BTW, Happy birthday Ashley and Happy Birthday U.S. Army and Happy Flagday everybody!
Day 4 of my parents’ visit
Uh-oh. 060606, A day of superstitious lore. Mom spent the whole day worrying that either something bad was going to happen or the rapture would take place or something big. The big news, which the media couldn’t ignore but you could tell the various papers’ attitudes by the photos they ran, was the killing of a devil on the next day. I mention the photos because of the three papers I read, The Gazette, The Denver Post and The Rocky Mountain News; Libertarian, Liberal and Conservative; The Gazette showed the picture of a general taking down the old picture of al-zark carrying his rifle and looking haughty and proud and putting up the picture of his corpse, The DP used the haughty and proud picture and the Rocky Mountain News ran a full front page pic of the corpse. That was for another day, however. Nothing bad happened, but I learned a little bit more about my dad’s era.
“My ma said it was hot the day I was born. The first of May [in Wisconsin] and they had every window in the house open. 1926. They called the doctor, but had to wait for him to get there in a horse and buggy. By the time he got there the baby was born already. He still charged $50 for delivering the baby, but what for? He didn’t do anything.” Dad was the second youngest of 13 and they were all born at home.
“We all had our chores to do. I had to help with the dishes and bring in the firewood. I hated that job, digging the wood out of the snow. Cold. My fingers felt like they were gonna freeze off. And you didn’t just forget to do your chores, either. One time I didn’t bring in the wood and my dad made me go back out there, then he took one of the pieces off the pile and beat me on the back with it. I never forgot to do my chores again, let me tell you.” (I know some of my readers are cringing in horror, but to him this was just a natural thing and he did not tell it as though he had been traumatized and were reliving some horror, but merely telling the facts of life. He gets much more upset and was much more traumatized by telling about losing his brother.)
“Well, didn’t you have schoolwork to do?”
“Yes, we did that after the chores were all done. I studied by lamplight.”
“You had a phone, but no electricity?”
“No electricity. Us kids couldn’t use the phone. That was strictly for business and important calls. I couldn’t just get on it and call my friends, we couldn’t afford it. Besides, my dad would have said it was all foolishness, what did kids have to talk to each other about?”
“So what time did you finish your chores?”
“About 8 O’clock. Then study. Then go to bed. There were no registers or heat vents upstairs. The girls slept on the west side and when they would get up in the morning they would have a thin layer of ice on their water glass. I was lucky; I slept on the east side where it was a little warmer. Then get up at 4 in the morning and go out to the barn and hang a lantern (I didn’t find out the distinction between a lamp and a lantern but there was one) on each end and start milking the cows.”
“So, when did you ever get electricity?”
“Oh, when my sister married an electrician, around 1938 or ’39.” Everyone laughed, but he wasn’t done, “I’ll never forget that time when we put up the electric fence and the dog wet on it. He never did that again.”
Remember, The Good Book says, “A cheerful heart is good medicine…”
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