Monday, April 11, 2011

Clifford Elton O'Dell Sr.. . A Rememberance.

     As many already know  my grandfather Clifford O'Dell Sr  Passed away this past Friday.  He is in many of our thoughts, memories over these past few days and  I feel the need to share some of these thoughts with you.     

   Many can and perhaps may  say some things negative about the later years of this 95 year old paternal federal head of a very large family.  Some of these things may be true,  But why?   I prefer to focus on  the so many great things I can remember of my grandfather.  In truth  the vast majority of my happy memories  of my childhood are of my grandfather. I remember  him in his workshop.  Always  always in his workshop,  and he was ever so generous  with his tools and his equipment.  In those days it seemed like a problem was  more of an opportunity  then a calamity.  Whenever he had a problem he almost smiled  because that meant  he could go into the shop and figure out  a solution.   And solutions were found.  Everything from a broken plow  to a tractor that didn't start  as reliably as desired grandpa would ponder it out  and  in many cases  make something.   It was this that inspired in me a love of crafting and creating.   Grinding, fixing,  drilling, cutting,  sometimes wood but most often metal  Many many afternoons spent  making things work and after they got working  making them work better.   Everything from garden tools  to knives to pots and pans.   He would apply that same  relentless optimism  to his garden.   No matter what failures happened one year  he would take some small knowledge from the attempt and use it to the eventual success  later.  It seemed  that between them  grandpa and grandma  could grow anything.       

   I remember the year we had so many problems with flies and bees.  Did I say problem?   Was it truly a problem?  Nay  as always  it was an opportunity  and  thus  it was not long  before grandpa had developed a solution   and  the bee trap was born.   Ingenious in its design and elegant in its simplicity and it worked  just as desired.    

 I remember a man of great faith.  Quiet faith  never  pushy  or overbearing   never  in your face with the fake piety  that so many self-righteous Christians have these days.   But he read his bible  every day and worked hard never to judge or malign others.   Can we say the same?  He understood long suffering  and  endurance  and while  I can't say  I remember him being terribly patient  I can say  he had a way of building into each day a small achievement  that could lead  over time to a very big achievement  almost as if  he could see it from the beginning and slowly shaped it into being.    

I can remember later  when I entered my profession as a Machinist  often going to grandpas  early in the morning  after work  and chatting with him  about  working in a factory.  I learned so very much about factory life  and about the making of things.  Oh   how  I wish I had a tape recorder so I could share the wealth of wisdom he bestowed upon me.   We had so much in common with that regard.  He was one of the few people I have ever known  that truly understood  the very real rigors of a factory life.  The slow, weary, grinding away,  day after day and endless stream of parts. How to remain fresh and maintain a modicum of sanity with the tedium that is  a machinist's lot.   He was fastidious  everything  had to be "just so"  and  I was one of the few people that understood that this comes from  being a machine operator.   We spend our days scrutinizing hundreds of parts that are meant to be identical  looking for  the one  that is not right  looking for the smallest things.  It breeds a bit of compulsiveness for order and habit.   

I will miss you grandpa.  For all the reasons I have written and so many more.   Have fun in that  great big workshop in  heaven and when its my day to join you we can share another cup of coffee and remember the good old factory days.