Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Me & My Dad

Dad always liked me best. I know, I was only the middle child, but I’m sure I was his favorite!

My dad was very frugal. Growing up we would take walks for entertainment. Sometimes we would go for a ride in the car. (Gas was about a dime a gallon back then.) We kids always wanted ice cream, but dad was firm----actually he didn’t say anything, we just didn’t get any! If we were thirsty we didn’t get Cokes – we had to wait until be got home and had water. We were so deprived! On Saturday evenings we got to listen to “The Old Barn Dance” on the radio. If we were real good we got popcorn and a big glass of ice water.

I remember one time when my dad bought a new car – he drove to Watseka, Illinois to get it because he could get it cheaper there. It was a pretty green and white Pontiac. Dad always put it in the garage, and when I started to drive I too had to put the car in the garage. Dad didn’t even get mad when I put the first scratch on the side of the car backing it in just a few weeks after he got it…after all, I was his favorite!

After I got married and had kids, I used to visit at Mom & Dad’s house for an occasional weekend. Mom was working by then so I tried to help her out by doing her laundry (since I had probably come there to do my own anyway). Dad would come up to me in the basement and hold his hand out to give me something – he collected quarters, so I figured I was getting a handful of quarters for helping out – but it turned out to be a small envelope stuffed with $5 bills! I guess he collected those too! There was usually about $100 in there. Back in 1960 that was A LOT of money. He’d always say, “Now don’t tell anybody.” It was our secret. Yep he liked me best!!

Dad bought seats that fit on the front of his bicycle so he could take the grandkids for a ride. They each got the exact same amount of time in the seat. No favorites there. When he worked at the Girl Scout camp all the grandkids would all go on hay rides together. One spring, when the tractor got stuck in the mud halfway up the wheels, we all used to make weekly pilgrimages to watch the guys try to figure out how to get it out.

We reminisced a lot after Dad died. He was an interesting man - caretaker of a Girl Scout Camp, self-taught naturalist, master gardener (“When are you going to come and pick beans?”) and livestock farmer - he had peacocks, pigmy goats, sheep, chickens, raccoons and any other animal we gave him as gifts. He had only one job in his whole life – at US Steel. He never smoked... Oh, yes, he drank. He’d take a sip out of 16 oz. bottle of Pepsi and fill the space with bourbon. Sometimes he would tell us he was “Tipsy”. Yep – a real drinker!

But I was his favorite. My sister and I were talking about that one time after his death and I told her (even though I wasn’t supposed to ) how he used to give me envelopes full of $5 bills when I did the laundry. And you know what? She had the nerve to say he did the same for her…..with the same admonition – “Don’t tell anyone.” Imagine! I guess he really was a smart man. Bob was his firstborn – Grace was the baby, but I still think Dad Always Liked Me Best!


Anonymous Slim said...

What do you mean, Grandpa had no favorite Grandkids, I was his Favorite
and I told him that all the time. As a matter of fact, I'm EVERYONES Favorite!

7:30 AM  

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