Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Like Father Like Son

After five days surrounded by palm trees and 70 degrees in Anaheim, I returned to Minnesota's snowdrifts and 10 degree temperatures.  Exhibiting at a Medical Design and Manufacturing show takes a lot of work and effort.  I was looking forward to getting back home to help celebrate my dad's 80 surprise birthday party on Saturday.  It meant skipping fishing for the weekend however some things just take precedence.   My Dad, Donald (Dinnie) Anderson is an interesting guy.  Born in 1930, he was a Depression child spending his younger years during some of the most difficult times for young families.  His Dad, my grandfather, was quite industrious and he succeeded in raising my father and his brothers and sisters quite successfully.  This special upbringing has left him quite frugal, almost to perfection.  Having retired at the young age of 55, he has spent almost half his adult life enjoying the freedom from work.  Living on Social Security and a pension, he is far from poverty however he is not one to hold back on the comparison of his financial situation to others.  This has developed into a finely tuned crescendo to the point where Dad's nickname around Eleva is POD, Poor Ol' Dinnie!   It fun to talk to his friends as they put it on pretty thick however I suspect most of it is deserved.

The party was set at his morning hangout, the Full House Tavern, in downtown Eleva.  Owned by his neighbor Kim, who is the daughter of his good friend Dunk Semingson, the village elders gather each morning to drink coffee, have a few cookies, and proceed to needle each other for the next 2 - 3 hours until they disperse.  Our role was to get there an hour before to help set up.  My brothers and sister had done a nice job prior to my arrival as I help unload critical items.  The first thing I noticed on the bar was a large jar with a label stating "Dinnie's Engine Fund".  Dad's 1996 Lincoln engine blew up a few weeks ago leaving him car less for a week or so.  Fix it or buy a newer car.......a tough decision.  I can imagine those conversations during morning coffee, they must have been interesting.  Dad ended up getting a 2003 Buick and my brother Jon had agreed to help fix the Lincoln as not to be forced to sell it as junk.  For a 1996 it was almost spotless.  Apparently the boys downtown decided to "help" Dad with is dilemma.  Looking in the jar were a number of coins, mostly dimes and pennies as well as some substantial IOU's from a number of anonymous donors.  All in good fun, it goes with living in a small town where everyone is a star!  When Dad turned 70 my brother Steve and I took him to Alaska for the trip of a lifetime.  We had a great time, it was the first and last time we shared a big adventure together.  Here he is on the left after the first halibut trip which was pretty stressful on him. Although he toughed it out, the rest of the trip for him was spent relaxing while Steve, his son Kevin, and I took in the excitement of fishing.  I am glad we took him as it was good for all of us.

As I said earlier, my Dad is an interesting guy.  I would have to say that I respected my father as he provided leadership in a way that I did not recognize till later in life.  I don't think this is an isolated situation, as I reflect on our relationship growing up.  He was not my friend rather my Dad, friendship would come later.  His job was not to make me happy rather to provide me with the basics such as food, clothing, shelter, and guidance.  More often that guidance was implied rather than clearly defined.  Success for my father can be measured in my case based on the fact that when I turned 18, I wasn't in jail and of course my long term success as an adult.  I think Dad would agree that he did a pretty good job.  As I grow older, I am reminded of a song by Paul Overstreet that hits home called I'm Seein' My Father In Me.  The chorus goes like this:

I'm seein' my father in me
I guess that's how it's meant to be
And I find I'm more and more like him each day
I notice I walk the way he walks
I notice I talk the way he talks
I'm startin' to see my father in me

You see I have turned into a younger him.  I walk like him, I talk like him, my sense of humor is like his, I think like him.  As I have stated before, imitation is often the greatest compliment.
At the party I noticed a sign, Happy Birthday: Dinnie 80, Dave 55.  I thought that was nice, Dad and I celebrate our birthday 2 days apart, someone added me to the sign, nice!  As I unloaded the car my good friend Paul Wenaas came walking by wishing me a Happy Birthday.  He had a bag with a card, some Cheese Curd Batter Mix, and a special Leinenkugel's hat autographed by none other than Jake Leinenkugel himself.  That was awful nice of Weiner, come down to the bar for Dad and bring me something.  Settling in at the bar I noticed that my wife's aunt and uncle were in the back........that was strange, what were they doing there?  Not until a few more special friend showed up that I figured it out, it was really a party for both of us.  The friends are too numerous to mention however they included the whole family of my late Uncle Keith, Paul, Julie, Cindy, Linda, and Dorothy.   Cousin Greg and his folks Loren and Lavonne, and a special greeting from my uncle Jerry and aunt Marilyn in Boise.  Mark and Cindy Taylor, Lory and Lyn Brasel who both had driven down from the cities, no small feat to see a guy less than 10 minutes away when at home.  My great aunt Florence  (shes 97) with her family Jean, Kristy, and Jim.  Cousin Doug Hillestad and his wife along with a greeting from his mom, my great aunt Sylvia.  A special treat was seeing Terry and Diane Baier, a great friend from La Crosse, is an excellent brewmeister as he gave me a nice variety of his latest concoctions.   John Felix from Ashland; Roger Olson made a detour on his trip from Iowa to Ohio (some detour!) and my aunt Pat from Antigo with my cousin Donny Schmidt and his wife Connie.  The entire Rombalski clan showed up, Andrew, Jane, Bernie, Nellie, Sister Rosemary, Anna, Art and Florence, and Jake.  They grew up over the hill from my Dad's Grandmother, south of town.  Kevin, Janet; a host of Eleva people and I am sure I forgot many others however both Dad and I are blessed with so many good friends.  Dad got mostly cash and lottery tickets, keeping with his POD designation while I was overwhelmed with substantial Gander Mountain and Cabela's gift certificates, keeping with mine.   I just want to thank everyone.  Plans for this weekend, hopefully there will be one of my last fishing trips for the year before I take off for Palm Springs on Monday. 

1 comment:

NeenahPete said...

Dave - Very nice tribute to your Dad. I especially like the Paul Overstreet chorus that you cited. Made me think of my Dad too. Oh, and a belated Happy Birthday to you too, my friend!!