Sunday, June 18, 2006

my dad


In His Shop

In his shop Daddy improvised
like a jazz musician.
Virtuoso of rivets, solder, screws
he repaired hinges with leather
lengthened a steering shaft
for the tractor-drawn binder
braced wobbly chairs with welding rods
reincarnated metal seats
into lawn furniture.

Lightning from his welder
like brain synapses
crackled creations into being.
Pounding hammer
tapping chisel
whining file perfected
riffs of leather, metal, wood.

© 2003 Violet Nesdoly

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My dad died almost 31 years ago. He was a quiet, shy man. My regret is that I didn’t get to know him better. Here are some things I remember about him:

- When we were little he would set the youngest of us on his knee, then the rest of us would crowd round as he drew pictures and we guessed what he was drawing.

- He talked to the animals – the cows, pigs, Prince and Queen the horses, of course the dog Toby.

- He could always figure out a way to fix things.

- He was easygoing – to a point. But push him too far and you’d be in big trouble.

- He played the saxophone. Hearing saxophone ensembles always remind me of him.

- Laundry for our large family (nine children) was a big job. Mom got up at 4:00 a.m. to get it started. Often Dad would get up shortly after she did to hang the clothes on the line for her.

- He worked hard on our small mixed farm and rarely took holidays. Spending a day at the river fishing was as good as a week away to him.

- He established a ‘family altar’ in our home. It was called schluss – a German word that means ending. Sometime shortly before bed he called us from our various activities to read a Bible story from Egermier’s Bible Stories, and then we prayed, oldest to youngest. (As we got older oh how we tried to get out of schluss).

- Most days after lunch he went to his bed, lay down, read his Bible, then took short nap, with the Bible laying open on his chest, rising and falling to the rhythm of his snoring.

- He died of complications of bone cancer in 1975. In his last painful months he did something he had always been too shy or reserved to do before – told us in words that he loved us.

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