Dad: Worst Enemy, Best Friend~Part 3

20 Jun

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Over the years, Dad bought roller-skates, bicycles, a horse, a dog, and he even acquired a cat for us. There were always plenty of cats available, so he didn’t have to buy Tiger. He had us pay for the puppy, though, because Brownie came from a ranch and dad thought it only fair that the rancher got something for one of his animals. It was also a good lesson for us. We gave everything we had for that dog — thirty-five cents between us.

DiVoran and Yankee

DiVoran and Yankee (a part Shetland pony)

DiVoran and Brownie

DiVoran and Brownie (part collie) the love of my life for a long time.

He bought each of us a baby calf. David’s was a Hereford and he called him, Red. Mine was black and white, and I called him, Clover. Alas, I found him dead one morning in the woodshed where he lived. He had died of some common ailment to young calves.

Dad cleaned out the shed and that year bought a big white goose from a rancher. That goose was to be Thanksgiving dinner. Dad would cook it himself. David and I had the job of feeding the goose every day. When we learned his destiny, I decided he needed to be free so we left the shed door open and the goose escaped.

Goose

 

When Dad discovered  the goose was gone, he sent us out on the prairie behind our house to look for it. We went down to Grape Creek and thinking the goose might like water, we walked along making our way through the thick willow bushes. We never found the goose, but we did come upon a willow-hut that we presumed belonged to one of the two town drunks. The citizens called this man, Prairie Jack. When we peeked inside the hut, we saw that it was empty except for a pallet on the ground and a photograph of a lovely young woman. Her clothes and hair- style came from another time. I recognized that from Grandmother’s teaching the women in the family to stay in step with style. Then too, being the children of a bar owner, we knew why Prairie Jack had turned to drink. He had plainly lost the woman he loved and couldn’t stand to live sober without her.

We left everything in the hut alone, even though we had already meddled in Prairie Jack’s business. Once, when we found a full bottle of whisky hidden under a sage bush, we poured the whole quart-full on the ground and left the empty bottle laying there. I hated whiskey and do to this day, probably because it was my medicine for when I got car-sick on the winding roads to Grandmother’s house.

Dad taught us to work in the restaurant. My brother took out the empty coke bottles in their wooden cases. The two of us cleared tables and washed dishes. Our pay was twenty-five cents an hour. For killing flies in the summer, with a fly swatter, we got a penny a fly. For ironing a large basket of clothes at home for Mother, I got a whole dollar each week. My brother had his chores as well. We saved some of our money and spent the rest. I wish I could tell you what we spent it on, but I just don’t know.

Dad took flying lessons from the town jeweler, a fellow member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) organization. He then bought a Piper Cub and called it, “Dinty Moore.” We flew over the mountains to visit Grandmother and Granddad in Canon City.

One afternoon, when dad and his friend, Sweak Jeske, flew to Denver to look at cars, the phone on the restaurant wall rang. When Mother answered it an insurance salesman sold her some airplane insurance. The next call that evening was from Dad saying he had got caught in a downdraft and crashed the plane in the snow on the side of Pike’s Peak. We kids didn’t know anything about it until dad came home the next day with a broken ankle. He and Sweak had made their way down the mountain to a ranch house and were saved from freezing to death. Sweak had no injuries at all. I reckon someone bigger than you and I had His hand under that plane and set it down gentle as could be. Once they towed the wreckage back to the small airport in Silver Cliff, I saw that Dinty Moore was now a pile of junk. Mom and Dad both worked hard and he was able to get an Air Coup some years later. He wanted us to have flying lessons, so I got up very early one morning and he took me to the airport where I got into a Steerman with an instructor and had a lesson on flying and was told to study cloud formations. The next Saturday, I decided I didn’t want to to get up so early so I never did learn to fly and sorry folks, but I didn’t care and still don’t. My brother, on the other hand, became a mechanic on jets and later a commercial pilot. To each his own.

 

 

 

One Response to “Dad: Worst Enemy, Best Friend~Part 3”

  1. melodyhendrix June 20, 2016 at 7:31 am #

    Wow DiVoran, that was a great story! And pictures. Loved it. I would have saved the goose too

    Like

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