As it is father’s day I would be remiss if I did not remember two fathers in my life. Here is a favorite memory of both men.
When both of my parents were still alive, we would take them along with us on summer vacations. We would load them and our three sons into our van and travel, seeing the United States, for a couple of weeks each summer. After the three boys left the nest and Mom passed, we continued the tradition by taking Dad with us each summer. He loved to travel and jumped at the chance to go with us on our trips. He had said at different times that he would really like to go to Coal City, Indiana one last time to visit the cemetery where his grandfather, great grandfather, and great-great grandfather were buried. We decided to surprise him one summer and we three headed to Indiana. We found the cemetery in the middle of an active surface coal mine and spent a couple of hours sitting with them. Dad told stories of his memories from his childhood when his Dad would load the family and drive from northwest Iowa back to Indiana. After our visit to the cemetery, we stayed that night in a motel in Goshen, Indiana. We ate supper at a family type restaurant and went back to the room and kicked back for the evening. Around 9 p.m. Dad said that he “sure could go for some ice cream.” Of course, the pickle queen agreed with him and I ‘volunteered’ to go get some. What they didn’t tell me was that thy had seen a Dairy Queen a few blocks away, and thought I would go there and bring back three cones. You should have seen their faces when I walked back into the room carrying a half gallon box of ice cream. After some coaxing, we finished the box as we didn’t have a freezer to put any leftovers in. Dad talked about that ice cream episode to his dying day.
The other father is the PQ’s Dad. The PQ and I started going together our freshman year at SDSU. During the summer between our freshman and sophomore years I went up to Langford, SD to see her. As it was going to be early evening before I arrived at her farm home, I had stopped and eaten supper. As I arrived, they were just sitting down to eat their supper. Sitting around the table were her folks, the PQ and her seven siblings, and her grandpa and grandma who also lived with them. Hans, her Dad, invited me to sit down and eat with them. I said that I had stopped and had already eaten my supper. After a few bites or supper, Hans looked over at me and said, “I want to tell you something.” I thought to myself, “Great, here’s the talk about his ‘little girl’ and what I shouldn’t try. And in front of the whole fam damily.” He continued, “You are welcome to come up whenever you like, but remember one thing. When it comes to meal time, put both front feet in the trough and keep them there or you may not get anything to eat.” I didn’t really know what he meant by that comment but found out early on. I’ve seen a big bowl of potatoes, and I mean a BIG BOWL, not make it around the table. Her 5 brothers took no mercy on each other. I did learn that you had to start the food around the table against the grain of her brothers. Lucky thing, ‘tho, there were usually more spuds in the pot on the stove.
We both miss both our fathers, but remember them fondly.
Keep your fork