Tuesday, May 27, 2008


My dad was born on the family farm on this day in 1915. He was the third of five children - four boys and a girl. The five kids all walked to and from the country school that was less than a mile away.

Dad stayed on the family farm, raising livestock and harvesting various crops. My brother took over the farm in later years. My dad always joked that now he was the hired hand.

Dad loved working the land. Every week day during the noon hour he would listen to the livestock and grain market reports. That was the one time you didn't dare talk, cough or sneeze within earshot of the radio! As I wrote in an earlier post, he was passionate about the flowerbeds and the garden.

He played hockey and baseball as a kid and young man. He also loved listening to the games on the radio or watching them on TV. If there was more than one game on that he wanted to keep track of, he would find one on a radio dial and have the other on the TV then adjust the volume as things got interesting in one game or the other.

Dad also dabbled in woodworking. One Christmas he made several lamps. The bases were made of diamond willow that dad had found, cleaned, cut and varnished. Mom searched for months to find just the right type of shade to compliment the wood. He also made a crokinole board (a table top game that is a cross between curling and shuffleboard) and he built a curling board game. The curling board was about 10 feet long and 20 inches wide. Those games helped pass a lot of time during the winter months and were big hits at parties.

Dad had a great sense of humour and was always up for having a little fun. Like the time he and his brothers were harvesting and took a break to have their meal in the field. It was a big pot of stew. When one of my uncles wasn't looking, dad slipped a twig that resembled a bone, onto his plate. My uncle thought it was a bone and chewed on it! Dad was the life of the party and he and my mom loved to entertain. There parties were often more fun than any that us kids had.

Dad loved watching "The Flintstones" and got a huge kick out of all the modern inventions. He loved to laugh and tell jokes and stories about the old days.

We weren't that close as we disagreed on a number of things - especially political and religious but we did share the humour factor and he also taught me to play cribbage. We didn't talk a lot during the games and would usually have the radio or TV on in the background. We often listened to "Royal Canadian Air Farce" or "Double Exposure" on CBC Radio. I didn't beat him very often but that and a few other card games was something we could share.

Music was also one of the things that dad really loved. He enjoyed the old fiddle and polka music. He was also a big fan of Glenn Miller and The Mills Brothers. He particularly enjoyed "Yellow Bird" by the Mills Brothers and "In The Mood" by Glenn Miller - which also happens to be one of my all time favourite songs.

Dad spent all but the last nine months of his life on the farm, before his death at age 88 in November 2003. He and mom were married a few months short of 60 years. He is greatly missed by mom, us kids, grand kids, great grand kids, numerous relatives and many friends. Stories are still told and there are many happy memories.

You can download/listen to dad's favourites at;
Glenn Miller - "In The Mood"
The Mills Brothers - "Yellow Bird"


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