Friday, February 25, 2011


This morning, my wife was reading the Kiddierag. She always reads to me the list of birthdays of famous people, and we're either impressed by how old or how young are those people we know from their celebrity.

Today she called out Bradley Davis, of Dripping Springs, was 102 years old today!

"OUR Uncle Bradley?" I asked........Bradley Davis is the uncle of my Uncle Vernon (Bud, who was one of my favorite mentors during my early years.

When I was about eleven, my parents drove my sister and me to Columbus, TX, where we met Uncle Vernon and family. Aunt Pearl and the kids rode back to Bay City with my parents and sister, while I went to Austin with Uncle Vernon to help him for a week in the construction of their new house! A DREAM adventure for a curious eleven-year-old!!!! Uncle Vernon was always an adventurous driver, and we made the trip from Columbus to Austin in just about an hour.

On the second day we were working, Uncle Bradley came over, and I decided that HE must have been a mentor for Uncle Vernon. For years (until I was a grown man and began to realize that he was so authoritative in his explanations that you had to believe him, even when he was sometimes slightly mistaken), I thought that Uncle Vernon was the smartest man in the world!!!!

It was Uncle Bradley who first showed me the importance of properly working concrete into forms. When Uncle Bradley casually mentioned once that "Dulling the point on a nail will help to keep the wood from splitting", I decided that surely that made sense. Nowadays, when I see those DIY shows on HGTV, and someone says, "Be sure to dull the point on a nail before driving it into wood, or the wood will split!", as if they had just thought of it, I'll think, "Uncle Bradley told me that more than sixty years ago!

On the third day we were working, Uncle Vernon gave me a day off! Uncle Bradley and I picked up another kid, who was probably about sixteen, and we went out to Fox's Fishing Camp on Bull Creek, where Uncle Vernon kept his boat in season. We took the boat about three miles up Lake Austin to the site where Uncle Vernon was, in addition to building his dwelling, was also preparing to assemble government surplus building from Camp Hulen for use as a lake cabin! Our goal was to determine that the material had been delivered, and, sure enough, it had. There was purpose to our trip, but to me, it was just a pure learning adventure. Uncle Bradley was familiar with many of the native plants that we encountered on the weedy walk along the bank (we had missed the exactly location by a couple of hundred yards). Therefore, I gained a good part of my limited botanical knowledge from Uncle Bradley.

Since that first week in the presence of Uncle Bradley, I've encountered him several times in the intervening years.

Aunt Pearl and Uncle Vernon grew older, and Uncle Vernon suffered a stroke and disablement after a routine medical procedure. Uncle Bradley, however, seemed to keep being the same old Uncle Bradley......"He just kept going, and going, and going". Once, several years ago, when the "old folks" made a trip to Colorado, Uncle Bradley drove them.

Aunt Pearl, and later Uncle Vernon, have both passed away, but the very last time I saw Uncle Bradley was at Uncle Vernon's funeral, and later at a family gathering at a cousin's house afterward, and he was looking quite dapper for an "old guy".

KEEP 'EM COMING, UNCLE're a remarkable old fellow!!!!



Anonymous said...

So, "Dad" are you someones "Uncle Bradley"'s good to know ther is someone out there who can call you "young fella".....great story!

Willie C said...

Thanks for stopping by, son.

Glad to know that you're still checking in. I don't do much on this page any more, but I'm not very good at having fresh ideas.

Hard to believe that back when I was an employed person, I could whip one out every morning in about half an hour so I'd have a fresh one to hang on my office door.

You'll probably be seeing another "Old guy's rambling remembrance" next time.

Uncle Bradley's quite a guy. My cousin in Houston, whose dad was Uncle Vernon, says she saw him a couple of years ago at his 100th birthday, and he was still holding up well.