Misers, Mustards, and Meanies

When I was a little girl, nobody had air conditioning.  Summertime was hot.  We depended on cool breezes through open windows, shade-trees, cold drinks, and meals that required little, if any cooking.  Brick Bar-B-Qs and wooden picnic tables were all the rage in everybody’s back yard.  We were just like everybody else.  Well, maybe not quite.

Besides having a great imagination, Dad was a genius at saving money.  Instead of buying bricks to build a BBQ, he got the keen idea to build one out of clay tiles; the kind of tiles that farmers use to drain a field.  That way us kids could just stick our hotdog fork right on through the tile, and get it right in the fire without burning our arms.    My Uncle Jim said if a man had to be able to build a good fire, or he would have a bad mother-in-law.  When we had a weenie roast, Dad built a fire that sent sparks up to the sky.  I tell you, my Dad was the smartest Dad in the whole world.  That tile BBQ was almost as smart as Grandpa’s invention of a rototiller, with the two middle forks missing, so you could get right up close to the vegetable plants.  The only reason Grandpa’s invention was smarter, was ’cause I  hated hoeing in the garden, and only Mom got to use the rototiller, so in the end, Grandpa’s invention made my life way easier; Dad’s invention just kept my face and arm from getting hot.  Besides that,  there was a problem with Dad’s invention, but there was no way for him to figure that one out, so it’s still right up there as nifty as all get-out.  And it free, ’cause he found all those clay tiles, just waiting to be tossed in the dump.

Mom got the Koegels from Ballard’s Gas and Grocery. Ballard’s was exactly two-and-a-half miles from our house.  One time when Mom and Dad still rented part of the house out, one of the renters asked me if I wanted to walk down to Ballard’s and get him some Lucky Strikes and me a Hershey Bar.  That sounded like a pretty good deal, Continue reading

Soldier Brothers

My Dad was in the War, way back before me or Deanna were born, and way back before he met Mom.  His brothers were in the War, too:  Uncle Frank and Uncle Merle, and Uncle Glenn.  Uncle Ellis was in the Korean War.  Uncle Gerald never had to go because the President said Grandma had enough sons in the War.  Grandma said ‘enough is enough’, and even though that made no sense, I knew just what she meant.

Dad told me he was in the War way back before I was even a twinkle in his eye.  I don’t believe that one minute, ’cause I can’t imagine my Dad without a twinkle in his eye.  Same thing for his brothers:  blue eyes like the sky, that danced like they had stars, in broad daylight, if you can imagine that.

Dad and his brothers never talked about being in the war, except that Dad got a purple heart for getting his appendix out, and once Dad found a German shepherd dog that he kept around for a while and that’s how he fell in love with German shepherds.  I asked Dad if the War was scary, Continue reading