Remembering Daddy

Yes, Joni had it right. The seasons do go round and round
and our carousel of time is always revolving.
One circle game revealed in my family is a multi-generational obsession with keeping every scrap of paper deemed possibly significant or of interest, preferably in piles, first, then in big boxes that accumulate over the years and are duly preserved for the next generation.

Father’s Day Card circa 1960 found in stored box.

Over this past month, I have once again undertaken the task of sifting through some boxes
that were collected throughout the past 100+ years by my father and by his mother.

I am fully aware that possibly no one
outside my family might find this interesting, but
I found (among many other things) a rubber-banded collection of pocket calendars and
notes circa 1968, ‘69 and ‘70 that would have been carried around in my father’s pocket;
i.e. the paper precursor to the Blackberry.
Very possibly they have lain packed away awaiting my discovery and interest,
because they would have been likely trashed before my recent newly awakened interest in
stories about the daily lives of ordinary (local) people.

As editor of the local newspaper, like his father & maternal grandfather before him,
he was privy to a unique collection of local happenings, facts and stories.
Plus, his notes read so very much like my own yellow legal pads
currently filled with interview notes and photo captions.

Monday, August 20, 1968: Clay Wyatt and his son Dennis, from the Newton community have grown a 125-pound pumpkin. He has three others like it still growing.
(Coming right up to the County Fair, timely enough.)

Monday, December 2, 1968: Tacky Day (do they still do that?) at the local high school. The winners were Dewayne Cole (I remember him) and Janice Moore (Don’t remember her at all and it’s very unlikely that I myself stooped to such juvenile expressions of hilarity! Probably wore my 18-inch hippie bell-bottoms jeans that day.)

In the ensuing gusto of the Tricycle Derby on same eventful day, the winning team was Pit Kemmer, Hank Kemmer, Benny Hill and Doug Webb. (Well, those names paint a 40-yr. old picture for me! They were in the ‘popular’ crowd well known for their clowning antics!)

Saturday, May 2, 1970: Roosevelt Threet and Chester Stone caught a 75-pound deep sea turtle (it looked like tarkle in his notes) below the dam at Center Hill. It was 68.5 inches long and they snagged it with a 50 lb. test line and hook. Took them 30-minutes to land the thing.
(Sure hope they didn’t take it home and fry it up!)

Three years ago on Fathers Day, my father passed to the other side.
My mother was with him, holding tightly to his hand, daring him to leave her.
I was asleep but awoke suddenly and early at 5 am.
I could not see clearly. The room was filled with a mist
that made me keep trying to clear my sight, but I could not.
Soon thereafter the telephone rang, and I now believe that the mist was Papa telling me goodbye.

Thinking of you today, Papa!


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