News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Mike Lunsford

January 11, 2009

The Off Season: A man of ‘sweet spirit’

Years ago, just after my mother had passed, when the funeral was done and we were in the process of trying to put order back into our life without her in it, I was driving into town one evening with my wife. We were pretty much alone in our thoughts as we headed down the highway into a gray mist of a late March dusk when she broke the silence by saying, “When my dad is gone, I want you to write something about him.” My eyes watered, and my nose ran, but I shook my head, yes. Her father, Gilbert Dickey, died at nearly 81 on Christmas Eve.

I am keeping my promise.

I knew Gib, as he was most often called, long before I knew and married his oldest daughter. As was recalled so much over the past few days by so many people who remembered him, Gib came to the house of my childhood to work on our television set, which like those of so many neighbors and friends always needed a tube or an adjustment, or in some cases, nearly the laying on of spirited hands, to keep it running. Televisions, like our Philco, were kept long past their primes in those days because there were men like Gib who could keep them going.

I came to know him as the funny man in green work pants who came to our house to sit in our living room to talk while he fiddled with parts unknown from that decrepit black-and-white set. He worked methodically, with a sprig of thinning hair in his face, a farmer’s cap balanced on the back of his head, and a pair of scratched reading glasses sliding down to the peak of his nose. He’d drink my mom’s tea, and he’d laugh, and he’d kid us kids, who sat around him in our pajamas listening to his tales. He’d leave after an hour or two with no more than a dollar or two in his pocket for his labors; we actually didn’t mind when our TV was broken…

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Mike Lunsford
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    May 11, 2014 3 Photos

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    April 27, 2014 3 Photos

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    March 2, 2014 16 Photos

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    February 16, 2014 9 Photos

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    February 3, 2014

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    January 19, 2014 1 Photo

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    January 5, 2014 2 Photos

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    EDITOR’S NOTE: Today, we continue the New England Journal as Mike Lunsford writes of an afternoon exploring the rural gardens and home of poet Edna St. Vincent Millay near Austerlitz, N.Y. Join Lunsford in February for the sixth installment of this series as he wanders along the wooded shorelines of Jordan Pond in Acadia National Park.

    January 5, 2014 6 Photos

  • MET121713 lunsford radio.jpg MIKE LUNSFORD: Lying by the warm radioside

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    December 22, 2013 1 Photo

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    December 8, 2013 1 Photo

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    December 1, 2013 8 Photos

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    November 24, 2013 1 Photo

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    November 11, 2013 4 Photos

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    October 28, 2013 3 Photos

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    October 14, 2013 2 Photos

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    September 30, 2013 6 Photos

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    September 16, 2013 2 Photos

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    September 2, 2013 1 Photo

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    August 19, 2013 1 Photo

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    July 22, 2013 1 Photo

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