Sunday, June 3, 2012


Dad would have turned 95 years old today.

I was reminiscing about things he used to have and do that bring back fond memories. Like:

Shaving soap in a dish, with the bristle brush

The smell of Old Spice aftershave

Suspenders (though Nik wears some now)

Oxblood shoe paste, probably going by a different name now. Sometimes he would "let" one of us polish and shines his shoes, and we considered it an honor.

Bolo grandson, Carver, wore one of his great-grandpa's bolo ties to Western Day in Cardston last month.

Sleeveless open-mesh t shirts, known now as "wife-beater shirts", an awful moniker.

Hats. Dad had one for every occasion and the dressy ones usually had a feather of some kind.

Leather gloves. If my dad had one splurge (besides malts in Downey), it was leather gloves.

Denim. After he passed away, there was a shirt hanging on a hook in the hallway at the top of the stairs. I buried my face into it to see if I could smell him, but he had washed it. It has since disappeared. My dad wore a lot of denim.

Haircuts. Even when he didn't have much hair left, he still drove to Preston to have it trimmed regularly.

Flippers and whip-cracking. The whip cracking was usually used as a noise-maker to get the cows rounded up. He didn't use it nearly as often as he used his flipper. If they had an Olympic event in flipper-flippering, my dad would have lead the team. He could shoot a fly off a cow at 30 yards. My dad's cows were pretty well-behaved, as cows go, and it's quite likely that's because they knew his aim with a flipper was deadly. He used to make his own flipper out of wood and medical tubing, but after he didn't have to spend all his money on us kids, he bought himself a real manufactured flipper. He was like Chuck Norris with that thing.

Thistles. Dad hated thistles almost as much as he hated Utah fishermen. Well do I remember the many times we would all grab our shovels and make human swaths through the fields to take out the thistles. Now and then one would have the audacity to show up in our yard, but it never lasted long enough to grow up. I was grown up myself before I realized that weeds could actually grow in gravel. Dad was always hauling gravel from his gravel pit into the yard, so it was everywhere. I thought he did it to prohibit weed-growing, not realizing his ongoing every-day battle to extinguish weeds. He got a good laugh when I told him that.

When Dad was waiting to go do chores or milk the cows, he would often sit with his head in his right hand, elbow to thigh. He wouldn't go out one minute early or one minute late, so this was his waiting posture. I always thought it was that he was dreading having to keep up the routine, and thinking back, it makes me a little sad.

Eye twitching. When Dad was really tired or really nervous, or somebody was visiting and he wanted them to leave but didn't quite say it, his eye twitched.

Handkerchiefs. Since Dad never needed a tie for Christmas or Father's Day, we defaulted to those big red or blue paisley-patterned handkerchiefs he always kept in his back pocket. Another default-gift was those flat carpenter pencils that he sharpened with his Schrade pocket knife. He must have had more of both than anyone could ever use, but he always acted delighted with our gift.

If it's true that necessity is the mother of invention, Dad was the father. He was so creative that he could have taken out a few patents...if he hadn't been so busy farming. He was also very very organized, as exemplified by the little cabinet behind his shed door. It had probably 20 cubbie holes, each filled with a different type nail, nut, or bolt, all labeled. They NEVER got intermixed.

Anyway, Happy Birthday, Dad!

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