Ricky Harpole 6/11/13

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Advancing age, hard living take toll, force caution where fool once trod

I’ll have to admit that I have loved all things mechanical. From knives with springs to farm equipment to Volkswagen Beetles. Later on it was gunsmithing and light aircrafts.

Unfortunately all the skills I developed depended on eyesight and manual dexterity, as well as an accurate memory.

All of that has about gone south of the border now. I’ve burned the finger tips on rough guitars, cooked the vision with faulty welding hoods, and whereas I could go on with complaints of conditions, I’ve been afflicted with intentions of honesty and am forced to concede that advancing age and hard living are just now getting around to comin’ into play.

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Two episodes of matrimony didn’t do a lot for  my mental stability and a stabilizer on a home-built aircraft didn’t do a thing but damage my left shoulder and right knee.

Two snake bites have about accounted for  several discombobulated  organs.

A rabid dog bit me, and 20 years later I survived a boat sinking in the Mighty Mississippi River. (All deckhands survived but it was touch-and-go till the pilot ran us into a sandbar in shallow water.)

All the above potential disasters (except matrimony) delved from my fascination with gadgets and machinery.

I managed to survive the Delta juke joints and a prolonged series of misadventures with Bail Bondsmen in the Fugitive Recovery Misadventure Department.

I’m thankful to be  here to relate all these episodes of my misdirected life, but it certainly has left me tired, and while I never was much to look at, I’m getting uglier by the minute. That fact, by the way, is probably to my advantage, as it will probably keep me out of any matrimonial problems in the future.

There was at least one occasion when I chickened out of a project. It was the home-built, ultra-light helicopter.  You could buy the plans for $25 or the whole kit for $1,500.  The blueprints and pamphlets stated that most of the parts required for assembly of this fine aviation marvel can be purchased at your local scrap-yard.

It went on to say that a used truck rear-end could supply the main rotor controls. An old outboard motor turned sideways provided the tail rotor and a 61-cubic-inch Harley motor would supply the power plant.

To top that off, the control stick came down to the pilot from above instead of below which causes it to steer backwards.

I was pretty fast losing interest in the whole project when here came the clincher. I read the last sentence in big black letters: “Caution: Although you may be an experienced rotor wing pilot, we recommend you tether the machine to the ground on a 10 foot rope due to its unique handling characteristics.”

Good Luck,
Ricky Harpole
(Contact Harpole at www.facebook.com/harpolive or www.colespointrecords.com)