It’s funny (funny strange) thinking back now on how funny and well liked my dad was. Right now he mostly sits in his chair and watches tv. When people come over he doesn’t really talk much to them, and that includes me. It’s hard to reconcile the person he is today with the person he was.
My mom called to tell me that my Uncle Tom was in the hospital. He will be ok from the sounds of it – though it also sounded like the family grapevine had worked pretty well, but it reminded me of the story of each time he would drop by on patrol as a state trooper in Illinois while we lived in a trailer in my Aunt Margaret’s yard. My dad had taught me (2 or 3 year old me) to run out screaming here comes that dirty cop every time Uncle Tom showed up.
I remember my dad telling a story about getting pulled over and getting something like 40 warning tickets on an old grain truck… Hmmm wonder why. He said the officer was a friend of my uncles and told my dad he would have given him more, but his hand cramped up.
Dad even has stories about talking a police officer in Georgia out of a ticket on their honeymoon. He made friends with the officer and invited him up to Illinois to go fishing. I think mom even said he gave him directions.
I remember my dad playing outside with us, especially during the winter. He did everything from make go-carts with drills for motors, to use the tractor to let us sit in the scoop and make it an amusement ride going up and down and around in circles. As we got older he would make us our own race tracks for larger go carts, and finally we moved on to him giving us old beat up cars to drive around in the fields.
– I also remember the day he told me to go drive around in the disced part of the field with this old cadillac they have aquired… Not the ploughed! After being towed out by a tractor, I’ll never get those two confused again! I think I was only old enough to see over the steering wheel.
Despite dad doing all sorts of pranks – yes he once threw a snake onto my foot and then shot the snake. Gave us flares to light fireworks, and I think I’ve already mentioned the canon contest previously…. My dad was pretty serious when he was worried about us too.
I also remember walking beans and passing out one year (6th grade I think). My dad picked me up, threw me over his shoulder and carried me out of the field. He then drove me to my Aunt Margaret’s where he left me. Then despite my (for some crazy reason, and I think it involved that I was the only girl out there) wanting to walk beans that year, my dad banned me from the field for the year. I was probably the only farmer’s kid around that wasn’t forced to work in the field that year.
I’m pretty sure hooking a sled up to a lawn mower and pulling it would be frowned on now —- especially with a 2 year old on it, but back then it was what we did without ipads, and TV and electronics. You can even see the tracks where my dad had been pulling me around and around the yard. I recognize Aunt Margaret’s yard from the picture. I keep saying that I’m fairly amazed that myself (and most of my friends) survived childhood on the farm. But I also know that our parents were usually with us. I remember lots of times, trying to convince mom and dad to let me stay home while they drove around to ‘watch corn grow’ and even one where dad kicked my door in and broke the lock because I didn’t want to go. But we survived to adulthood.