Tuesday, February 13, 2007


Greg was a couple of years older than I was in school. I really don't know how old he was, but that's when he graduated. I can probably count on one finger the number of times I talked to Greg throughout my 12 year public school lifetime, but that wasn't unheard of either. Even in my schools.

As I've already mentioned a time or three, I live outside a small town. There were around 180 kids in the Junior/Senior high school during my tenure, and well... everyone knew everyone. That doesn't mean we talked a whole lot, but it was hard not to have contact.

All that being said, I didn't speak with Greg because I disliked him, nor did I avoid him, it's just that we never traveled in the same circles. Greg was... hard to like though.

He wasn't blessed with a high degree of intelligence, and if I said his IQ was around 80, it would probably be a generous assumption. The sad fact is, he was probably the sharpest of the tools that came out of that particular shed, so he really didn't have a lot going for him from the start.

Usually, when the good Lord gives us a particular handicap, he makes up for it by strengthening other areas. Some people of slight build have a keen wit and charm, while the large and less witty, are usually athletically gifted. Some excel in mathematics, while others in literature or art. There are even some rare occasions, when a complete moron is likened unto Adonis. Unfortunately, Greg had nothing to buoy himself with that I ever saw. He was just Greg.

Just so you all understand, I think perhaps it's time for a few stories.

When he was younger, he had a 4-H project. That project was raising a steer. Now I don't suppose many of you have ever raised a 4-H steer, but you've got to wash them, and halter break them, and show them off at the county fair in front of judges. Greg was practicing with his steer one day along with his siblings, and got tired of holding onto the halter rope. He decided that he would tie the rope around his waist and kill two birds with one stone. Everything went according to plan until the steer got spooked and took off running. Greg was just along for the ride. The steer somehow dragged him through a pile of metal and impaled him upon a chunk of it mid thigh, breaking his femur. Somehow shortly after that, they got the steer stopped and Greg untied. He went to the hospital and wore a full leg cast for six months.

This was back in the day of plaster casts, and it was summertime, so it was hot and sticky to boot. Showing him the sympathy that any parent would, his dad had to do something and made Greg change the irrigating water. Greg was able to put a gum boot on his good leg, but darnit... the boot wouldn't go over the cast. So Greg went out and changed the water. Not long after that, the now soggy cast fell apart, and back to the hospital he went.

After he healed up from that episode, he was building a doghouse or some other structure, and took out the skill saw and needed to saw a board. He knew he couldn't lay the board on the ground because it'd dull the saw blade, and he didn't have a sawhorse handy, so he did the next best thing. He put the board across the top of his leg and fired up the saw. Ayup... he was able to cut the board, but it left a fairly serious gash in the meaty part of his leg too. Another lesson learned.

I could tell you more of these stories all day, seriously, there are that many more, but let's just suffice it to say that if KTM was around here, she'd be his favorite person. I'll finish the stories with this one. When I was a senior we were up on the top floor of the high school in class and it started to snow. We were bored and not doing much in class so several of us migrated over to the window to watch it come down. Now when I say snow, I mean a full blown spring snow storm. The kind where the flakes are as big as your hand and come down like gangbusters. In about ten minutes, there was better than an inch.

The high school complex sat on about 20 acres or so, and Greg's family owned the field just to the north of it. And as we looked out into the storm, we couldn't help but notice that Greg was out in their field on an open cabbed tractor, plowing. Oh man it was miserable, but by gad, he never weakened. The snow was coming in perpendicular to him and he'd tuck his head against the flakes going one way, then turn around and have to cock his head the other. It was sad and funny at the same time, but he never showed any white feathers and kept right on plowing until he was done.

Greg hopped from one farmer to another around the valley, and even though he always gave it his all, there was a lot of charity extended. Finally he wound up working for my cousins last winter and this one feeding cattle.

Surprisingly, he did a good job at it. It took him a long time to get fed, but he was a steady worker and always got it done. He babied their calves and tended things in a very conscientious manner. My cousins told me that even though they had a few "Greg moments" all in all he was good help in that capacity.

Last Saturday, he was feeding the cattle and somehow fell and got caught under the wheels of the feed wagon. He was alone and no one knows exactly what happened, but the wagon ran over him high on the leg and broke his leg and crushed his pelvis, severing a main artery and he bled out and died.

I never had a whole lot to do with him, but I didn't wish him dead either. I won't be sad that he's gone, but I won't be happy. He was a local icon, and the town just won't be the same without him.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's weird when someone you didn't particularly care for dies. You almost feel guilty that you're not sad. My neighbor's grandson was a loser and a harmless creep, but they were crushed when he drowned. I liked his siblings, but it was hard to feel bad for such a schmuck.

That said, I'm sorry for Greg's family. Sounds like they no longer have an indentured servant.


2/14/2007 9:37 AM  
Blogger Kathleen said...

I feel sad for Greg, but I cry at Hallmark commercials, so I'm no judge. Still, a life is gone and that is sad, regardless of his mental capacity. Sounds like he was a good worker and that's just as valid, in my book.

2/14/2007 12:06 PM  
Anonymous bc said...

Sounds like Greg was a real solid person. Maybe not in the iltelligence area but in his heart and backbone. He worked hard and strived for acceptance in what he completed. He did it without question.

Condolences to his family.

2/14/2007 12:37 PM  
Blogger Beth said...

Wow, that's just so weird. He died like he lived. Proof to those who live by the sword die by the sword kind of thing.

2/14/2007 12:40 PM  
Blogger fermicat said...

I can't help but feel bad for the guy. And I guess that leg was nothing but trouble.

2/14/2007 3:11 PM  
Blogger LL said...

It's just hard to describe. He was one of those kind of people that had been shown no kindness his whole life, so if anyone was even polite to him, he'd glomb onto them and wear them out.

It's just one of those things. There will be a void around these parts, but...

2/14/2007 6:02 PM  
Blogger NYPinTA said...

Well. That just sucks.

2/15/2007 8:28 PM  

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