Pullin’ the wool over mom’s eyes!!

John Sheda

Before I begin this absolutely true story about my Mother, here are a couple other things about her. Mom was the “left-over Queen of Chelsea.” In fact her leftovers were so widely known, used and eaten on a daily basis, we never did know what her original meal was!!! However being the great mother she was, she always gave us a couple of choices; take it or leave it. Mom was also the kind of person who asked, “Do you want my advice?” It didn’t matter whether we did or not, we knew we were gonna get it regardless, (or is that irregardless)? Anyway, here’s the story…

Actually the title should read, “You Can’t Pull The Wool Over Mom’s Eyes.” My Mom, Sue (McKernan) Sheda was born in 1915. She was a feisty Irish lady who stood about 5’6″ and weight about 125 lbs or so. This is truly a gestimate for sure, but I think somewhere in the ballpark. She, along with Dad, (of course) raised three wonderful children, Tony, Larry & Mary Sue and one of the cutest, smartest and humblest children you could ever know—ME!!!

In the Sheda family, Mom was the “brains” of the clan. She was meek, friendly and mild-mannered most of the time but don’t get her riled up. That old Irish temper rose on many an occasion at the exploits of my two brothers and sister. Not me, of course as I was pretty much darn near–perfect. There are so many stories I could share about Mom, but this is one of my favorites. “Don’t Try Pullin’ The Wool Over Mom’s Eyes,” would be the appropriate title.

Among the many things Dad did in his lifetime, sheep-shearing was one. I never actually sheared a sheep, but went along with Dad many a time to tie up the wool into bundles, weigh it, so that Dad could buy it from the farmer. Dad sheared sheep for a number of years, going out from early spring through mid summer, about 4-5 times a week. He would probably average about 25 sheep each day, buying the wool each time. When we got home, we unloaded the bundles of wool into our old grocery story and every so often we would sell all the wool Dad had bought. Our store was full of wool and Dad had a pretty good idea of its’ approximate weight.

I’m not sure who bought our wool, but they would come with a huge semi-like truck and drive to Werner’s Grain & Feed in Chelsea, to get weighed “empty.” Then the buyers would drive the truck down to our place and we’d filler-er up with all the wool Dad had bought over about two-three months. That’s a lot of wool! After all the wool was loaded onto this huge truck, the buyers would return to Werner’s Grain Elevator and weight it again-this time with all the wool included. That way, everyone knew the weight of the wool. The price was negotiated and the sale completed.

Ok, so what’s this got to do with Mom? Well, it seems that the weight Dad had on the wool, from each time he bought it, was quite a ways off from when it was getting sold-and it wasn’t in our favor. There might be some shrinkage but a couple hundred pounds was too much. Dad couldn’t figure it out but Mom–Oh Boy, Mom “smelled a rat” or maybe two or three.

One time when the buyers came to town, Mom, “Private-Eye” Sue Sheda, with the help of Bob Werner, the owner of the grain elevator, hid out of sight from the buyers. The truck had huge sides to hold the wool and the inside couldn’t be seen by the naked eye. When the driver pulled onto the scale to get weighed in its’ “empty” state, Mom waited a few minutes and then proceeded to “climb over side of the truck.” And there she discovered–two or three men the buyer had brought with him to help collect the wool, hiding inside this “empty” truck. Which added about four hundred pounds to the weight of the empty truck.

Mom screamed “Foul,” and the gig was up! Caught red-handed! From one end of town to the other, everyone could hear Mom as she caught these guys. The moral of the story–You don’t spit into the wind, you don’t pull the mask off Lone Ranger and you don’t mess around with Sue Sheda. Mom, bless her heart, died in February of 1988. Happy Mother’s Day, Mom and Happy Mother’s Day to all Moms everywhere. Don’t ever miss a chance to say “I Love You” to your Mom Let me know how you see it at jsheda@indytel.com or call me at 319-327-4640. Be blest!