(A memory from my brother, Jamie)
One thing that I admired most about Dad was his sheer determination. Mom would often refer to this determination, however, as him being stubborn. Be it what it may, Dad’s tenacity literally moved mountains.
When Mom and Dad decided to build the cabin back by the beaver dam and pond, Dad also knew he would need to build a good road on which to get to the cabin. The dam and the pond were at the very back of the property. The road would see its travelers through thick brush, tall grasses, a meadow, a hill (Helen’s Mountain), before they would arrive at the cabin.
After breaking the trail all the way to the back of the property, Dad came upon a massive rock. He couldn’t move it with the tractor or the Plymouth, so he detoured around. But the more he drove by that rock, the more it bothered him. One day, I couldn’t take it any more. He decided to pitch his will against THE ROCK. He bought a rock chisel and a small sledge hammer and set to work.
Dad had never tried to split a stone before, so he just started pounding away at it with no effect to the rock Dad used to explain, “It (the rock) was silently laughing at me and shrugging off my blows with impunity.”
Grandpa – Dad’s Dad was up to the property for a visit one time, and my Dad mentioned his frustration and ineffectual attack on THE ROCK. Grandpa asked “Are you using the fault lines?”
“What do you mean?” Dad had no idea what he was talking about and said as much.
Grandpa said, “Let’s have a look at this rock of yours”.
The two of them went out and he walked around the rock a couple of time with chin in hand, humming and hawing. After a few minutes of inspection Grandpa said “If you start the split here, and work the chisel over to here, then back again a few times this rock should split almost in half. If the halves are too big you can split them by chiselling here and here”.
Well, Dad had nothing to lose and he was certainly not making any progress my way. So the next day he went back to THE ROCK and started working the chisel and hammer back in forth along the fault line … And if after about two hours of hammering, didn’t that rock split in half with a mighty CRACK! Dad was on a roll, so he started working on the halves where Grandpa had suggested. After an hour or so Dad had the rock down to manageable chunks and moved them off to one side with the tractor.
Once that “rock” was out of the way, Dad could plough in the new road with a great sense of victory.
For ever afters that new section of the road was referred to as the “George Straits”.
This lesson in tenacity – never give up – really hammered a lesson home for all of us.