My buddy Charlie McLaughlin just passed away. They broke the mold when they made Charlie. Either that or he broke it himself. I made this video a few years ago. It has lots of audio issues. I can't find the original video but when I do I'll repost it. I found the source files but they have gotten a little corrupt. I have more video lying around of Charlie somewhere.
Charlie was one of my most favorite people in the world.
When I moved back to the farm, I'm not really sure how it began that I started hanging out with Charlie & Ruthie (his wife). I think a good man (me) needs to hang out with some good old people to see what it's like if you hang in there long enough. I was living in my grandpa's old house at the time but he was long gone and pretty elderly even when I was young. Charlie filled a void for me in some way.
I loved going out to get whatever tour I could from Charlie. He gave me a couple of the tours shown in this video. He gave me a winter tour in a truck all over the twisty, hilly roads in our neighborhood. He made me jump in his "mule" (ATV) for a woodland tour once and showed me all of his secrets.
One time I said something about the view near his house. He said it was the most beautiful place on earth. He was the most positive guy I know. I loved being near Charlie. He always made you feel comfortable. As soon as you entered his house tossed a chair your way so you could sit down and talk.
When I was a kid Charlie didn't have as much time to talk. He was a hyper active old man! He was always digging ditches or engineering pipes or farm equipment and helping anyone else (like my Dad) do the same. If Charlie had a fault it was being in a hurry more than the human body would allow. All of his kids had a digit cut off or been run over by a tractor wheel...Once, when I was 16 years old, he talked me though cutting down a small tree. We were clearing a path for a water system for the cows. He talked me through it really fast from a few feet away. The tree hit me on the head. You didn't show pain in front of Charlie though. He was too cool for pain!
He used to be a lot taller and stronger than me but dropped a rotary cutter on himself while fixing it. His grandson pulled him out and saved his life. He was shorter than me after that though. He never complained about having a broken neck or being in extreme pain for the next fifteen years of his life.
Once when i was on one of my ATV tours with Charlie some guys in a truck flagged us down to talk. They asked Charlie all kinds of small talk questions and new all of his business. When they pulled away I asked who they were. He just said "I don't know. I've never been good with names." I think of that whenever I can't remember someone's name. What's in a name anyway? He obviously knew them well. Sometimes I wondered if he knew who I was. It never really mattered though he was always up for anything. I will miss Charlie severely. He used his body all up and had to go.
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