Sunday, August 06, 2006

Today is August 7, 2006 and this is my Dad's, Dale Smith's 88th birthday!! I thought that everyone would like to celebrate with him today!! In honor of his birthday I am going to write my today's Monday Memories about my Dad.

I have been trying to remember my first memories of my dad. I guess through pictures is where we all get our first memories. They are probably just that from pictures and NOT actual memories. I think my first "real" ones were when he worked as a tenant farmer in Illinois.

We lived in the country close to a very small village called Murdock, Illinois. It is just a spot in the road really. We lived in a little home that they call a quansit hut. It reminds you of a chicken house...really!! When you are a tenant farmer you get to live in the house that comes with that job. Whatever the house looks like, that is where your family lives!!

I remember Dad worked from sun up till sun down. Seem like I was very young then but the most that I can remember was him coming home at noon, eating and then laying down on the floor at noon by our old round fan, sleeping for an hour and then back up and going until late again.

I knew that Dad had been in the Army because sometimes he talked about the BIG war. I also knew because he had "battle scars" that he would show my brother and myself. Mother would tell us stories about how he was wounded in WWII. She was pregnant with me at that time too. How they ever got through all of that I will never know.

Dad worked as a farmer for as long as I can remember. Monetarily we never had much. My brother and I did not really know that. As kids we just had fun with what we could find to make into fun. Dad would always make us something so that we could find fun!!

He would make us tire swings. They were so much fun until it would rain and then they would fill up with rain and be really a mess (especially if you are a girl). He also made us real swings with just the board to sit on. They still are my favorite swings. You can go really, really high in a good tree swing.

He would make us kites that seemed to fly way high up into the sky. They flew so much better than the flimsy ones that you buy today. He made Ron and I stilts. He made them so that they would be adjustable. He would put the footholds close to the bottom so that we could learn to walk in them at first. Then as we got braver he would put them up higher and then higher and then higher!! Boy could we be tall. We would take them to the side of the house. Then you lean on the house and put your feet into the foot holds...Next is the hard part....You have to get your balance...hang on and start trying to walk. I used to just LOVE those things. So much fun then!!

Dad never did much of the disciplining and I imagine the reason why is because he was gone so much of the time. Mother was always there. But I do remember one time that he did and really spanked me hard. He told Mother that he would never spank me again and he never did. I don't know what I did but it must have been bad.

We would listen to radio at night as a family. I know you young people think no TV...nope no TV..In fact I think I was somewhere around 10 before my parents had a TV and then it was just a little black and white onewith rabbit ears and tin foil on them. We would listen to the old radio programs that we thought were so good. All lights would be turned off when "The Shadow" would come on. Dad would always try to scare Ron and I. He would always do it and we always knew it was coming but we always yelled anyway...crazy were so naive then...nothing like the kids of today!! We did things as a family!! Always ate together "at the same table"!! What a great idea!!

At one of the houses that we lived in Dad had cows to milk. He would sit on a three legged stool and milk. The farm cats would sit around in a circle waiting for Dad to squirt some milk their way. Every once in a while he would squirt some toward one cat and he would lick his whiskers with milk dripping all over the place. That was always so much fun to watch!! At some of the farms we had pigs and also sheep. Oh, and lets not forget those lousy chickens too....and rosters!! I am not much of a fan of those creatures because I hated having to gather eggs and get chased by the rosters. My brother did not like those rosters either!!!

Many times while living in Illinois we would get snowed in and not be able to go anywhere. We would have to stay inside and cover up or dress up in lots of clothes just to keep warm. One time we all walked to our neighbors house. Now this is not a sub-division we are talking about...this is living in the country!! The snow was so deep that we all walked over the fences and over the fields until we got to our neighbors home. We stayed and played cards...that is the adults did and we kids played!! Those big snows don't come much anymore!! Dad was always right there helping everyone get there.

Finally after many, many years of farming Dad decided to put his tractor into retirement. He and Mother sold out everything and bought a fifth wheel motor home and left Illinois to travel. They were in their 50's I think at that time. They traveled and followed my brother and his family out to California and put some stakes down out there and in Arizona for a time. They enjoyed retirement.

They soon missed Illinois and came back and stayed for about 18 years. Now just recently they packed up once again in their 80's and are back in Arizona close to my brother.

Well now you are 88!! Man, I never thought that I would be so blessed as to have my Dad and Mother for all of these years. Here I am 61 and still have parents!! Wow...God must be looking down on me with favor anymore!! Your doctor says that you could live another 10-12 years. If it were me, I would show that doctor that I could do it too!! I have always wondered what 100 would be like!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU TODAY!! I hope that you have many, many more. I am so sorry that I am so far away and cannot celebrate it with you today!! Try to be good and behave yourself!! Ninety is just around the corner!!



Lazy Daisy said...

Lovely tribute to you dad Sandy.

Wystful1 said...

My o my! I have gooseflesh! If you're anything like I am, a father/daughter relationship is just nothing comparable!! You've done a lovely, wonderful job with this tribute on your father's 88th birthday.

And ARE blessed!! My mother has been gone from this earth since 1990, and dad passed in 1994. Yet, the memories you have are instilled within me also.

(I remember those stilts!!!) So cool!!


Jane said...

Sandy, this is such a lovely tribute to your Dad. I was a daddy's girl too and I miss mine to this day.
Please wish your dad a HAPPY BIRTHDAY from me. I hope he has many, many more!

LadyBugCrossing said...

Happy Birthday to your Daddy! That's a terrific bunch o' memories you got there!

YellowRose said...

Happy Birthday to Sandy's Dad!!!

Wonderful tribute Sandy, I loved reading all about your dad!

Lisa said...

Happy Birthday to your dad!!!! I dont participate in Monday Memories, but I wanted to let you know, you have a great memory here. Thank you so much for sharing.

MugwumpMom said...

Happy Birthday to your dad!! This was a heartwarming tribute. You are and were so blessed!! I love his smile...he looks full of joy, and not just from the prospect of diving into that float!

I never knew my dad, so hearing your story was sweet. Thanks for sharing it.


celebrating life and family said...

Happy birthday Grandpa!!!!! I still can't believe he is 88!!! He acts a lot younger. By the way.... i called them today. Yesterday was not a good day...Great memory of Gpa!!!

flipflop said...

Happy Birthday!!

Lulu said...

What a lovely post...
I love your new look, its nice..

Debbie said...

Hey Floozie! That was a great tribute to your Dad. What wonderful wonderful memories. I love your Dad I think he's just the greatest. Love ya

Melli said...

Happy Birthday Sandy's Dad! Wow Sandy! This is such a great story of love! What fabulous memories you have ... and you are SO lucky to still have your parents! That really is amazing. I loved reading about it -- all of it! Your dad is a very good man... God bless him!