Sunday, June 15, 2014

How my dad was like a pirate

Today, Father's Day, lots of random, little (or big depending on how you look at them) memories have been surfacing about my dad. 

My dad passed away from complications of Parkinson's when he was 57. I was twenty five. My first baby had just turned one. That was twenty five years ago.

His life was cut way too short. I've often thought of how he would have so enjoyed being Grandpa to my kids, his grandchildren, who are now 21, 24 and 26. He would have loved seeing them grow up into the young adults they are today! 

He was a farmer through and through. He was always glad to have me ride in the cab of the combine. I wasn't allowed to drive :) but I sat on a small place right beside his seat. He had KRVN on the radio. Sometimes country music, but always the news. Always the "Dow Jones Market." I thought it was great fun watching the combine gobble up the corn stalks and spit out the kernels behind me in the grain bin.

Coffee time was a religion. Mid morning and mid afternoon was "coffee time" which either consisted of some member of the family taking coffee and cookies (or some other treat) out to the field, or him coming in the house for it. Usually, in the busy seasons, coffee time was in the field and it didn't last long!

His Sunday routine when I was little was to stop at the Hotel Dale in downtown Holdrege after church, and buy a Sunday Paper. I believe it was The Omaha World Herald. My mom and I would wait in the car. He would often buy a pack of Doublemint Gum, his favorite, of which I was only allowed a "half stick". Today my favorite gum is Doublemint and it brings me a smile to chew it. :)

Dad was like a pirate when it came to the weather. He kept a weather eye on the horizon at all times, except for maybe winter when his fields were dormant. He had a rain gauge which he checked after every rain storm, and I was always amazed that he could read it down to the "hundredths of an inch". I could never figure that out. 

Dad sporting a beard

He would march out across the farm yard and check that rain gauge like clockwork after it rained. I'm not sure what all went on in his farmer-planning head when he discovered how much rain we'd had, but I'll bet it had to do with how much, or whether to irrigate his crops the next few days. 

When I was twelve and had never sat behind a steering wheel, Dad put me behind it one day out in the pasture. He tried to teach me to drive the pick up (a manual shifter), so he could pound fence posts in. I made that pick up die over and over and over, and my dad never lost his patience with me. I think he probably finally gave up though and put himself behind the wheel again. 

For awhile we picked up my best friend, Kristi Gabrielson, on the way to school. My dad got great pleasure from figuring out what Kristi and my names were backwards and calling us by those names. Each morning when Kristi would get into the pick up cab to go to school with me, Dad would say, "Hi Itsirk!" He called me Enna. I still remember the kick he got out of seeing our little girl faces scrunch up into laughter. 

Often, when we were on our way somewhere out in the country, Dad would ask me which way he should turn at the next corner. Of course, as a little girl I had no idea where we were, but he would dutifully turn the steering wheel in the direction I ordered him to. This would go on for a few miles, and then somehow we would end up at our destination. This always fascinated me. How did I get us where we were supposed to be when I had no idea where we were??

Dad, I miss you every day, but remembering these things about you today has made me miss you a little more. I'm looking forward to sitting down someday and reminiscing together. Thank you for being such a wonderful Dad and Father to me.

I love you!

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