Ellis was born under the sign of Aquarius, "the water bearer". In her book, "Sun Signs", Linda Goodman writes, "Lots of people like rainbows. Children make wishes on them, dreamers chase them, but the Aquarius is ahead of everybody. He lives on one. What's more, he's taken it apart and examined it, piece by piece, color by color." You have to be constantly prepared for the unexpected. Generally kind and tranquil by nature, Aquarians nevertheless enjoy defying public opinion and they secretly delight in shocking more conventional people with occasional erratic conduct. These normally soft spoken and courteous souls can suddenly short circuit you with the most amazing statements, quips, and actions at the most unpredictable times. He is half Albert Schweitzer and half Mickey Mouse. His feet can be wearing sandals, boots, oxfords, or hush puppies and he'll seldom bother to check whether they're appropriate for the occasion. He'll show up barefoot if he feels like it, and laugh at you for laughing at him. Aquarians often deliberately adopt weird attire to show their refusal to conform.
This was Ellis. This explains why Pat would lay out the clothes he was to wear for each occasion, otherwise he just might appear in a pair of baggy overalls with a much worn Railroader's cap.
Many times Pat would discard his old clothes, frayed and often with holes, that she thought ready for the trash. Later he would appear wearing them. He had saved them from the bin, washed them when she wasn't looking and wore them again. (Ellis -- our first recycler)
Speaking of recycling, on his trips to the local landfill, or Dump, as he called it, he often brought home more than he took. One time he returned home with a full load of 1 X 2's, and half and full quarter rounds of wood trim that a housing contractor was getting rid of.
The adage, one man's trash is another man's treasure, is an apt one where Ellis is concerned. He took the bottom portions off executive chairs that had been discarded and converted them to plant stands for the patio. (This made sweeping or hosing down the patio a simple job, just roll the plants out of the way).
Ellis was a guy who could do just darn near anything. Carpentry, plumbing, electrical and related tasks never fazed him and he was always willing to help others with their problems. The work he did around his own house is nothing short of amazing.
His bar, for one example evolved from a partially closed patio area to a full blown bar. After a few gatherings it was clear that it was too small -- so he took six feet of the garage space, built a space on the outside of the house for a refrigerator and he was back in business. The bar was unique. He cut a hole in the top of it and covered the hole with a large ashtray. When you had something to discard, you merely moved the ashtray and dropped you trash through the hole to the waste basket below.
But alas that bar also became too small, so he built a new one taking up almost half of the back of his house. This became a great place to display his many treasures that he had picked up on his many trips overseas. It also holds his hat and cap collection hanging from the rafters. Nobody has counted them but there must be nigh near 100 or so.
In addition to the evolution taking place with his bar, I'd be remise in not mentioning the evolution of his "shed house". He accumulated so much building material from his dump raids and from assisting friends in tearing down chicken houses who were out of the egg business. Many sheets of aluminum were recycled for patio roofs and there was lots of lumber to be reused.
His workshop or "shed house" as he called it started when Pat suggested he hide the "eyesore" -- so what started as a fence became a small building. As more power tools were needed the shed house was expanded. Today it fills the space where 8 orange trees once grew -- but these were recycled, too. In one end of his shed house, he built an office complete with desk, telephone, and filing cabinet. And yes, a small refrigerator full of his favorite beverage.
He was one for salt in his beer. As Beer bottles were replaced with cans and openings were smaller, it became e more difficult to get the salt in the can -- so he picked up a miniature old style oil can and filled it with salt. Problem solved.
Pat, trying to curb his consumption of salt filled all the salt cellars in the house with the low sodium variety. There was not much problem here, but when she tried to feed him egg beaters, Katie, bar the door!
There were no strangers in Ellis' world. He got along fine with everyone and rapidly made long lasting friendships, saying "They're good people". He loved life. He loved his family; he loved his friends; he loved to eat; and he loved his beer.
God speed, Ellis, you will be missed.