Born in the Wrong Era
Were you or someone you know just born in the wrong century? They should have been riding with Jesse James or Daniel Boone or maybe Davy Crockett? For me that someone is my brother Jess. I write this lovingly as a tribute to one of my favorite brothers who I’ve always felt was born in the wrong era. To many he’s known as dad, grandpa, uncle, cousin or plain old Jess. I’m glad he wasn’t born in an earlier era or we might have missed the wilder parts of life.
As kids the four Wilson boys were a tight knit group. It was like putting a bobcat in a gunnysack and there was always someone poking that gunnysack – that’d be Jess. We had lots of squabbles which ended up at times resembling a dogpile with Jerry, Johnnie, and Jesse and of course me (someone had to get to the top of the pile) it wasn’t always easy.
I’d have to say Jess never took the road less traveled. In fact you might even say he made his own way, quite often at his own expense. Jess loved being outdoors. He thrived and survived in the wilderness areas of Idaho and Oregon or wherever the trail took him.
I can only scratch the surface recounting his running days of herding sheep as he evaded the law after escaping St. Anthony Juvenile Detention Center in Southern Idaho only to be caught and taken back.
Jess liked to tinker with stuff. He used to ride an old Indian motorcycle which had a suicide shift. On at least one occasion he had someone pull him, on an old gravel road trying to get it started.
Another completely unrelated time Jess rode into Homedale leather and all, headed straight back to the john to relieve himself and frightened the sole occupant inside so bad that guy took off running out of the place for dear life. Jess came out a bit later and as he was fixing to leave he came face to face with a huge Guamanian police officer. As best as I remember Jess stopped, looked up at him and thought to himself, “Why not”? Jess took a swing at the cop and doesn’t remember much else except being in the slammer (a pattern you might say)?
Actually Jess is a mountain man at 5’8” or thereabouts depending on how he puts his boots on. Jess has worked as a truck driver, lumberjack and plain old trapper, hunter and mushroom picker. He’s had more bodily ailments and broken bones than anyone has a right to survive.
Jess lives in the mountains around Ola, Idaho just an hour’s drive north of Boise with his wife Diane and however many kids and grandkids at times as many as he can cram into his place. On the lighter side Jess is a musician and song writer. He can jump on a piano or guitar and I often wonder if he plays logs and trees while out traipsing through the woods? One of his songs that seemed to capture the little ones is called “Empty Bucket”.
Jess can make you laugh, cry and wanna run and hide. He can sing, shoot and holler with the best of them. One time Jess was trying to figure out how to secure his rifle to the mirror-arm of his little pickup. I asked him what he was doing? (Notice I already said what he was doing, right?) Jess looked at me as he was working and said he received his handicapped hunting permit so he could hunt from the car. Jess was so laid up at the time he could barely walk. Mystified I asked him, “Who’s gonna carry your game to the car if you get one?” He looked at me and said “I never thought of that”. That’s my brother, my little brother Jess. He has a whole passel of kids (all grown now) and a mess of grandkids that keep him from becoming bored.
Did I say that Jess likes to tinker with things? He used to fix dad’s lawnmowers so dad could set up in the front yard or out by the road and sell used lawnmowers. Jess fixed em and dad sold em. All too often dad had to take em back and get Jess to fix em again and again.
More recently my youngest brother Jered done went and wrecked his pickup truck on the roads outside of Ola or Sweet. The other guy smacked into him so hard the insurance company just wrote it off as a total loss. Jered got a newer truck and guess who bought the totaled truck – yup Jess! Jess found that bondo or some version of super glue worked on mending the transmission so he could drive it. I don’t know if it worked long term, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Jess wouldn’t find a way to take the transmission out of a Ford Falcon and make it work on an F250 truck!
Just so you don’t get any ideas that Jess has done kicked the bucket. He didn’t or I’d a heard it all the way here in Colorado. No Jess is very much alive and kicking, just not as fast or hard as he used to. I’m a figuring that Jess is gonna have himself a birthday on the 13th of May and he still has a long way to go before he exceeds the speed limit on I-80.
Jess used to talk about moving to Alaska where there weren’t so many people and the government didn’t control you! (Ha – Ha – Ha) Yah Right!
I wish Jess a HAPPY BIRTHDAY as he turns 69 years old. – You’re older brother – the Real Truckmaster!