Rhoades Family Blog

The Rhoades Family Blog is a way for the members of the Wm. W. Rhoades, Jr. family to stay in touch. This website is exclusively for family and friends.

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Location: Marietta, Georgia, United States

I am a writer of great songs that you can hear on MySpace.com/eddierhoades and that's only a sampling of what I do live. I hope you delve into the archived blogs

Sunday, January 30, 2005

A Tribute Of Sorts

This may not seem much of a story to anyone else but while we were living in Utah where Dad was foreman of Long Banknote Company West, a man came in one day and asked dad for a job. The guy said "I am not going to lie to you, I spent the last two years in prison but I've paid my debt to society and now I need a job." Dad, to his great credit wanted to give the guy a second chance and hire him but his boss Sid, said "no." I think this little story as much as anything points out what a compassionate person my Dad could be toward his fellow man.

More Boat Tales

I remember Daddy telling me about the time he borrowed Uncle Jack's motor and put it on his boat so that he would have two 5 horsepower motors at the same time. He said that they could outrun boats with 30 hp. motors! The only problem with that boat was that because of the flat bottom, it had the tendency to catch the wind and try to flip! Someone with substantial weight had to sit in the front to hold it down.
Once, during their teenage years, Odell was playing with the boat by turning the motor to the full right with the full throttle. The boat would spin around and the nose would come way up out of the water. As it would happen, the unpredictable wind caught the flat, light boat and flipped it completely over. Eddie was watching from the shore as Odell somehow managed to right the boat and bail enough water out to ride it back to shore. Odell made Eddie swear to "never tell Daddy" about this incident.
Some thirty-something years later, while Pop-pop (as our daddy was affectionately called by his grandchildren), Odell, Eddie and I (Bobby) were sitting around reminicing about old times, Eddie exclaimed, "Hey Odell, you remember the time you turned the boat over?"
Odell, with a look of shock on his face exclaimed, "You said you weren't going to tell daddy!"
The next day as Daddy and I were talking at work, he chuckled out loud thinking of Odell's reaction to Eddie's revelation. "What did Odell think I was going to do? Spank him?"

Saturday, January 29, 2005

She Said It

I think it was Benjamin Franklin who said the difference between the right word and almost the right word was like the difference between lightning and lightning bug.
We were all seated around the supper table: Mother, Daddy, Odell, Eddie, Becky, Jackie and Bobby plus some visiting adults, don't remember who. Everybody was engaged in eating and conversation when the conversation led to Becky having a missing front tooth at her age. Sister Becky announced "My daddy said if I did not have a tooth by the age of 12 that he was going to buy me some falsies." Suddenly all talking stopped. I quickly glanced at dad to see his reaction and he was frozen with his mouth open and a forkful of food halfway to it. Everyone else was either staring at the table or looking at Becky. Becky noticed this reaction to something she had just said as she looked up and down the table. She finally figured it out and said "Oh, I mean false teeth." We slowly regained normalcy but I was laughing and shaking my head in disbelief. I wonder if anyone else remembers that incident.
Once when we were in Florida, Dad, Becky and I were driving along when we passed a grocery store unlike those at home. Becky read the name aloud and said PUBLIX only she pronounced it as you would pubic. Dad just stared straight ahead as I sniggered away. I can't go by one of their stores today without thinking of that time.
Then there was the time brother Odell asked Becky if she liked frozen pizza and she said "no." So Odell started telling me how he and his wife would buy a frozen pizza that said heat for 15 minutes but they always heated it for 20 minutes because that made it taste better. Becky interrupted and said "Heat it? you asked me if I liked FROZEN pizza."
The look on my brother's face was priceless.

Thursday, January 27, 2005

The Day Of Reckoning

Odell and I were just a year apart with him being the oldest. Naturally we played games just like everyone else. In some of these games, whichever character, real or imaginary, you chose to be determined whether you were the automatic winner. some characters were equal, like if Odell chose to be Mr Moto and I chose to be Georgeous George it would be sort of a standoff. Going through this process one day of who was going to be who, one of us was going to be Superman (a sure winner - almost) and the other decided to be Jesus. We knew Jesus was the son of God and God was all powerful but we weren't sure if these powers were transferable. As in most of our childhood arguments we decided to let Daddy be the judge so we went together and asked him "Daddy, if Jesus and Superman got into a fight, who would win?" Daddy thought about this a moment and said "Go and bring me ALL of your comic books." We brought them to dad who was outside by this time in the field beside our house. He put the comics in a pile, poured a little gas on them and set them on fire.
I guess that was our answer.
From then on whenever we would ask for a comic book the only ones Mother or Dad would buy were Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Our Boat

One day my dad brought home a large package that he had bought at Sears Roebuck and Company. It was a boat kit. Who knew you could get a kit for a boat? My dad was devoted to the project of assembling this boat. He did not have a single power tool. All sawing, sanding, drilling and inserting screws were done by hand.

Every night just as soon as he finished supper he would be out on the front porch working on his project. Soon it began to take shape and actually look like a boat. Brass screws were inserted every couple of inches on strips of wood that spanned the joints. All this twisting of screws began to get to dad's wrist and so he bought a screwdriver that had a helix in the shaft and all you had to do was push on it and it would turn automatically. This was a big help for installing thousands of screws.

Then one day dad bought some dark green paint and painted it. We put the mattress in the back of the panel truck tied the boat on top with some old rope, piled five kids in the back and took off for lake Alatoona. Dad and us boys carried the boat out and set it in the water for the first time and it immediately.....sank.

My dad's heart sank with it. We went ahead and spent the day at the lake but the next day dad goes down to the people at Fair Oaks Hardware store and asks their advice. They told him just what they thought he should do so he bought some cotton string and some tar and went back home to disassemble the boat. Between every panel and joint he pressed string then sealed the joint with tar melted on the stove. Then he put the runners back on with all the attendant screwing of the brass screws.

At the next opportunity on a Saturday we carried the boat back to the same spot and sat it in the water and it sank again. But this time it didn't sink quite as fast as before. We found out by trial and error that it was good to actually put water in the boat and let it set a while so that the joints would swell and leak less. We marked the spots that leaked the worst so dad could work on them later and we went ahead and used the boat staying close to shore. Repairing spot after spot the boat got better but we always carried a tin cup to bail the water with.

We were uptown now. We were no longer stranded on the shore like common people - we had a boat. We had bragging rights at school and in the neighborhood. WE HAVE A BOAT AND YOU DON'T. Then another milestone happened: Daddy brought home a small gas motor for the boat. I can't remember if it was a Johnson or an Evenrude but it was a beautiful, shiny, new motor. We mixed some oil with gas for the two-cycle engine, cranked it up and we were off.

After a few runs up and down the lake we found an old piece of plywood and tied it to the rope. Dad would let us kids ride on this piece of plywood towed behind the boat. We were having a great time. Other people began having a great time too, at our expense. The bigger boats would spot us and roar by dangerously close, making a wake so high that it was like being rocked by an ocean wave, We screamed and held on for dear life and the bigger boat drivers would just laugh at what the had done to the poor, defenseless white trash out riding around on their lake.

Sometimes dad would follow their boat back to where they docked and the people might be trying to eat or fish and we would just ride up and down making the biggest waves we could, rocking their boat and scaring the fish away and just being loud and vengeful. Even back then I wondered at every boaters mentality of putting in their boat and racing as fast as they could go to the opposite shore to fish when the people on the opposite shore would do the same thing. I guess it was all about who could get to the opposite side where the fish supposedly were the quickest.

This boat was a source of endless fun and trips to the lake camping out. We didn't even have a tent, we slept in the truck , under it or just outside on the ground with a blanket. We loved that boat and used it for many years and I don't remember whatever happened to it. Seems like I do remember that motor being around many years after the boat was gone. Objects like that don't last forever, but the memories do.

Thanks, dad.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

Daddy's Ragged Old Truck

By Robert Rhoades

It seems Daddy was working for a printing shop in Atlanta in the late 40's and early 50's named Gate City Printing. It was a small printing shop and all they could afford was itenerant pressmen like my dad and his brother, Jack (Pete And Repeat). From time to time there were other workers like Spud, the 16 year old who looked 25. And Junior Salmon worked there, too. There are lots of stories about them that will be revealed later.

But daddy was given a truck because the owners, Johnny and Barbie, were so fond of him. It was a 1936 Chevrolet paneled sedan delivery truck. It had a few dents because it was the company delivery truck. The clutch didn't work too well. The steering column came loose regularly (while driving). And the rings were shot. It burned so much oil that there were no mosquitoes between Gate City printing and our house in Clarkston. But it was well received because daddy and Jack could ride together to work in this car!

This truck had no back seats and that was good! Daddy would throw one of the matresses from a large bed into the back. Then all the kids would pile in while mom and dad drove us to Augusta. The trip took about five to six hours so somewhere about twelve or one o'clock in the morning we would arrive at our grandmother's house. I, being the youngest, would usually pass out before we got to Conyers. The rest would be asleep before Thompson.
Once we travelled to Augusta and only stopped long enough to take on more passengers. Everybody that wanted to go was allowed until we had a total of thirteen in that un-airconditioned truck. We never ate at a restaurant or slept in a motel. We took picnic type food and slept in, on, under and around the truck. I remember gathering driftwood along the beach for the fire that cooked the crabs we had for supper that night. After a few days of that we headed back from Charleston to Augusta but coming back was different. we were sunburned and sand was everywhere. It was miserable. Dad had a bucket of fish iced down and tied to the front bumper and they got to smelling so bad it was gagging everyone so we had to stop and pour them out. Then the steering wheel came off and we went plowing through a cornfield before we could get tthe truck stopped. While dad went to town for parts we all waited at a country store. Since this was before air conditioning we waited outside where it was hot and dusty. That's when cousin frank decided to knock down a wasps nest and several people got stung. Everybody was mad at Frank but of course everybody was usually mad at Frank for something.

Many times we would follow the same routine of packing a mattress and picnic lunch and go to Lake Alatoona. I loved waking up to breakfast at the lake. Anytime I smell fresh coffee and bacon frying it reminds me of those early days.

Daddy, years later, finally sold the truck for $35 so he would have money to take my mother out for their anniversary. She was mad at him that night and refused to go anywhere. We sure missed that truck. (Eddie's comment) We five kids stood in the driveway watching the truck that was practically a part of our family leaving and we all cried. I was sad for days.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Bowling for Porcupine

By Robert Rhoades

You've seen the kids on TV with their hair all spiked? It looks as though they got their head caught in a MixMaster blender! Well, my daddy started that fad. Years ago, when I was not even a glimmer in my mother's eye, my daddy decided to save money by purchasing a pair of hair clippers and cutting my two older brothers' hair. Think about the math. It cost about 50 cents a piece to cut the two boys' hair. That's a dollar a month. For only six dollars he bought a manual pair of hair clippers (not electric). He would be saving a dollar a month! That may not sound like a lot but back then $10 would buy enough groceries to feed a family of four for a week! And in only two years time he would be saving a lot of money.

One of my daddy's first forays into the barbering business was my brother Eddie. Daddy would cut and pull at the same time which would make Eddie jerk and pull some hair out. After a few months of this Eddie had a lot of sores all over his head. Daddy thought Eddie probably had the mange from playing with the neighor's dog. In any case, while trying to cut Eddie's hair and not being able to manouver around the sores, Daddy became frustrated at the fact his hair looked worse and worse with each attempt and got the razor out and shaved Eddie bald! When mother came home and saw Eddie sitting on the front porch sulking, looking like a albino monkey she screamed, "What happened to my litle boy?"!!! Daddy, full of manly pride, stuck out his chest and said, "I did that!"

Mother, none too happy, told my daddy that he would have to take Eddie to work with him until Eddie's hair grew back. She, "wasn't going to sit around the house and look at that pitiful child all day." Poor little Eddie had to endure the torments and stares of his classmates until his hair grew back. He was a terribly scrawny kid anyway and his bald head just made him look like he had just had chemotherapy.

Glad You Forgot

By Robert Rhoades

One day when I was only about 11 years old, my daddy had been drinking. It didn't take too many beers to light his bulb. But he made a comment that instilled fear in me for years. He said, "Boy ... when you turn 16 I'm going to take on you and your two brothers and I'm going whoop the tar out of all three of you!"

I didn't realize at the time that it was the alcohol doing most of the talking, but I started dreading my sixteenth birthday from that moment on. Years later, about twenty years later, I told daddy how I had feared turning sixteen and why. He looked at me with a puzzled look and told me, "I never said no such thing!"

All I could say was, "I was so glad you forgot."

Monday, January 10, 2005

Cooking For Museletter

by Eddie Rhoades

True story: My mother passed by the stove and felt the heat and said “This stove is on.” Looking inside she found some biscuits that resembled charcoal bricklets. After she thought about it awhile she remembered she had put those biscuits in the oven three days ago. She let them cool off and threw pan and all in the trash. Later in the day her youngest daughter stopped by and noticed the burnt stuff in the trash and said “Mother, what’s this?” Mother told her what had happened and the daughter thought it was hilariously funny. She glued the biscuits back to the pan and used whiteout to write on the pan “Mema’s Home Cooking.” Then she hung it on the wall where it remains to this day. Someday her kids may fight over this as a family heirloom.

Although I was one of five children my mother always made me feel special. Just for me she used to make fried bananas. I love fruit and the bananas were hot and melted inside a silver dollar sized pancake smothered in syrup. They were heavenly delicious. Nowadays I am not supposed to have fried things (cholesterol) or syrup (calories) or the pancake (carbohydrates).

This topic of food brings back memories of when my mother left us for a while and Daddy had to fix our supper every night. The first night he took an iron skillet and heated up a concoction of tomatoes, macaroni, onions and corn. Us kids looked at it and said “Daddy, what is this?” He answered “It’s goulash.” Well we had heard of goulash so even though it looked odd, we ate it. The next night, in the same skillet, he mixed up macaroni, lima beans, cheese and peppers. We all looked at it and said “Daddy, what is this?” again he said “It’s goulash. This went on every night with some wild concoction of different ingredients which was always called goulash. Believe it or not all this talk about food is making me hungry. I think I’ll whip up some traditional family goulash.