I recieved an email from Papa Steven the other day; I thought I'd share it here!!
HOG RIDERS BEWARE
Probably the best feature of the house I moved into nearly two years ago is our
neighbors. Allen, and Pat, an attorney and dentist respectively, and
their five lovely and talented daughters, age five through fifteen,
could be the subject of an inspirational series for the Family
They are active in religious, political, civic and charitable affairs.
The girls are being very well educated via a home school/internet
format and exhibit prowness in music and other means of artistic
expression. Having the family next door actually gives me a more
favorable outlook on our Country's future.
And, if that weren't enough, Pat's father, Gene, a retired preacher
and bus driver, visits on a regular basis. In a showing of
solidarity, (being a de facto grandfather myself), I refer to him
respectfully as "Grandfather",
He is 86 years old, and a widower for six years. He is still mentally
very sharp, (he's always reading), and gets around pretty well with
the aid of a cane. He spends part of the year, (May - maple syrup
making through November - deer hunting season), at his farm about
sixty miles west of here, and divides the winter months with 2-6 week
stays between Pat and her two brothers' families. I make a point to
visit with him often when he's here.
Grandfather is nearly the same age as my dad would have been. My dad,
who passed away a few years ago, never talked much about the past, and
I was too young to avail myself of adult discussions with my own
grandfathers, so I enjoy the chance to talk about subjects like the
Great Depression, WWII, and the 50's with Grandfather. Having been a
preacher, he's a pretty good conversationalist on nearly any subject,
serious or whimsical.
One day, having been the wearer of a rather lavish Fu Manchu style
mouistache for most of the past 40 years, I asked Grandfather if he
had ever sported facial hair. He said he had grow a beard once, after
he left military service, but his bride-to-be was not favorably
disposed towards it, so that was the end of that. But he said that
when he was a boy, his own father had worn a beard, and then he told
me this story.
Grandfather was the youngest of nine children growing up on a farm on
the Minnesota-Iowa border during the 1930's. Many of his memories are
of hard times and hardships, but there had also been fun times and
important life-lessons to be learned.
He recalls his two oldest brothers as having often been in trouble
with their father. There wasn't any organized recreation to be had on
the remote farm, so the boys had to create fun for themselves.
The mischevious brothers' exploits included riding the farm's hogs,
racing or acting out scenes from matinee western movies they had seen
in town. Their father would be furious when he caught them at this,
since a hog's job on a farm is to lay around growing big and fat for
butchering, not getting lean and tough serving as a steed for make
One day, when their father had gone into town, which was an all-day
affair by horse and wagon, Grandfather's brothers took advantage of
the situation by
abandoning their chores to stage impromptu jousting marches astride
the hapless hogs. Suddenly the erstwhile knights of old spotted their
father's rig coming up the road unusually early, but the person driving
didn't look like their father.
Instinctively, they headed down the road aboard their porcine "ponies"
to meet the wagon only to realize, too late, that the man in the
wagon was indeed their father; clean shaven, and seething mad!
I had to compliment Grandfather on the great story. I told him it
reminded me of old Lone Ranger tv show. When the Lone Ranger wanted
to go into town in disguise, he did so simply by removing his
trademark mask. I always thought that was a great trick!
With these thoughts in mind, I decided to act upon a notion I'd been
toying with for the past few months. Realizing that I only had until
sun tanning weather to avoid creating unsightly pale patches, I shaved
off my trademark moustache!
Now hog riders and other miscreants had best beware!