100-year-old man, part 3

His daughter (my mom): Papa, you left some broccoli on your plate. We’re not going to give you dessert if you don’t eat your broccoli.

Him (after a pause): That seems like a strong punishment.

Actually he’s 101 now, turning 102 next month.

He was drafted into WWII. However, by then he had left the lumber mills and gone to work for the US Maritime Authority in Mobile. They took care of the paperwork to keep him at home, since he was doing a job at the ship-building docks that nobody else wanted. He maintained and repaired the cranes that lifted ships, parts and cargo. Much of his work was 100 feet or more in the air, sometimes working on the engine in the cab, sometimes clambering out to the end of the arm extending upward from there. He says other dock workers often greeted him on his return to earth with a simple bemused shake of their heads. Of course today, he’s the one still around to tell the story, and laugh about it.


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