Sunday, June 19, 2005



Since today is father's day, I'm planning on visiting the folks. We were going to have a Bar-B-Q at my sister's today, but other things came up. It's my task to stop at the Kwikee Chicken place and get chicken parts. Sure, they have chicken on the farm, but my parents, very seldom, get the mass produced, deep-fried chicken and sides. There are 3 different places here, but my father likes KFC the best, so that's what I'm picking up.

He's 87 years old. He had some health problems last winter and was ready to die. He told us he didn't think he would make it through. The doctors had other ideas, though.

We've always called him Pa. He's a major influence on making us the people we are, today. He has definite ideas on the roles of men and women. "A woman can do anything a man can."

Growing up, we had a stay-at-home mother. Pa went off to work (construction) every day and my mother stayed home with the kids. Since they have some acreage and there are several kids, we had huge gardens during the summer. Pa would get up to go to work, my mother would fix his lunch, and right before he left, he got us all up to give us our tasks for the day - one of the main ones was to weed the gardens.

There was also wood to chop or stack for the wood stoves. Pa had a problem with idle hands. When he was home, he was always working hard around the place. He had to cut down trees for the winter wood. He would saw it in pieces and have us load the truck. He would drive it back to the house and we would empty the truck and stack the wood. One of the many chores during the winter was to fill a wheelbarrow with wood, push it to the house, then carry the wood in.

We had several cows to milk, too. Pa always had a small herd of cattle. Usually, between 20-30 head. Funny, Pa's cattle were always tame. Maybe it was because of the smallness of the herd, but I also think it had something to do with him talking and patting the cattle when he fed them.

Pa didn't see us as girls or boys, he saw us as cogs in the wheel of the family unit. If it needed doing, whichever kid didn't have anything to do, got to do it. We had to change tires, drive tractors, milk cattle, carry wood, chop ice, weed gardens, kill chickens, help butcher cattle, etc. (I think my younger brother had to wash dishes, but I don't recall my older brother ever doing so. Of course, he was such an irritating kid, maybe they didn't trust him with the dishes.)

We didn't get to spend hours on the phone, either. My parents didn't get a phone until we all left home.

When voting, my family has a practice that, if they don't know the contenders on the ballot, or don't have a particular favorite, the woman gets the vote.

Heh! One of Pa's ideas is that any female should be, automatically, issued a gun and taught to use it, as soon as she is old enough to safely handle it.

Pa is one of 13 children. He is one of the younger siblings. He claims to have a third grade education. My mother said it was probably sixth grade. He left home when he was a youngster, signing up with the military. He learned a lot during his various military stints. He said he liked Germany, but didn't like being in Hawaii.

He has (still living) three children by a former wife and four children by my mother. He told me one time, he would have been happy with more children, but my mother decided they had enough.


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