My father and mother

Daddy was 49; my mother teased him that soon she’d be married to an old man. He laughed and told her that he’d never be old! He died of a brain hemorrhage just after their 25th anniversary. I was 19, and I had a “daddy.” Let me share a few things about him. He helped me become part of who I am today. 

We were farmers. He loved curry but we never had it at home. He would enjoy it in city restaurants occasionally when he and my mother went out. He would have loved Harry and they would have cooked together. My father was a great cook. Daddy would have loved his grandchildren as much as Harry did and they would have loved him. He was fun; tractors rides year round, in the winter – pulling us in big inner tubes to the top of the hill for long and fast rides down and making massive bonfires for warming ourselves at the bottom. Whadda guy. What memories.

One year there was a snowstorm and our area was without power for 2 weeks. Most people had electric stoves and few had alternatives. Being farmers we had no food shortage, lots of beef and frozen vegetables. We helped him cook vast amounts of food on the gas stove in the basement during that time. He went into the nearby town and brought people to our home to get warmed up, inside and out. His way of doing things taught many life lessons. I wonder, if like most parents, he ever knew the influence he had on his family. 

Daddy was happy. I remember hearing him laugh early in the morning before my sibs and I got up and my mother growling at him, that she just wanted a cup of coffee and 15 minutes first. I never asked what she was going on, but some years after his death, she told me that he’d get up and want her to slow dance with him in the kitchen. He was a morning person. My mother and I were not. Today I am and he’d be delighted. They did dance in the kitchen at reasonable hours of the day and they waltzed at the skating rink; how beautiful. My daddy thought my mother was perfect just the way she was. She told me she should have danced more. To think: this idea seems to have caught on. I have seen wall art proclaiming that “This kitchen is for dancing.” It is good to fire up the stove once in a while; don’t you think?

My father helped everyone, sometimes to our lack; think “cobbler’s kids.”  He plowed everyone’s driveways in the winter while we waited. When the snow was really heavy , he took my mother to work on the tractor and brought her car to her before she needed it again. In the summer we sold corn door-to-door, always giving at least a baker’s dozen. He gave produce away to large families and to those that complained that every ear from the time before had worms. Good-naturedly, he told them that he should have charged more for the protein, then he’d give them extra that day. He’d just laugh. I do think every ear of corn we had with worms always got into the same people’s baskets. People are people and it is best to humor them. I learned that from my father too, but not perfectly.

Do you remember when blue jeans became a fashion item? I do and I remember my dad being incensed about paying 20 dollars for jeans, what he wore to work in everyday. This was one of the few things that I remember him harping on. 20 dollar jeans; such a travesty! What is the world coming to? Don’t answer that.

My father “made” us do farm work and honestly overpaid us but sometimes he cut my pay when I had a bad attitude. I remember picking potatoes and putting them into bushel baskets one morning before school. It was still dark. Tears rolled down my cheeks over the abuse, but I had a big smile in order to secure full wages. I am sure he thought that was hilarious and he did not dock my pay. I had a daddy.

My older brother always wanted to beat my dad up. It may be a “man thing.” He knew that he could beat my father up easily with a can of spinach. It worked every time for Popeye. Daddy bought him a can and when Bobby could not open it, Popeye-style, my father offered to help him. Is there anything more putrid than canned spinach? It wasn’t long until Bobby knew he had some problems. Daddy told him her had to eat it so he could beat him up. My macho brother, probably not 10 years old began crying and gagging. He could not eat that disgusting stuff. My dad avoided a serious beating that day and my brother learned a lesson. My brothers are gone, Harry is gone and my father long ago. Each of these men, fathers, left me with memories that leave me laughing out loud each time I reminisce.

If you have your father, talk to him. Tell him how he made your life better. Take some time today to remember the good times with him, his sacrifices, his funny ways – some of which you have admittedly inherited. This weekend I think of fathers, many that I have loved and how my life is better for having had them in my life. The men are surely worthy to be honored this weekend.

Blessings to you, and to the men in your life.