Tuesday, July 7, 2015

The story behind "...knows how to swing a meat cleaver."

For Tidbit Tuesday, I thought I would share the story behind a segment I recently wrote in my upcoming novella, Her Independent Heart, part of my Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series.

My dad didn't care for his given name, so he was known throughout most of his life by his nickname, "Chub." He grew up during the Great Depression and finished high school while World War II raged. With money tight, he learned early the practical skills that could earn him extra cash.

After a stint as a navigator on a B-24 towards the end of WWII, he returned home and began his career in building construction. He developed a reputation as an excellent finish carpenter. By the time he was in his late twenties, he was a general building contractor with his own business.

As he came up through the ranks in other companies, often working as a job foreman, he often found himself in the middle of disputes with other construction workers. Sometimes the discussions came to blows. Many of the men were taller than Chub and had a longer reach on their arms.
The house Chub built and where I lived most of my childhood
Dad told me he learned early on to always carry his hammer with him. That hammer was his equalizer. When the shouting matches grew heated, Dad hefted that hammer in his hand. He said that he knew there were times some of the men grew so angry they were tempted to take a swing at him. Then they glanced at that hammer and backed off.   

Because they all knew Chub knew how to swing a hammer.

The character Gus in my upcoming novella, Her Independent Spirit, like my father, is shorter than average, and possesses a stocky build with a lot of strength and coordination in his arms and shoulders. Here is this week's tidbit:     

     When the time had come to close the eatery, Louise had been further surprised. While she and Beth pinned their hats on and wrapped their shawls around their shoulders, her eyes had grown wide with apprehension as she  watched Gus grab his meat cleaver. He hefted it in his hand to get a good grip on the handle, then he motioned the two women out the back door of the kitchen. Beth followed his lead as if it were an everyday occurrence. Cautiously, clasping Sophie Ann tightly to her chest, Louisa tagged behind.

     Later that evening, Beth had explained that except for when Val was in town to walk with her, Gus had developed the habit of seeing her safely home. 

     “I done told him I got my Derringer and my pa’s huntin’ knife strapped to my leg, but he figured he wasn’t takin’ no chances of losin’ his cook. Gus don’t own no gun, but that don't matter none. Word done got around this town right quick Gus knows how to swing a meat cleaver."
Old North American meat cleaver

To learn more about the first two novellas in the Eastern Sierra Brides 1884 series, please visit the following links:

Zina Abbott Author Links:

Website  |  Blog     |  Pinterest  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads

Please visit the Zina Abbott’s Amazon Author Page by clicking HERE.

Purchase Links for Big Meadows Valentine:

Kindle  |  Nook  |  Smashwords

Purchase Links for A Resurrected Heart:

Kindle  |  Nook  |  Smashwords