When my wife was pregnant with Hayden my oldest boy, I wanted to name him Garth. My wife doesn't like the name Garth, but she made a deal with me, that if we had another son, we could name him Garth. So my first son is named Hayden after a Great Uncle on her side of the family who was a real cowboy, had a ranch, he used to break horses. The deal my wife made with me was made after several years of infertility and what we both consider a miracle that we managed to get pregnant at all, but that will be a story for another time. My point being she knew the chances of her getting pregnant a second time was astronomical, and so were the chances of her having a son named Garth.
When she got pregnant again, I knew immediately it was going to be a boy. For one it was the curse all parents put on their children at one point or another, 'I hope you grow up and have kids who act just as bad as you are.' That curse! I knew we we're doomed. I also knew without a doubt because of the deal my wife had made with me and God's sense of humor, that we were having another boy. Right before the sonogram I was the only one who said it was going to be a boy, and his name was going to be Garth. The family thought the name was just a joke between my wife and I, she really didn't like the name and was sure it wouldn't end up as Garth. Plus she said, 'Everybody will think you named him after Garth Brooks.'
I knew who he was being named after. Garth Farmer, my mother's uncle. It was her dad's older brother. As a child my family lived in a rock infested dirt farm in the middle of a huge forest against the side of the Rocky Mountains. The nearest town was Athol, Idaho, so that's what our address was, but we actually lived a bit a drive into the woods from Athol. Our next door neighbor, forty acres away, was my Uncle Garth. He was actually a Great Uncle, but I never knew that until years later, to me he was always really old, and always Uncle Garth. My Dad was in his late twenties to early thirties in those years and Garth was in his sixties and early seventies and could out work my father.
Uncle Garth was as far as you could go in the Masons, and he had retired as a E-9 Master Sergeant after twenty some years in the Army starting when he joined and fought with under General Patton in World War II. He built his own log cabin house at the age of sixty something on his property up there in Idaho. Every spring we would have to burn the grass off, Garth would go out and set fires all over and go have a cup or two of coffee and let them get out of control so he could go battle the flames in the woods the rest of the day. Many a times mom would round us three kids up and we would take shovels, buckets, and wet blankets to go help Uncle Garth battle the forest fires so it wouldn't end up burning our trailer down. One time Garth showed up in the afternoon, mom had been busy with something, he was covered in soot, and asked, "Where in the hell where you, I had a fire get outta control and expected you all to show up and help put it out, and nobody ever came." He had managed to get it put out. We moved to Missouri where Garth and my Grandfather grew up in 1979. In the early eighties my mom got a letter from Garth that he had bought a Army surplus flame thrower, that same year a lot of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming burnt up because of forest fires. We knew it was probably Garth who set them and went and had a cup of coffee.
As a child I remember hanging around with Garth as a small boy. He would take me logging, and let me pull branches into piles, so later we could make fires. I had to pee once and he said he did too, so we went around behind the truck and pee'ed. He asked me if I had ever pee'd on an electric fence? I said no, wouldn't that hurt you? He said oh hell no, and he pee'ed on the electric fence that was right there, and I watched, nothing happened. To give you an idea of how young I was I had to aim up to pee on the fence. It was just a piece of wire, there was no other fence, with cows all you needed was one piece of highly charged wire and they wouldn't get near it. Us kids knew about the fence and how it would bite the hell out of ya if you got to close to it.
When my stream of pee crossed that wire, Lightning struck me, well you know where. I immediately fell over in convulsions on the ground like what you see on TV when somebody gets zapped by a Taser. I pee'd all over myself in the process, I was embarrassed later I had to walk home and change clothes. While lying on the ground I looked up to see if my Uncle Garth was coming to help and he was laughing so hard he almost fell over himself. I learned several important lessons that day, about electric fences, that you couldn't always trust those you love not to keep you out of harm's way if the result was funny enough. Garth and I were always buddy's, even after that. I still have warm feelings, and fond memories of him even in spite of his sense of humor which he partially passed on to me in the process.
I have been told I have an old world work ethic and I partially blame that on my folk's and a lot on Garth, and him teaching me about what real men (old time, old world men) are really like.
My son Garth Jeffrey Wilson is one working on two, laid back, and at the weirdest times just chuckles low to himself as if some private little joke or something caught him funny. He'll belch and laugh and then tries to do it again because he thought it was funny. I knew when my wife and I got our second miracle, that Garth was going to be the result, and he reminds me a lot of his namesake.