“How’d you get all that orange and white paint all over you?”
“Oh, I climbed that tall ETV tower162 out there on the Dido-Mt. Salem Road and painted the top and put them big light bulbs up there for them.”
“How’d you get that job?”
“I guess they was lookin’ for somebody brave enough to do it that they didn’t have to pay too much.”
Like the tower of Babel pressing into the heavens, the tower was a local marvel in Choctaw in ’73. Counting site elevation, the tower rises 1,759 feet above sea level.
In the gas station restaurant, locals sipped their weak coffee, munched on their homemade sausage and cheese biscuits, and pontificated about the tower. Locals, curious and with nothing better to do, like they were the builders themselves and like a trip to the fair, regularly drove down Dido Road to get an up-close look at progress on the tower. Armed with the latest knowledge they gave the authoritative report next morning at the gas station.
“You know that tower is how ya’ gonna’ see Sesame Street and Mr. Rogers on TV.”
“I don’t know, I thank it’s some kinda’ nuclear defense system they ain’t tellin’ us about!”
Curious and secretly annoyed, Moon had engaged in yet another death-defying feat. I ventured, “How’d you do that?”
“Well, I rode that elevator up there about a thousand feet and then I had to get out and climb the rest of the way up there, about a hundred more feet and put them big lights bulbs up there on the top. They gave me some tools and a backpack with them lights and bolts in it. They told me they would pay me extra if I painted that top section. That’s that easy money.” MPE!
“So, after I got them lights put on, I climbed back down and got on that elevator and got them paint buckets and stuff and went back up there and painted that upper section.”
“Were you tied in or anything?”
“Well, I was when I painted that top section, but I didn’t need anythang when I was puttin’ them lights up there.”
“That harness just got in my way.”
At that point, I realized Moon had free climbed the last ninety feet of an 1,100-foot tower. My toes tingled as Moon nonchalantly described all the details.
“I couldn’t believe how windy and cool it was up there. I could see all the way to ‘Starts-ville’ and Louisville.”
I wanted to tell him not volunteer for anything like that anymore, but I knew that would have been like telling a monkey not to eat bananas.