1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


 Fairy Tale
John McCurdy 09

            Once upon a time in a land not far way lived David Nash. A jovial, happy, individual, hard working, a smart and good man. He owned and operated a small machine shop and when his brains and mechanical ability combined with his machines he could fix or build most any thing. When something puzzled him, he would worry the subject to death, shake it like it was a bone or a blanket in a dogs teeth. He'd ask questions, read, try stuff, quit and come back again and start at page one again. I don't know that he ever failed at finding the answer, sometimes he had to stop and do things to make a living, and hadn't yet gotten back to the question, but you could bet your life he would finally, one day, start anew. He would laugh and show us some half-finished piece of machinery sitting in a corner for several years and tell us it had him stumped for now!

            Several very fine machine operators worked for Dave, their skills allowed David the time to think and study. He had designed and built a bow-making machine. Someone else could take it to operate. He designed a machine to put tissue paper into paint sample card, Each new machine he sold was better than the previous one and contained more features. Dave occasionally would have to meet the train and go off to some far-away place and repair or up-date something, I'd see him, looking like something the cat had drug in, overall and a toboggan pulled over his ears; waiting for the midnight train to take him to Chicago or elsewhere. 

            When he arrived there the customer would have reserved rooms at the best hotel, such as the Palmer House in Chicago, or the Mark Hopkins in San Francisco, I don't know what those fancy-pants places thought of Dave, it likely concerned me a bunch more than it concerned David!

            Dave would be hard at work, sweating blood as it were, and someone would come in needing a part fixed and David would stop and fix it. I recall once when George Lively was in the chicken business, he came in holding a part of his automatic chicken-feeder and with tears in his eyes, said, " Dave, I been up all weekend shoveling feed to those darn chickens, I'm in desperate need," Dave calmed him down and a few hours later George left whistling!

            Once when I was on the evening 4-12 shift I spent my mornings with Dave, I was an apprentice if you want to call it that. Dave taught me to run the small metal lathes, and mills and shapers, taking time from his own work to show me the right way, I can still hear his merry cackle when I was stumped by something that to Dave was mere child's play.

            We did not realize what a treasure David was until OSHA and EPA discovered Nash's Machine Shop.  Now the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Environmental Protection Act is likely a good thing, but in Dave's case they were harbingers of Sudden Death. The little fellers with their briefcases, and their Volumes of Regulations were appalled I tell you, just appalled, at what they had discovered. A regular gold-mine of violations, enough to make their hearts sing!  

       I had told Dave many times that he needed a keeper, somebody to point him in a direction and help him stay on that path. Of course that would have lost us the Dave we Loved and needed, David was no more likely to be caged and tamed than a windstorm.

            The government boys, as I said, were appalled at the conditions that prevailed in David's place of business! Mind you now, I did say Dave's place of business, and not the governments! No matter. There were bare electrical wires stung along the ceiling and when a machine needed power the operator merely hung a few wires up there and had his electricity, it suited everybody just fine. There were open gears and shafts that could have caused trouble to anyone who was so ignorant as to get themselves wound up in them. There was also the big, old coal stove in the middle of the floor, well ashes were falling out of it and sometimes it got red hot when someone forgot to close the dampers, but that was seldom and it sure felt good when someone came in from the cold! The locks on the big doors weren't good enough for the gummint men, A child might wander in and be hurt!

            Well, when David and his men figured up how much needed to be done and how much it was gonna cost in cash money, not to mention, "downtime", the jig was up, pure and simple!

            Ernie decided to retire, Herman went to work elsewhere, Dave hung around a while and left for Berea.

The community lost a much needed business and a much needed man. I lost a fine place to hang out and several fine companions!