It is a great honor to have been chosen Grand Marshall this year! When we moved to Woodlake in April of 1956 I would have never believed that years later I would have this honor of being Grand Marshall. My parents Paul & Lee Micham sold their farm in Missouri and came to Woodlake due to hard times. In 1955 my parents, grandparents and myself worked raising turkeys in which made nothing so this was the reason for moving to Woodlake. We hauled hay for most of the old ranching families here in Woodlake.
Here in Woodlake if you worked hard you could average $1.25 per hour hauling hay. So I thought why would anybody want to go to high school when you could make this fortune? All you had to do was work! I ended up not going to high school in the fall and hauled olives, grapes and oranges. In the good ole days there was the old Copa Grande Pool Hall & Saloon. During the days when I wasn’t working I would go to the pool hall to play pool. Since I wasn’t in school, the bar tender thought I was old enough to buy drinks. I never drank but a few times and always bought my buddies a drink.
I got married in 1961 to Phyllis Haynes and had four wonderful daughters; Cathy, Kimberly, Tina and Amy. Later we divorced and I married Juana Jimenez from Bogota, Colombia. Juana and I have one daughter Luisa. My oldest daughter Cathy passed away in May of 2007. My dad, Paul, passed away in May 2003 and my mother passed away in July 2012. I sure do miss them all!
I started working in construction in 1962 for S.L. Miller who built most of the orange packing plants. My first superintendent position for Miller was on the La Blue Bros. Packing House in Lindsay around 1967. I got my own contractor’s license in December 1973. After getting my license I began to build homes in Visalia. In 1975 I built the Phyllis Wall Library & Museum at Scicon and we just started an addition to it at the beginning of April 2013. I was up at Scicon the other day to check on the progress of the addition and began to reminisce of just how nice things were then, considering our good old USA today. Then I could work and now I just told the guys how hard I did! HAHA!
Seems the older I get the better man I used to be! I opened High Sierra Lumber in July of 2003. There were two locations one in Woodlake and one in Tulare. Due to the economy we closed the Woodlake yard. I still have the Woodlake property and hopefully if the economy gets better I can reopen it!
Juana and I spend about half of our time in Missouri where we have my dream animals. We have buffalo, elk, deer, watusi, longhorns, African lions and Bengal tigers. I have been a very lucky man, GOD for some reason has blessed me with so much! I’ve lived all of my dreams. I have met and have so many great friends, a wonderful family and a good business. I also did quite a bit of hunting in between! What more could a redneck boy from Missouri, born in a log cabin with no doctor, no electricity or plumbing but had GREAT parents could ask for?! In closing all I can say is GOD gave it all to me. Blessing me with so much all the glory goes to HIM! It’s been one heck of a ride “71 years” not 8 seconds!
Thanks again to all and GOD BLESS!