Photos (1) View All

I suppose to kids today, a CB radio is as foreign to them as a rotary dial telephone, well almost as foreign as a landline.

My first introduction to a CB was back in the '70's.

My uncle Harley owned a construction business and had a large truck with his name on the side that read "McNeal Construction". It was like a large bread truck, gray with his logo in a lime green block on the side.

When he was around, it felt to me like the "important guy" was here, I mean hey, he had his name on his own truck!

In this same time period, my dad was working nights in Cedar Rapids, at Iowa Manufacturing, and so my mom found herself with 2 little girls and nothing to fill the evenings.

I remember those times as some of the most fun ones with her. Sometimes we'd go out for popcorn or broasted potatoes and while we sat in the car, we'd turn on WMT and listen to the old-time radio shows. Fibber McGee and Molly, The Great Gildersleeve, the Life of Riley with Digby Odel, the Friendly Undertaker, whahahha..to those that know that line.

I remember one evening we were out at what is now Tootsies, then it was the Tastee Freeze.

I'd ask for a Green River, a drink that was probably just green kool-aid with a little fizz. Then we'd sit out in the car and listen to the radio.

This night, my uncle pulled up in his big truck next to us, he was single for a long time, so that's always a good deal if you're the oldest niece. He let me crawl into his truck beside him and showed me how his CB worked.

He explained that you needed a name to talk on the CB and I of course at the age of 7 or 8 didn't have my own "handle" so he looked at me and decided that "Pink Sweater" would be my name.

I have no idea what we talked about on the CB, or who we talked to, but I remember that he gave me a "handle". I think it was the only time I was ever "Pink Sweater" and I don't remember using his CB again, but I remember that little snippet of time.

He used to work at McDowell's I assume right out of high school, and later I remember seeing his truck parked there to get his supplies.

My grandpa was also a bit of a furniture maker, and I still have a rocking chair and a telephone stand that he made. But my prized possession was always my first toy box.

My uncle Harley made it for my first birthday. It has what's left of my name still on the front.

I always loved that little toy box. It wasn't heavy enough to use for today's toys, but I hung on to it.

I was also fascinated with the grandfather clock that he made for my grandparents. He would say, "It was just a kit that I put together" but I still loved to hear it chime.

Later on, he was the one that got me hooked on genealogy putting together our first McNeal family tree into print form. At the time I was about 15 and helped to type it up on a manual typewriter. I was hooked. I loved the name of my great grandma, Sadie and I met her via him.

My kids are now rolling their eyes and thinking, "So THIS is the guy that is responsible for the 6 file cabinets of family papers that we can't just throw away..." yep, he's your man.

Harley didn't marry until I was probably in my 20's. My sister and I sang at his wedding. "We've only just begun", was the song that he and his bride Mamie chose. That was the first wedding that I ever played for.

He was a pretty quiet guy. But he was a steady guy.

Following my grandmother's death in '79, he became responsible to take care of my grandpa who was in the early stages of Alzheimer's. There were a lot of talks about things he'd do while Harley was gone at work, and eventually, Harley had to put him in a care center.

Those were not fun times.

But he took care of things for the family.

These are just a few small snippets of time that define that little dash between the birth and death dates that will be on his headstone.

He was never one to demand anything from anyone but was always a hard working guy.

We'll miss him for sure.

But for now, this is Pink Sweater from the corn patch, signing off, thanks for everything, Good Buddy.





Submit a Comment

Please refresh the page to leave Comment.

Still seeing this message? Presh Ctrl + F5 to do a "Hard Refresh".

Comments (0)


To receive each day's headlines to your inbox sign up for our email updates.