The past couple of days I have been thinking of my dad. He was born on March 3rd in 1915. I can't imagine him as a 98 year old man - in my mind I see him as he was in 1980, before we learned of the cancer that would very quickly take his life.
Dad was a butcher, a grocer and an insurance salesman - all at one time. Many of my memories of him revolve around times I spent with him at the Spink Store - a rural general store. As a kid I would occasionally ride to work with him and spend the day there. When I was younger, I would play in the store, in the area or hike to the Brule Creek and explore with any other kids that were available.
Once I was old enough I did odd jobs around the store - wrap meat, put prices on canned goods with a wax pencil, bag potatoes from a 100 pound burlap bag to smaller sacks of 10 lbs each. He taught me to do all these tasks, and kept a watchful eye on me. I knew I had finally made it when he allowed me to ring up the groceries and take money. I'm sure I made mistakes along the way, but I don't ever remember him getting angry with me.
Sometimes as we were travelling back and forth he would sing silly songs. My suspicion that he made them up was confirmed when I once asked him to repeat the 'bologna song' he had sung previously, and he had no idea what I was talking about. I imagine as I got older the silly songs were more of an embarrassment than entertainment.
Sports had a special place in Dad's heart. I know from pictures that as a young man he enjoyed ice skating and playing baseball. I knew him to be a bowler and a golfer. He loved golf, and when the weather cooperated, he would start each day off with a round of golf before going to work. Looking back I wonder if part of the attraction of golf was that it can be a solitary game (even when played with others), and he was a quiet, private man. Because of that I never felt that I knew him well.
So, on these early days of March, I am pausing to celebrate the birth day of the baby, who would become the man, who would be my dad.
I am thankful for the influence he had in my life, and although he's been gone almost 32 years I still miss his quick wit and sense of humor. Thank you for letting me share my memories with you.