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The taste of pig wire

July 19, 2017


July 19, 2017

Writing a creative nonfiction piece about my late uncle Carl Ralph Bonde, Jr., is like tackling a ball of barb wire.  There the story rolls up in the middle of a field, there I go toward it, but when I get to trying to work with it I come back with my hands bleeding from the barbs.  My dad called it “Bob Wire.”  I am Facebook friends with someone who uses that name.

See?  I start toward the tangle of wire, but soon find myself in orbit where the pokes don’t hurt me.  The barb wire analogy works especially well because my uncle’s childhood home, on the outskirts of Kalispell, Montana, had barb wire.  Wire woven into six-inch squares, or pig wire, down below, and a couple strands of barb wire above.  I remember trying to get over the pig wire and under the barbs.  Had to soften the tension by kicking the pig wire to break it down to give me room.  I remember tasting the wire as I crawled over, and I remember the way it smelled.  Tasted the way any other metallic thing tastes, such as the kinds of things a kid puts in his mouth.  I have forgotten a lot about how metal things tasted because the metallic item most … Hell, I admit putting tinfoil into my mouth to lick off gravy or some such.  Sort of a tingly taste, possibly because of generated electricity, such as one can get by putting a zinc nail and a piece of copper tube into a lemon and measuring the electrical out put with a volt ohmmeter.

Our oldest son, for my birthday, sent me a meter along with the wires, alligator clips, zinc coated nails, and pieces of copper so that I could measure the electricity produced by a glass of beer.  I think the glass of beer made 0.00016 volts, or something, measurable, but tiny.

I think my interest in science stems from the trouble I used to get into playing with my uncle Carl’s things at my grandparent’s house near Kalispell.  The best scientific apparatus lay hidden in the recesses of the garage and barn.  Took some time and effort on my part to dig them up so I could play with them.

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