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Draplin Design Co., North America



So I’m flying along on old Bardstown road, out of old Bardstown, heading north along 31 up towards Louisville. I was down the way checking out an old Civil War museum, and as I was racing towards the city I happened upon an old drive-in theater. I quickly pulled over, turned in and rolled in down the old path, through a rickety, old gate and around the back of the thing. Once off the road, and behind the monster, I quickly realized it was someone’s estate. I rolled to a stop, put Big S in reverse and started backing out. Now, the whole time, I’m on the phone with Baker discussing magazine stuff, so, in my halfhearted defense, my mind was elsewhere.

228. “A reason to stop.”
229. “Dead obelisk.”

I’m backing up, just about to the gate when I see an old man running up to me. But, not running in the sense of “running.” More of a “fast walking” kind of thing, but all gangly and a mistep away from breaking a kneecap or something. He’s waving his arm wildly, and, well, I knew I was in for it. I quickly said goodbye to Baker and rolled down my passenger side window.

Old man, yelling: “Why you runnin’?”
Culprit: “Running? No sir. Just backing up to leave.”

He’s leaning into the cockpit, shaking a big meaty finger at me through the window. He’s old and visibly shaken.

230. “Just what do you think you are doing!”

Old man: “You were back here to steal copper!”
Copper Stealer: “Copper? No sir.”
Old man: “Well, when you’ve been ripped off like I have, well…”
Druggie: “Sir, I was just back here to check out the drive-in.”
Old man: “Where you from?!”
City Boy: “Portland, Oregon. I’m just out driving the…”
Old Man: “You got tags?”

He walks to the back of the rig to check my plate. He comes back to the window.

Old Man: “You didn’t see those signs, boy?”

I look back and there are a couple “No Trespassing” signs on the opened gate, about the size of a school book.

Aaron: “No sir, I didn’t see those. I was too busy checking out the big screen as I rolled in.”
Old Man: “Well, you almost got shot. I coulda shotchya. You are trespassin’.”
Aaron: “Sir, I…”
Old Man: “You got respect for the law, boy? I am the law in here.”
Aaron: “I assure you, I mean no disrespect by saying this, but, the place looked abandoned.”
Old Man: “Sure it does. But that doesn’t mean you can just come back here. See, I’ve been finding tire tracks and hypdermic needles and, well, city folk from Louisville, druggies, have been coming back here to steal copper. You know how much copper goes for?”
Aaron: “No sir I don’t, you mean like scrap cop…”
Old Man: “Yeah, scrap. It goes for three bucks a pound.”

Talk turned to him forgiving me, and what I did for a living, why I wasn’t married yet, old signs, old ruins, city life and his age.

Aaron: “I knew I was in trouble when I saw you running up.”
Old Man: “Yeah, well…”
Aaron: “You move good for an old timer. How old are ya?”
Old Man: “How old you think I am?”
Aaron: “I’d put you at 70, 71 or so.”
Old Man: “Try 80.”

He offered his hand to shake and I shook it and apologized for about the 37th time.

Old Man: “My name is Paul Hutchins. I’ve been retired for 40 years.”
Aaron: “Wow. My name is Aar…”

Old man Hutchins had a way of cutting ya off completely. I didn’t have a say in the matter, and he kept it that way. He started naming his titles.

Paul: “I’m a laywer, a foreman, a salesman, a promoter, a…you know what a promoter is, boy?”
Aaron: “Yeah, that means that ya…”
Paul: “I sell things. You got an idea? I’ll sell it for you and promote it.”
Aaron: “I see, I see.”

231. “A list of services.”

After some more chit chat, he let me off, and let me go. He said that if I would kept going after he yelled for me to stop, he would have jumped on my hood. Wow. At 80. Maybe next time.

232. “And back to his post he went.”

I pulled away with a big smile, and, feeling a little bad for getting the old man so excited. The place looked as dead and abandoned as anything I’ve seen in my travels, and, well, that just goes to show ya.

There Are 3 Comments

careful down south there buddy.not bein from round those parts is lible to get yer ass shot. keep yer nose clean ya hear

Posted by: frank zuccini on 04/01/07 at 7:24 PM

Thanks for this - totally made my day. There’s something about talking to old-timers that just makes me grin…

Posted by: Seth on 04/02/07 at 10:22 AM

Hi Mr. Draplin. Impressive restraint and patience dealing with the gruff old man and you were so greatly rewarded with his story, as were we with your story which was a great read (although the story had to recover itself after beginning with “So”, but we don’t know eachother and I’ve no right to say, nor you any obligation to pay any attention). So I’ll just say, “Nice job.”

Posted by: michelle on 04/04/07 at 12:19 PM
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