Bleeding bad?...Mickey Mouse to the rescue!

The summer of '98 was a sweltering one in the upper Midwest; which caused incredible discomfort to those of us who toiled outside for a living. Heat stroke became a way of life, with daily routines of nausea, cramps, diarrhea, headaches, etc. In order to minimize the symptoms, hydration was tantamount, with bottles of Gator-ade disappearing quickly from the coolers.

It was during July of that summer when Perennial Painters started painting a house on Harlem Boulevard in Rockford IL that was built in the mid-19th century. The owners Bob, an oncologist, and Phyllis, a CPA, decided to change its color scheme, and add a few more colors along the way. They hired a local colorist who was especially partial to the historical palette; and every morning before his crew arrived, Larry, along with the colorist, and the owners would meet in the yard to discuss the potential colors.

It was during the first meeting that Larry learned of a mind-boggling, historical footnote to the house. It was built about 1/2 mile south, and, after thirty years, moved to its present location. Now, to move such an imposing structure that far in this day and age would challenge the engineering resources available. But to pull it off at the close of the 19th century...well, what can you say other than "miraculous!" Rolling logs were hewn from the virgin forest that covered the Rock River Valley; mules with bionic muscles and fierce determination dragged the house down a street that was, as of yet, unpaved; and men with super-hero strength hoisted the behemoth onto the logs and flipped them forward as the house crept along.

But, then, a project, that was supposed to take a couple of months, met with a six-month delay, when biblical rains hit the area in November when the house was a little more than half way to its destination. It sunk straight down into the mud, with the logs beneath it, and sat in the middle of the boulevard for the entire winter; until the earth finally dried out and hardened. Believe it or not?

And so it was during that stretch of torrid weather in 1998, that the Perennial crew applied the six chosen colors onto that "miraculous" house, helping to create a visual masterpiece. Because of architecture and logistics, it became imperative that each painter tote all six of the colors during the day. An image that may have awed passersby was that of one of the guys climbing to the peak of the front gable on a forty foot ladder carrying six pails of paint. The designated brush-washer, for each day. would have to quit painting 1 1/2 hours earlier than the rest in order to clean the 40+ brushes that would eventually come his way.

The massive painting project was nearing its completion, when Larry assigned, to one of the guys, the task of breaking already-cracked glass out of nearly twenty storm windows, so that new panes of glass could be installed into them. The following morning, as Larry entered the carriage house where the paint and tools were being kept, his right calf was ripped open by a shard of glass that was extended out of a five gallon bucket. Instinctively, he grabbed a new rag off of the work table and wrapped it around the cut.

Just as Larry was re-placing the blood-soaked rag with a new one, Bob the oncologist arrived on the scene, clutching his briefcase, and opening the door to his car. "Bob, can you help me here? I just sliced the hell out of my leg." Bob set his briefcase on the hood of the car, and cautiously entered the carriage house. "Look, Bob, here." Larry was about to unwind the bloodied rag from his leg. "No, Larry, no.Don't do that. I can't handle the sight of blood!"

Larry stood there in the middle of the carriage house, feeling blood pulsing out of his body, and not knowing how to respond. "Can you get me a bandage, then,,,,please?!" "Sure. Just a minute." And Bob disappeared. When he re-appeared, he approached Larry and handed him a small object. Again, as Larry stared at the bandage in his hand, his mind could not produce a response. This was a child's bandage, with three images of Mickey Mouse printed on the wrapper. Between the Mickey images were flowers that resembled roses, and the words, "Get Better Soon".

"Thanks, Bob," was all that Larry could mumble, as he watched Bob leap into his car and speed out of the driveway.

When the crew started to arrive on the scene shortly thereafter, Larry barked out orders, and climbed into his van carrying a bag full of new rags. He drove himself to the Emergency Room of the nearest hospital, received 24 stitches to close the wound, and returned to the job.

As he pulled up to the curb in front of the house, Larry dug into his pocket to retrieve the Mickey Mouse bandage. When he gathered the guys around him to re-count the gory details of his accident, he held the bandage high for all to see.

Spontaneously, in a unified voice, they all shouted,"M-I-C...K-E-Y...M-O-U-S-E!"

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