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Little boys

By Mark Stinson
Posted Wednesday, January 18, 2006

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Once, a little boy grew and most everything he saw he learned to draw. His fascination with drawing and capturing the moment gets him noticed later in life. He goes on to become involved with a group of very talented people all intent on learning new things and exploring new possibilities. His eye for detail got the attention of his superiors. He was asked to draw what he envisioned their projects would look like. Larry’s work was well known throughout the group he was involved with.

One day the boss asked Larry if he could draw and illustrate a symbol to be attached to the projects that reflected their goals and who they were. After some thought and a few doodles on paper he walked around looking at all the things that were going on there and still had no idea of what to draw. He went out for some fresh air and looked up into the clear blue sky and gazed as the sun sparkled on the sides of their latest project pointed toward the heavens and a thought came to him.

Later that day Larry drew a circular jet stream with a rocket blazing into the heavens to illustrate the idea to boldly go where no one has gone before. All that was left was to abbreviate the name of this organization and place it in the new symbol. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA was placed on the new symbol and has since been on every space craft they have launched into space.

Another little boy grew up one of nine brothers and sisters. Since the boys learned to work early in life at that time, he only made it to the 6th grade. He worked on the farm and at 16 went to a CC work camp. He was helping other boys his age clear trees and brush for the surveyors through the mountains so a new road could be built. He couldn’t read or write well, struggling to sign his own name but had a natural ability to do math in his head. He learned geometry, trigonometry, algebra and many other complex math formulations naturally.

The surveyors were making calculations one day for elevations and grade when he overheard them discussing the numbers. He spoke up and told them their math was wrong. The senior surveyor snapped and said, “Boy, who’s the surveyor and who’s the grunt around here.” He walked off and another surveyor asked him what he meant by “the math was wrong.” The elevation is off by 12 feet he replied. The man asked the boy how he knew this. The boy replied “I figured the math and it’s off”. The road bed will be too low on this side of the mountain and won’t mate to the tunnel from the other side.

The man asked where his math problem was and he would look it over to show the boy where he was wrong. The boy replied I did it in my head and proceeded to do the math on the ground with a stick to come up with the same answer. The man checked the boy’s findings and was amazed as the boy corrected the formula the senior surveyor used to come up with the correct grade and incline. The man thanked the boy and told him to go back to work.

Later that day after hearing shouting and cursing the boy was met by a red faced senior surveyor. “You think you’re smart, don’t ya, Tom?” calling the boy by his name for the first time.

“No sir, I just didn’t want everyone mad when the road was too low for the tunnel.”

The older man said, “Well you can make me mad anytime son because I don’t want it to low either. Why don’t you come let me teach you how to survey Tom?”

The older man gave him a transit and some basic surveying tools that the young boy kept and used across this state till his retirement. The road was finished and if you ever travel the Blue Ridge Parkway and pass through a curved tunnel on an upgrade you can thank a young boy for making that tunnel possible along that beautiful stretch of road.

Another little boy watched his daddy upholster furniture and learned all he could from him. His daddy loved to talk to people and so did he. He was fascinated with how everything worked and spent hours building models or drawing. He was deeply fascinated with space exploration and enjoyed math problem solving giving great attention to details. He submitted a drawing to a contest on a local TV show. The drawing was shown on TV and he was invited to the NC State Fair to the tent where Barney’s Army was being telecast. Little did he know he was being captured on camera and broadcast on TV during that visit.

Later his love for old cars and hot rods took him to the Greensboro Coliseum for a custom car show with his friend Marvin. While looking at a fully restored ‘65 Pontiac GTO he was asked by a soft voice from behind how he was enjoying the car show. He replied fine and turned to speak to a reporter Bobby Batista for his first real TV interview.

Sometime later on a trip to the local high school he helped a lady in a RV park and told her a little of what was going on and he walked away. Moments later the lady from WTVD asked him if he would mind being interviewed about the Chatham County Nuclear Waste dump proposal. His second ever TV interview was brief but to the point; “I don’t like it, we don’t need it, we definitely don’t want it. I feel we are being picked out due to the fact we are a rural county with little resistance to change.”

The young man went on to work for GM then Toyota and finally back to helping his dad upholster just before his dad passed away. His unique life has given him many other opportunities to be interviewed on TV and radio since.

Today a little boy sick from a cold sits in his daddy’s lap looking at photos on the wall. The little boy asked Daddy who is that and points at a photo.

“That’s papa Marlin and some of my friends and relatives.”

“What’s a relative?” He asked.
“It’s someone we are related to, like I am your daddy and papa Marlin was my daddy and so forth. Relatives are people we are connected to that we love and learn from.”

“Who are they?” He asked and pointed at yet more pictures.

“That’s your granddaddy Tom and that’s Uncle Larry. Granddaddy Tom taught Papa Marlin math and how to measure and Uncle Larry taught him how to draw and he taught me. “

“Will you teach me how daddy?”

“Yes I sure will.”

The little boy had asked all his questions and decided it was time for a nap.

Drew left me as I sat and looked at the transit my granddaddy left me and drawings from Uncle Larry’s NASA days along with other items cluttering my office and decided I didn’t need to clean up my office.

My office isn’t full of clutter; just a little boy’s memories and its all relative to who I am and who my kids will become.

Most know me as the man who was hit by lightning four times but I was much more before that, I was a little boy

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