Friday, October 2, 2009
Oscar - Father of 10
If he were still alive, my dad would have turned 103 today. And he would not have wanted to do that! It was very important to him that no one would ever have to take care of him. And he wanted no fuss about his departure. "Just throw me in the manure pile", he said. But this is the man who had one of the biggest funerals in the area. People came from Benson County, from Towner County and from Ramsey County. And that's not counting all the relatives. Dad was respected throughout the three-county area. He was known as a smart man, a good farmer, a wise man, a man who would listen and a man who would help. Our bachelor neighbor, Little Joe, would stop by rather frequently to speak with dad about one thing or another. He always managed to be there at mealtime. And dad always invited him in to eat. Now Little Joe was really filthy, lived in filth, was a rotten farmer and talked all the time. But dad always had time for him. He even cut his hair for him. That's the kind of guy he was. If someone in the area needed something welded, they came to our place. Dad did the job for them. For no pay. It's what neighbors did. Dad spoke no English until he started school. And he only completed the sixth grade. But he was a wizard at math, knew how to fix everything, could build anything, and was able to raise a large family on a small farm without us ever realizing how tight the money was. I won a trip to Bismarck to accept an award for an essay I wrote. Dad very graciously gave me $20 for the trip. I think he just about had a heart attack when he found out I spent it on a wig! (That wig has been part of many Halloween costumes!) Dad has been gone since 1975. But I still miss him. Maybe if he had lived longer I would have eventually discovered some flaws. But he left us when he was nearly perfect in my eyes. He was my idol and my hero. And he still is. Happy birthday, Dad. I don't know if I ever said this when you were here, but "I love you!"