Charles Sims, Feather Painter

Wildlife and Indian art painted on turkey feathers

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Posted by charlessims on August 5, 2016 at 3:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Cock of the Walk

Posted by charlessims on January 28, 2015 at 4:55 PM Comments comments (0)

 

 

Cock of the Walk

In the spring of 1956, our family moved from my grandparents farm to the outskirts of Headland. We rented a house from Mr. Joe Parrish. This particular Saturday, mom was cleaning and dad was off with uncle Tex fishing. They left it up to Wayne, who was ten, to look after me and Benny. I guess for a while he did pretty well, but since he was all macho man, we had to head off to the Cock of the Walk fertilizer building. It was the largest building I had ever seen. One hundred feet high and wide and three hundred feet long. It was made out of asbestos sheets for the roof and sides. It had a walkway at the top that ran the length of the building, with a row of windows on each side. Most of the panes were broken. Not by us, we could throw rocks pretty well, but they were too far off for our young arms. The train tracks were on the other side, and the loading dock ran the length of the building, with piles of pallets and cardboard.

 

The big doors were locked, but as small children, we could slip between them and the building and go inside. There it was, on the inside, was our personal playground. The white powder bat guano was piled to the ceiling. Three different piles, each just a shade different. Wayne had been there before and knew to bring a piece of cardboard from the loading dock. Motioning for us to follow, he headed up the stairs to the cat walk. That was the best thing we had ever done. Our hearts were pounding from the excitement of breaking in and the height of the stairs. We could barely contain ourselves. The bat doo-doo was about five feet below the catwalk, and sloped to the bottom in a cone shape. Wayne jumped with the cardboard, hit with a smack and started sliding downhill fast as lightening. Benny and I jumped onto our cardboard sled and followed after him. The dust from the commotion we caused was billowing up all around and made it hard to breath. Wayne was going so fast that we couldn't catch up, and he couldn't stop. Just as he reached the bottom, he rolled off head first, only feet away from smashing into the wall. When we reached him, all we could see were his legs sticking out of the bat crap, and kicking like crazy, up and down. We grabbed a leg each and pulled him out. We were laughing at him and embarrassed as he was he bounced each of us on the side of our heads. Smaller and younger, though we were, we bounced back.

 

When we tired of blood and bat crap, Wayne showed us some dynamite that they used to break up the guano when it clumped together. Now at this moment, fifty eight years later, I know what happened to the windows. It also explains why we could slip inside the doors. Wonder if the building is still standing. Wayne was smart enough to take only the blasting caps and fuses. I think he knew that the dynamite was too dangerous. On the loading dock was a three foot length of 2" pipe, a cinder block and an unlimited supply of rocks from the train tracks. And every kid worth his salt, had a cigarette lighter. Well, with all these ingredients for a fun filled Saturday afternoon, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Instead of aiming the primitive mortar across the tracks to the empty field, Wayne pointed it at the red house, a quarter mile away. Wayne lit the fuse to the blasting cap, dropped it into the pipe, Benny dropped in a big rock and I got the hell out of the way. No need to worry, the rock came out the end of the pipe pretty as you please. You could see it flow through the sky and land on the tin roof of the red house with a loud bang. The folks in the house

 

scattered out of there like red wasps coming off the nest when you hit it with a corncob. They heard thunder and the sky fell on them. They were hauling ass somewhere, but where? They never figured out what happened. Are you going to tell them? I sure as heck ain't.

 

 

Photo: Cock of the Walk In the spring of 1956, our family moved from my grandparents farm to the outskirts of Headland. We rented a house from Mr. Joe Parrish. This particular Saturday, mom was cleaning and dad was off with uncle Tex fishing. They left it up to Wayne, who was ten, to look after me and Benny. I guess for a while he did pretty well, but since he was all macho man, we had to head off to the Cock of the Walk fertilizer building. It was the largest building I had ever seen. One hundred feet high and wide and three hundred feet long. It was made out of asbestos sheets for the roof and sides. It had a walkway at the top that ran the length of the building, with a row of windows on each side. Most of the panes were broken. Not by us, we could throw rocks pretty well, but they were too far off for our young arms. The train tracks were on the other side, and the loading dock ran the length of the building, with piles of pallets and cardboard. The big doors were locked, but as small children, we could slip between them and the building and go inside. There it was, on the inside, was our personal playground. The white powder bat guano was piled to the ceiling. Three different piles, each just a shade different. Wayne had been there before and knew to bring a piece of cardboard from the loading dock. Motioning for us to follow, he headed up the stairs to the cat walk. That was the best thing we had ever done. Our hearts were pounding from the excitement of breaking in and the height of the stairs. We could barely contain ourselves. The bat doo-doo was about five feet below the catwalk, and sloped to the bottom in a cone shape. Wayne jumped with the cardboard, hit with a smack and started sliding downhill fast as lightening. Benny and I jumped onto our cardboard sled and followed after him. The dust from the commotion we caused was billowing up all around and made it hard to breath. Wayne was going so fast that we couldn't catch up, and he couldn't stop. Just as he reached the bottom, he rolled off head first, only feet away from smashing into the wall. When we reached him, all we could see were his legs sticking out of the bat crap, and kicking like crazy, up and down. We grabbed a leg each and pulled him out. We were laughing at him and embarrassed as he was he bounced each of us on the side of our heads. Smaller and younger, though we were, we bounced back. When we tired of blood and bat crap, Wayne showed us some dynamite that they used to break up the guano when it clumped together. Now at this moment, fifty eight years later, I know what happened to the windows. It also explains why we could slip inside the doors. Wonder if the building is still standing. Wayne was smart enough to take only the blasting caps and fuses. I think he knew that the dynamite was too dangerous. On the loading dock was a three foot length of 2" pipe, a cinder block and an unlimited supply of rocks from the train tracks. And every kid worth his salt, had a cigarette lighter. Well, with all these ingredients for a fun filled Saturday afternoon, what could possibly go wrong? Instead of aiming the primitive mortar across the tracks to the empty field, Wayne pointed it at the red house, a quarter mile away. Wayne lit the fuse to the blasting cap, dropped it into the pipe, Benny dropped in a big rock and I got the hell out of the way. No need to worry, the rock came out the end of the pipe pretty as you please. You could see it flow through the sky and land on the tin roof of the red house with a loud bang. The folks in the house scattered out of there like red wasps coming off the nest when you hit it with a corncob. They heard thunder and the sky fell on them. They were hauling ass somewhere, but where? They never figured out what happened. Are you going to tell them? I sure as heck ain't.

The Mighty Oak

Posted by charlessims on August 30, 2013 at 10:10 AM Comments comments (0)

Apple trees produce apples, orange trees produce oranges, pecan trees produce pecans. Cherry trees produce cherries & Walnut trees produce wall nuts. So why do Oak trees produce acorns? Shouldn't they produce oakrons? Or maybe change the name of Oak to Acorn.

 

Jefferson Island Salt

Posted by charlessims on June 26, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

In 1957 I visited my cousins in Pinckard, Alabama. It was a typical small southern town with nothing much to do , but walk around and try to stay in the shade. As I rounded the front of the store, I saw a sight that was completely alien to me. There was a man painting a sign on the side of the building. I did not know that anything could be done like that. I thought all work had to be done in the fields. These men traveled the countryside and painted advertisements wherever they could. They were called walldogs. I knew that I wanted to do something like that for a living and lo and behold that is what I did. I was lucky enough that I lived near a large enough town that I made a pretty good living at it.

 

Guy Walton Carlile

Posted by charlessims on June 11, 2013 at 10:15 AM Comments comments (0)

 

My grandfather worked hard all of his life, mostly in the row crop business. He had always had a few cows in the pasture at the bottom of his property. Later in life he relaxed on the row crops and took a bigger interest in the cattle. Just beside his house he fenced in three or four acres and put in thirty or forty yearlings. To fatten cattle up you have to feed them a lot of protein. All that feed has to be processed. My brother Wayne came home from Birmingham to visit and brought his friend, Gregg. Being a city boy, Gregg had smelled some pretty bad stuff, but he had never smelled that much manure in one spot before. "Mr. Carlile, how can you stand to smell all that cow shit?" he asked. Grandpa just gave that grin and said, "It smells like money to me, boy." He called all young people boy or girl, depending.

 

Ronnie's

Posted by charlessims on February 20, 2013 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

This is a 20'x10' metal sign for ronnie's Mens and Boys wear in Cowarts, Alabama.  The Levi's panel can be removed and another brand applied to it,  This was done by my shop C & S Signs in Cowarts.  334-792-8273

Twenty to Life

Posted by charlessims on August 10, 2012 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Dick was overcome with gloom as the sun dipped below the prison wall. The light reflecting off the razor wire was brilliant. This was the closest thing to a sunset that he had seen in years. Even though the sun had disappeared, it was not dark. Daylight would hang around for another forty five minutes. That old stone wall was so high it blocked the sun in the prison yard. Unlike the outside, it would get dark inside the yard twice.

In here nothing changes. Everyday at this time Dick would get melancholy and wonder why he was here. Was it because he was mean as a stepped on snake. Was it because he had hurt people? Or was it because his parents had named him Dick? Not willing to place the blame on himself, he always chose to blame his parents. The real reason was one that even Dick did not fully understand. He was, as his name suggested, a virile man. An alpha male, he was comfortable with and loved women. He was always able to conquer and dominate them. However as his late teen years came, he began to realise that he was queer. This realization upset and bewildered him. He became more aggressive toward women. That did not help his situation. The queer feelings intensified. He fought a losing battle. He could not let the public know the truth. It was 1979 after all. But what could he do? He knew that if he went into the prison system, there would be men, captive men.

As we all know, young people do not ever make good decisions. Now that he was thirty-five, Dick was unhappy with his choices. The prison walls, darkness, isolation and fear every night was so unbearable, it proved that he had made bad choices. After entering the prison system, Dick realised that he was no longer the alpha male. In fact he was low on the pecking order(no pun intended). In the dark he was thankful for the safety of the bars.

He was locked in a building with men that were not nice. At the top of the heap was Frank. A large mountain of a man with no compassion and no soul. When he put his white eyes on you, your heart would almost stop. Frank was in for murder. Because the death penalty had been put aside, he was in for life and had nothing to lose. Several of the guards had been injured by him. It was a rite of passage for the new guards to challenge him. If they didn't, it was seen as a sign of weakness. Evil minded Frank sometimes inflicted serious bodily harm.

Of all the men in the prison, this was the one that Dick feared the most. Dick knew that Frank could smell the fear. It was oozing from his body. Dick had become lax in his attention and got too close to the bars. As Frank reached out to the bars, Dick moved backwards quickly. Too quickly. It irritated him for his fear to control him. No one else knew, but Frank. "One day these bars won't be here," Frank said "and you know what I will do then." Dick could not let anyone else see his distress. To cover for this, he said in a loud voice,"I look forward to it!" Frank just laughed. That infuriated Dick even more. However he knew when to be quiet.

After observing Frank for years, Dick knew that he was a cunning and calculating killer. He did not get away with twenty-three murders by being stupid. He was not the retarded killer everyone imagined. Frank had planned each death down to the last detail. He did not target women. It was men, and tough men at that. None of the men were sexually assaulted, it was not like that. It was the thrill of the conquest and victory over a worthy opponent. If he could destroy a man equal to himself, that was the thrill that he needed. His last intended victim was different. The Alabama task force had suspected him for a while. They used a police Sergeant for bait. Knowing that Frank sucker punched his victims just below the sternum, in the diaphragm, was just the edge the Sergeant needed. He placed a metal plate there under his shirt.

The momentary surprise was all the sarge needed. When Frank hesitated for just a spilt second it was over. The sarge broke Frank's jaw with a right cross. As Frank stumbled back, his kneecap was broken by a downward side kick. When the cop put his foot down, he spun around and caught Frank with a spinning back fist on his temple. When he awoke he was in a lot of pain and handcuffs. No one had pity on him, least of all the sergeant. He had spent years with the Yoshukai Karate organization and even had a couple of classes with the founder, Master Yamamoto.

Dick moved away into the darkness. Why had he taken this route? To get to the captive men? He had not been in here long before he realised he was not attracted to men at all. What was he to do? At his age he knew that it would be hard to get out.

Then there was Jimmy...

Cardinal

Posted by charlessims on January 15, 2012 at 12:05 AM Comments comments (0)

Red bird painted onto turkey feather with acrylic paint.

Red Buffalo

Posted by charlessims on January 14, 2012 at 7:20 PM Comments comments (0)

This bull bison is separated from the herd and close to the enemy, but he does not seem to concerned.  Painted turkey feather, leather, teepee, sunset, horns

Mama Bear

Posted by charlessims on January 13, 2012 at 9:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Now pay attention, you may not get another chance.  This is a turkey feather painting that I did with acrylic paint.


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