Jasper The Junk Man

Discussion in 'Real Life Stories' started by smokymtn, Apr 22, 2016.

  1. When I was a kid, my favorite hangout was the workshop of our local junk man named Jasper. People would come to him with some machine that needed a very expensive repair and he would either salvage or create in his machine shop whatever they needed. He never failed to finish a task for a customer. I would clean up his shop and keep the machinery clean for extra money & the pick of anything I wanted in that huge junkyard.

    When I was 9, he helped me build a go-kart with a 5 hp Briggs & Stratton motor from an old lawnmower. He made me a race track in his junkyard with a bulldozer that I got to drive. It was like Disneyland without lines to that kid from Texas.

    When I was 10, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., was murdered in Memphis, Tennessee.

    Everything got weird. Everyone expected horrible things to happen. Everyone was afraid. The black girl named Irene that sat next to me in school, had huge tears running down her face. Those tears never stopped for the whole day. She never made a sound, just the non-stop tears.

    None of us said anything to her. What could we say? We all knew what happened. Dr King was murdered on a Thursday & we were all in school the next day.

    On the following Saturday, I was with Jasper & we were going to the Chevrolet Dealer to buy him a new truck. I started talking to him about what was going on. The men in my neighborhood that I had known all my life were now carrying guns to their cars with their briefcases. No one was telling the kids what the hell was happening so, I asked Jasper.

    He said that we would talk about it after we took care of the new truck bidnez.

    In the front row of the dealership was the new 1/2 ton Chevy trucks, in various colors. Jasper told me to look at all those trucks & tell him what was different.

    I looked. He never said a word. I felt like he was tricking me somehow but, I didn't have a clue as to what. I hated being fooled. Especially by something obvious that I should be able to get.

    After a good bit..I had crawled all over those trucks at least 3x each...Jasper called me to him & asked if anything was different on those trucks? My answer was that the only difference was the color.

    Right then, he crouched down with a knee on the pavement so we were eye to eye & he said..,

    ..People are just like those trucks. Everyone is driving the exact same model & color ain't nothin' but paint job. Any sumbitch that tells you different is a god damn liar! Anyone gives you any trouble about it, come get me & I'll set 'em straight or lay 'em low.

    Most people these days would take one look at Jasper & see the denim coveralls, his jaw shoved full of chewing tobacco, driving a pickup & listening to country music, & write him off as a redneck bag 'o crap.

    He knew how to fix things & they stayed fixed; whether it was a broken machine or a kid with a broken world.
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  2. That was such a good story. He sounds like a very caring and inspirational man. Do you carry hus views with you today. Also what happened to him what's he do now

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  3. Given that he was ten when Martin Luther King Jr was killed, Jasper is likely dead or close to it.

    Great story though.
  4. I enlisted in the Army when I was 17. Jasper died when I was in jump school @ Ft. Benning, Georgia. He was 71.

    Ol' Jasper could not have imagined that a time would come when people from all over would hear about him.

    His spirit was mighty & his words were true.

    I have always carried with me, the philosophy of the Chevy Truck.
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  5. If there is an epilogue to this story, it goes like this:

    Best I can recall, it was about 2 weeks after Dr. King was murdered, there had been riots in cities across America & things were still very tense. We were kids; all we really knew was going to school & playing; the things going on in the world was for the grown-ups to handle & we were all being sheltered from the whole truth.

    I was at my friend Augustine's house on Helmet Street, where most of my friends lived & we were fixing a flat tire on Augi's bike. We heard a woman screaming, All you kids, get in the house & tell everyone to get their guns! A Negro army is coming to burn us out! I know how absurd it sounds, by today's standards. Things were so different back then & when she said that, it scared the shit out of us.

    That woman was wearing her house robe & her head was full of curlers. Back then, no woman would go outside like that unless the house was on fire or there was a burglar.

    About then Augi started hollering for his mother to come hither, muy pronto! Senora Nierio came out & ordered us into the house. She lit into that woman with a vengeance...of course we were peeking out the window. No way we would miss that. Augi's mom took that woman by the arm & walked her to the front of her home & told her she was not allowed to speak to any of us again...or else.

    When she came in her house, she told us that woman was crazy & she said that we would not listen to a thing she had to say. Ok, we understood that. Crazy Lady. That was that.

    Go forward to 1976, I was home on leave from the Army to spend Christmas with my family & I promised Augi's mother that I would visit her in uniform. She said she was making sopapillas. What choice did I have? Her sopapillas were so delicious, they could establish world peace. In uniform to Helmet Street I went.

    After the visit & much sopapilla abuse, Augi & I went out front, like the old days. There were some kids in the street with a baseball & ball gloves, having a game of catch. After a bit, this boy came up to me & asked if I would go into the yard across the street to get his ball. I asked him why he wouldn't get it & that boy looked me in the eye & said, that's the crazy lady's house! You are an Army man & she won't do anything to you!

    That young man got a very bewildered look on his face when he tried to figure out why that Army man was laughing so hard. I said, It's ok kid. I'm laughing because I remember the day that hag got that name. I'll get your ball.

    The boy then said, If she comes out when you go over there, I'm going to run. I told him, If she comes out, stand your ground. If she does anything to you, she will get a 3,6,9. It will take 3 doctors, 6 nurses, & 9 hours of surgery to remove my jump boot from her ass.

    I retrieved the baseball without incident.

    If you get labeled in that neighborhood, it really sticks.

    No need to get up Jasper. I've got this.

    Rest in Peace.
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