Places to go and things to see by Gypsy Bev

Posts tagged ‘Dad’

The Personality of a Hat

 

Dad usually wore this hat.

Dad usually wore this working hat.

When you put on a hat, you take on its character. Children put on a cowboy hat and pretend they are riding the range, or a helmet and pretend to be headed for space. A woman puts on a Victorian hat and feels more a lady.

My Dad always wore a hat. Before leaving the house, he’d pick up a hat and with a snap of his fingers, place it on his head. Each time a different hat appeared on his head, Dad’s personality seemed to change.

Dad dons his felt hat.

Dad dons his felt hat when he gets dressed up.

Most days he would grab an old “hunky cap” when heading for work at Cambridge Glass Company or on the farm. “Hunky” was a term used disparagingly in the early 1900s to describe the men from Hungary and Czechoslovakia who did manual labor. This flat hat with a snap on the bill was worn most often. When wearing this hat, his demeanor usually became more serious.

Going to town on Saturday or to church on Sunday, a different hat would appear. Wearing a white shirt and dress slacks, Dad always donned a gray felt hat that dipped slightly over his right eye. That gave him a debonair look in my eyes. I’m sure he felt like a handsome gentleman when tipping his hat to the ladies.

Dad wears his straw hat with his two favorite girls.

Dad wears his straw hat with his two favorite girls.

Every time we visited, this well-mannered fellow removed his hat in the house, and would place it on the couch or chair nearby. Children clamored to sit by this storyteller, but he’d warn them, with a shake of his finger and a wink of his eye, “Don’t sit on my hundred dollar hat.”

When summer arrived, Dad dressed in yet another hat. This time it was a Panama hat to stay cooler in the hot summer sun. He always smiled when wearing that hat. Perhaps the warm summer days brought happiness, or maybe this time of year held delightful memories, but he always walked with a spring in his step when wearing that straw hat.

No matter what hat Dad wore, his face always wore a smile.

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I Think I Can, I Think I Can Lesson from Dad

Dad's old truck

Dad’s old truck

Hop in the truck. Let’s go for a ride! Those were the words that lifted my heart and put a skip in my step. Often on a Sunday afternoon, Dad would dress in his best white shirt, put on his straw hat, and jump up on the running board of his Chevy pick-up truck. Happy memories were made on a Sunday drive sitting in the front seat between Dad grasping the steering wheel, and Mom clutching the door on the other side.

My job was trying to lose him on the back roads of Guernsey County. At each intersection of the road, it was my choice as to which way we should turn – right or left? But no matter how hard I tried, accomplishing that task was not a possibility.

With a snap of his fingers, he’d insist, “I know the back roads of Guernsey County like the back of my hand.” And he did!

Sometimes he would shut off the engine – to save gasoline, which was 25 cents a gallon at that time. Then we would fly down the hills and see how far we could coast before he needed to start the engine running again. A special enjoyment for him was the ability to drive over the roller-coaster like hills in such a manner that your stomach did little flips. The main goal was to have fun while enjoying a ride with his family.

Some of the hills were very steep and our black Chevy truck was very, very old. Sometimes we would make it part way up the hill, stop, then back down to the bottom again for a second try. That old truck didn’t have much get up and go, so it was quite a struggle to climb those steep Ohio hills! Next time he would get a better run for the hill. His laughter still rings in my ears as he would say, “I think I can, I think I can.”

When our truck finally rattled and sputtered to the top of the hill, he would clap his hands and with a voice filled with laughter say, “I thought I could, I thought I could.”

What a great lesson in life: If we truly think we can do something, it can be accomplished. Lessons like that from Dad have stuck with me all these years. Mom always went along for the rides even though she didn’t enjoy them nearly as much as Dad and his daughter. Shaking her head, Mom would declare, “You two are my favorite gypsies.”

Mom’s Potato Quips

Gardening requires lots of water,
Mostly in the form of perspiration!

Mom and Dad take family and friends strawberries from their garden

Mom and Dad take family and friends strawberries from their garden

Mom and Dad spent much of their summer perspiring and watering the garden. A large part of their garden was a potato patch. They would pile dirt around the base of the potato plants to protect them from the sun by hilling them, hoeing carefully to avoid damaging any of the potatoes growing under the ground. These potatoes, a favorite comfort food, would last them through the winter if cared for properly.

Mom, a country girl at heart, had many uses for the potatoes. She always carried a raw potato in her apron pocket to prevent rheumatism, while her mashed potatoes and fried chicken dinner became a popular request for family and friends alike.

One morning the children, Mike and Rachel, were home from school, neither one feeling very well. Since poor little Rachel was running a fever, Mom told Rachel to lie down on the couch. Mom hurried to the kitchen to peel some potatoes, which she wrapped in a clean pillowcase before taking them to the living room.

“Rachel, I’m going to place these on your forehead. They’ll draw the fever out and you’ll feel better soon.” Rachel curled up on the couch under a colorful afghan, and soon fell asleep.

In the meantime, Mike complained of an earache. “Mom, would you fix something for my ear? You’re almost magic the way you make everyone feel better.” Mom dashed to the kitchen where she was boiling potatoes for supper. After she mashed some potatoes finely in a ricer, she wrapped the warm mashed potatoes in a clean kitchen towel, then placed the towel around his ear.

“These mashed potatoes will keep your ear warm as toast, because potatoes stay warm for a long time. Be sure to keep them on your ear. You’ll feel better by supper time,” Mom explained in a soft voice to her son. Since Mike was a busy little boy, he didn’t want to lie down so instead sat on the porch whittling a stick with his penknife.

Soon Mom heard Mike cry out, “Ouch! A bee stung me.”

“Don’t worry,” Mom advised, “a slice of potato is just what you need to cool down the swelling from that bee sting. Hold it on the sting while you take the dog for a walk.”

At supper that evening when they sat down to golden brown fried chicken and mashed potatoes, Rachel sat in deep thought. “Mom, I can’t believe there are so many uses for a potato. But the best of all is your mashed potatoes, especially with that creamy chicken gravy.”

The smile on Mom’s face lit up the room. Next year they definitely would plant more potatoes!

This story appeared in the Daily Jeffersonian of Cambridge, Ohio as part of Rainy Day Writers stories for Mothers’ Day. While the picture is actually one of my mom and dad, the names of the children  in the story are fictitious. If you have any great ideas that your mom used to cure aches and pains, please let me know as I enjoy using natural remedies whenever possible.

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