Our project of the day was supposed to be to rest, but I hear that there is no rest for the weary. Instead we decided to go out to Jay's Dads house to weld. Because I am known for my clumsiness, I am not allowed to weld or even be near when welding is going on. This frees me up for lots of lolly gagging. What a great pastime! We should all have one full day of lolly gagging a week. Anyway, as I was lollying around with my blueberry phone camera, I started thinking about Jay's Dad. Everywhere I looked, I could "feel" Big Al. Now, Big Al is a big man with a big personality! If you have ever seen the movie, BIG FISH, you have seen a glimpse of Big Al. The best southern description that I can use to describe him is ,"that fellow is a character!" and I LOVE me some characters. Al's original claim to fame is his knowledge of turtles. He knows everything there is to know about the turtle. He has trapped them, raised them, studied them, and even eaten them. He was in National Geographic back in the 80's for knowing so much about them. But turtles are just the tip of his iceberg. His passion for nature is so intense that I wouldn't be surprised if God gave him a huge rack of antlers when he gets to heaven! Traps and nets line the fence behind his shop. He traps turtles, alligators, beavers, hogs, armadillos, and things I didn't even know were out there! His fascination with the critters is downright contagious.
He had these bones out in the sun for some project. You see, he looks at the world in a very practical way. His heritage is Native American and there is no mistaking that! He traps, he eats, and then he uses what is left for crafts. There is nothing black or white about Al. The more colorful-the better!He loves making crafts and he loves to add color. This is the trailer that he built and painted for he and his wife to travel to shows in. He tells me that he is going to paint pictures on the panels soon. I can't wait.
Al grows strawberries in old cast iron tubs.
He builds "bird" houses for his birds
He collects the most interesting things. He is also a diver, which means that his collections range from river bottom fossilized bones
to driftwood, rocks, stones, and I even found a brick collection.
Big Al's life inspired me today. He always has a song in his heart(even though he only knows one line to 5 songs). He always tries to look on the bright side (and he likes his side so bright that you can't miss it). He truly loves the world that he lives in and he has a deep respect for all creatures tall or small. I was only able to snap one picture of Big Al as he was welding but picture if you can ... we are getting ready to leave and he is calling his dog and cat to get out of the way of the truck, he reaches down, scoops up this kitten and with his giant worn hands and gently stokes the kitties face against his cheek. Thanks Al for being such a character and sharing this gift with the world. You made mine a little brighter today.