During the 1960’s there remained a spattering of veterans of WWII. Bob was such . No one really got to know Bob intimately. There was the usual interest in women, alcohol, and a bit of unusual interest in an attempt at inventions. He usually sported a small fedora cocked to one side. He usually spouted his knowledge while re positioning this adornment.
Bob prided himself as a rigging authority. Rigging is the construction method that you attach to a structure to be able to reach open, spanned areas for painting or other operations. His foray into inventions was sprinkled with certain successes. He developed an electric roller for painting storage tanks. This mechanism was secured to the center of the tank with a cable on the center vent on top, and had a drive mechanism to roll the roller around the circumference of the tank. Another cable would be hooked to the roller to suspend the climbing device or a set of rope falls to the side of the tank. Bob spent quite a bit of money on developing this equipment. Bob passed away shortly after a successful trial of the roller.
I recall Bob and his friend Ott contracting the painting of the flagpole in Kelly Ingram Park. Bob would use climbing rope stirrups to climb the pole. These ropes were an old method of placing rope loops on the feet and individually wrapping the rope to the pole. He then having climbed the slender pole, secured the top block of the rope falls with baling wire to the hasp on the flag chain. This was against all that is holy as far as safety is concerned. Can you envision yourself suspended over 100 feet in the air secured with several loops of wire wrapped around a pulley designed only to hold a flag? He then slid down the pole and let Ott sit in the boswain chair and he would help pull him up the pole. Ott made it to the top while the pole swayed to and fro. He made it to the top but did not anticipate his rapid descent as the hasp broke. Picture, if you will,
a man sitting in a wooden seat much lake a child’s swing in a free fall down a flagpole, the lump of block and falls pursuing him. These people were crafty and in excellent condition due to there work regimen. Somehow Ott fought and grabbed the pole about twelve feet off the ground. His chest resembled hamburger from the abrasion on the pole as he determined when he hit the ground. Bob seeing that Ott was able to move, used his favorite nickname for everyone and said, “that’s o.k. “dad”, I’ll go up and finish, we need the money.” Ott said“You paint the pole I’m going home and get drunk.” This was a short lived partnership.
In defense of Bob, he was a veteran of WWII and contacted jungle rot on his hands. He continued to be re-afflicted with this condition throughout his life. We seem never to give enough thanks for these men’s services to insure our freedom.