eaten. Other times I have seen quick flashes of something black streak across different rooms in the house. We weren’t sure what was in the house and considered a squirrel, but my husband put out some poison.

The next day he walked into the hallway leading from kitchen to garage and there was a large dead pregnant rat. I had never in my life seen a rat and hope I never do again. In examining the steps, Sammy removed several leading to upstairs and discovered nesting materials. Later Sammy brought home a wire live animal trap to set outside by the hole in back of house and baited it with mini marshmallows. In time he caught 6-7 raccoons, a pregnant opossum and one day, to our surprise, a skunk. He called the police to report this and was told to shoot it. Not being one to mess with a skunk, Sammy reminded the receptionist it was against the law to fire a gun in the city limits. She solved that problem by promptly sending a police squad car to watch Sammy shoot the skunk. Several days later after the odor dissipated, he took it out to the woods somewhere for disposal.

For awhile I did in-home care for the elderly and I worked several hours a day for a 97 year old lady and her 80 year old daughter.  They, too, lived in a 100 yr old house and animals were somehow getting inside the walls.  They’d hear them scratching as they climbed or the noises in the rafters in the attic.  So my husband came over occasionally when something needed fixing, such as they’d gone years without any lighting in the hallway outside their bathroom.  My husband discovered the lightbulb had blown out and just needed changing.  As for the animal problem, he pulled down the ladder to the attic and in searching around realized raccoons were living up there.  In fact, using a flashlight and looking down a brick chimney that went from the attic to the ground, he saw a  mother and 6 babies laying down there.  The only way to remove them was by shooting them and then he had to use fishing equipment with large hooks to latch onto the fur to pull each one up individually.  A clever man he is, who knows how to handle tricky situations.

Sammy The Deer Hunter

My biggest surprise one day was coming home and being told not to open the bathroom shower curtain. Well, naturally, like a kid, I did what I was told not to do and found a tub full of bloody water from the deer that was soaking in the bathtub. Several days later he bought a very large trash container where he put the deer and subsequently soaked until he could dress it out. Of course this little “Sammyism upset me” so I expressed my dislike and calmly requested that he never do that again. To this day he hasn’t. The deer was road kill no less.

Kitchen Tricks

  • His melting lead on the kitchen stove that dripped down and hardened.
  • He had some gun powder that was slightly damp, so decided to put it in his microwave to dry it out – Yes he blew up the microwave!
  • He liked to clean fish in the house when I was out of town and he’d put the skin, head and bones, etc. down the garbage disposal.  Several days later I was in the kitchen and noticed a really foul odor and when I came close to sink, realized something must have gotten stuck in the disposal. I had no choice but to reach into it and to my surprise, found rotting fish parts which I had to patiently (and angrily) pull out. That was the last time he ever did that as I told him it says in scripture “Be sure, your sins will find you out.” He loves to tell this story and still laughs over it.

Cannons Away

For awhile he had a homemade cannon which he’d fire off on New Years Eve and 4th of July out in the country at a friends’ house.  One year though, it misfired and blew up backwards towards him. I was out of town at the time so his friend’s wife spent hours picking out bits of burnt gunpowder from his face, arms and shoulders. One good thing, no more cannon after that, though he did have a smaller one that he thought was unloaded.  In order to test it, he fired it out the front door, then noticed a police car setting across the street who came over and said “Don’t you know it’s against the law to fire a firearm in the city?”  He said, “This isn’t a firearm, it’s only a cannon”. She let him get away with it!  He knows most of the police in town as he makes ammunition and occasionally takes some to the Sheriff’s office and Police Dept. for them to sample.

Turtles Oh The Turtles

When talking about his hobbies, hunting for turtles rates right up there with fishing. One night about 3 AM his car was parked along a country road and a police car came up and to ask what he was doing. As soon as they saw his face, they recognized Sammy and said they guessed he was looking for turtles. They said they were investigating a complaint from a neighboring farmer who wondered about the reason this car was along the road in the middle of the night. Strangers knock on our door bringing him turtles they have found. Several weeks ago he made a humongous pot of turtle stew and took it to a social gathering up the street where everyone gathers to sing, play guitars, and eat refreshments.

Shoe Shining

He had a dried up metal can of brown shoe polish and decided to melt it down so he could polish his shoes, so he set the can on the gas stove.  Unfortunately it blew up and he had a terrible time cleaning the ceiling, stove and floor before I came home from town.  He didn’t quite succeed as there was still remnants of something brown splattered on kitchen counter and cabinets.

Back To Sammy The Doctor

Did I mentjion he’s a self-appointed physician? He likes to use veterinarian de-horning paste to remove moles and it actually works! One day he told me he’d done some surgery on himself. I didn’t realize he had a half dollar size cyst or tumor on his thigh but he decided to get rid of it, so he had whipped out his handy pocket knife and without sanitizing, had actually dug the bothersome thing out of his leg. He did put an antibiotic cream on it and it did eventually heal.

He offers to do things like that to me but I quickly refuse. Last week he removed a mole from the front of his throat as it was “bugging” him. I reminded him he had an appointment with a dermatologist in several weeks but he said he couldn’t wait that long.

The Dentist

He is now toothless. This is the story of his last two teeth! For the second to the last tooth he asked a friend to help and after tying the fishing line on the tooth, his friend gave a yank, and out it came. His one lone tooth had abscessed, so he used his pocket knife to puncture the swelling so it could drain. Then he tied 60 lb weight fishing line around the tooth and the other end around a concrete block and threw it out the front door. Both he and the pulled tooth flew out the door.  The funniest thing is that without any teeth he can eat anything and everything and is usually finished eating before I sit down or am only half way through my meal. Doesn’t figure!

Sammy And Cooking…

Sammy loves to cook and can, but doesn’t always read directions. One day he was canning something using the pressure cooker, but neglected to let it cool before removing the lid. Immediately after taking it off, the contents blew up and hit the ceiling, cabinets, floors, etc., and caused him to have severe burns on his face, chest, arms and hands.

At The Right Place At The Right Time

Several weeks ago he and his friend were in the nearby river in their boat anchored by the side when they noticed a truck going into the river. They were too far away to help but got the attention of a couple in a nearby boat and pointed to the sinking truck. Unfortunately, the people in the boat were unable to open the door and the truck sunk out of sight.

My husband’s cellphone wouldn’t work, so they lifted anchor and went to shore. Sammy went to a nearby house and called 911. Soon all types of emergency vehicles arrived and a coast guard boat with divers, but they were unable to find the truck or body until the next day. It was an elderly woman and the truck ran off her own property. No one knows what happened. The truck had drifted 200 ft. down river before found. We have never heard anything further concerning this.

Sammy’s Freezer

Presently our garage freezer holds an interesting collection. There’s the head of a 45 lb catfish caught last week, a beaver tail, frozen snakes and some fish frozen whole (but not cleaned). As to anything else out there, I don’t really want to know.

Pictures

I have taken many pictures of his trophies. He enjoys whipping out these pictures, especially the one of the 45 lb catfish head.
Well, I think by now that I have made my point that I’m married to an unusual character. He never ceases to amaze me as he is always doing something new and different and sometimes unbelievable. He’s inventive, courageous, generous natured, kind, ready for adventure, always willing to go fishing, he loves the Lord and proudly serves Him and no on knows or suspects he’s 81 years young.

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