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Friday, Apr. 18, 2014

Sledgehammer

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Alvin "Bo" DuBois grew up in Risco during the Great Depression in a family that numbered 12 children. He and his twin brother were near the youngest of the large brood, which also included an older brother who had been born without a left arm.

Recently, Bo spoke about his older brother with the missing arm.

One of the sisters once told the brother he needed to get his Social Security Disability. He told her that he wasn't disabled. She looked at him and said, "You've only got one arm!"

He told her: "Well, I've never known any different.

Besides, I can do anything anyone else can."

And, he could.

In fact, the one-armed brother operated an automobile repair garage. Well, he and his partner did. His partner also had a missing left arm; but he had lost his in an accident. The two of them would crawl under a car to work on a transmission or lean over an engine with a tool box near by. The pair worked in unison and hardly ever spoke to each other while they did so. They were as efficient as one man with two good arms, handing tools back and forth, one holding a part and the other working the socket wrench.

One time his brother took a job fixing up an old building. He was inside using a sledge hammer with his one powerful arm busting up a concrete floor. Another fellow was putting the broken pieces in a wheel barrow which he then had to negotiate through a doorway, up narrow wooden plank and dump in the back of a large truck.

They had been at this job several days when the man working the wheel barrow stopped and watched as the one-armed man sat on the floor breaking up the concrete.

Bo continued: "He looked at my brother then he looked back at the wheel barrow. He did this several times. Finally he said, 'I bet you can't dump this wheel barrow in the back of that truck outside.'"

"Huh?" the brother replied.

"Yeah, I bet you can't dump this wheel barrow," he repeated.

"Who, me?"

"Bet you $10," the man said.

That was all the one-armed man needed to hear. He jumped up off the floor and said, "You're on."

"He reached down around his waist and removed his wide leather belt." Bo explained that his brother used that belt for a lot of things. "He draped it around his neck, walked up to the wheel barrow and bent his knees slightly, looped the belt under one handle and grabbed the other with his right arm and straightened up. Lickety split, out the door he went, up the ramp and dumped the load into the back of the truck."

"Back inside, he collected the $10. That was a lot of money back then. He put the bill in his shirt pocket, put his belt back on and sat back down on the floor and went to slinging the sledge hammer."

It seems the only disabled worker on the job that day was the man with the two good arms and the lame brain.

There were no more bets.



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H. Riley Bock
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