I went to the dentist last week, and it reminded me of the time when I was in college and went to the dentist.
Money was short, so I didn’t go to the dentist often, and my dental hygiene habits weren’t as good as they are today.
As I settled into the reclining chair the dentist did a few quick probes around my teeth and asked the fateful question. “Would you like a free cleaning and checkup?” I didn’t need to know anything else. What could go wrong? This was toward the end of the school year and the dental hygiene students were getting ready for their state board exams. Part of the process was demonstrating skill at cleaning teeth. I was to be the subject of that examination process.
They asked me to return the next week for the cleaning appointment, which was an easy thing for me. Once again I settled into the reclining chair for what would be one of the most memorable experiences of my life. A cute young hygienist put the little blue bib around my neck and started working. Continue reading
Louie had a knack for taking a mundane activity and moving it to adventure status. When my friend Mark and I went sledding at “Cardboard Hill,” we often got our blue jeans so wet that they froze solid by the time we got home. I can remember many Saturday afternoons thawing out at Mark’s house, with our jeans standing next to us on the furnace floor grate. As usual, Louie takes the wet blue jeans thing one step further. Perhaps memory fails me, but I don’t remember doing anything this dangerous at that age.
In the 1930’s we had some good amounts of snow that fell to the earth and along with the wind, it created some huge snowbanks.
Jim and Lon in 1977
Jim covers about twenty years of history in this one letter. It’s a letter I could have written about Grandma, but he beat me to the punch. Those two made quite the pair. She was an unsmiling old farm woman, and he was a happy-go-lucky bachelor. I was lucky to have the two of them raise me.
These two photos illustrate the differences. Taken the same day, in the same room, holding the same grand child, you can see the personality differences clearly.
Jim looks elated to be holding Lon, but he’s a little uncomfortable with a child. Being single he hasn’t had much chance to interact with infants. Fanny, on the other hand, looks like an old hand at holding a child in her lap. She knows it’s almost impossible to damage the child in this situation. Just for fun, compare the position of Jim’s left hand and Fanny’s left hand. He’s ready to catch the boy immediately. She’s ready, but has no need to telegraph the readiness. She can intuit what Lon will do.
The other comparison is the smile. Jim is clearly in his prime here! What joy he displays. Fanny is happy. There might not be another picture around showing her as happy as she was on this occasion.
Fanny and Lon in 1977
Their friendship was just one more of those unfathomable things in life. I miss these people. I miss their stories.
More than once Guy has mentioned what a treasure we would have had if we could have recorded all of the stories that Grandma Luehr had related to us over the years. What a history of her family enriched with the many experiences and hardships she endured. …
Today we’re sitting in a waiting room, waiting. Every few minutes someone’s cell phone rings. That reminds me of being in church one Sunday morning a couple of years ago, hearing a cell phone ring.
2015 and 1996
There are times in a service that nobody would hear a phone go off, like during a particularly loud and familiar hymn. There are other times everyone can hear, even that old guy with a turned-off hearing aid. This was one of those times. Nobody was talking, the organ was playing softly. Deep in prayer towards the end of the service.
RING! I don’t recall the ring tone, but it was one of the brand rings. What’s the number of rings before it goes to voice mail? It rang one time less than that. Eternity in church feels like a long time. All through the ringing you can hear fumbling. Digging. The phone was at the bottom of a very deep purse.
Finally she found the phone. Foolishly, I thought she’d just silence the ringer and call it good. I’d be wrong. That’s when I learned more about the phone’s owner. An old lady’s voice loudly said “Hello!” This is just a guess, but she probably had or should have had a hearing aid.
That’s not enough! It was a brief discussion, that ended quickly with “I can’t talk now, I’m in church.”
Some of Grandma’s chickens
This was one of Grandma’s favorite stories. She was very proud to have pulled one over on the big car dealer in the county seat.
There’s a picture of the car, along with Fanny, in a recent post called “The Kids Travel to Nebraska.” There are actually a couple of pictures of family members with that car. I take that as a celebration of a good car and a good deal. The family drove a lot of Chevy’s and other GM cars from then on.
In 1939 Mama + Papa bought a ’37 Chevie from Mr Bertleson, the Chevrolet dealer in Steele. In the spring Mama had bought a thousand leghorn roosters to raise for fryers. Continue reading
Judy & Guy (left) at Prom in 1970
When I was in high school my friends and I went to a lot of dances. There were dances at the KC Hall, the Masonic Temple, the Legion Club and the high school. My interest was much more in the bands than in the girls, at least for the first couple of years. The only ones that had “dance cards” were at the Masonic Lodge. They were more formal, especially compared to the KC dances.
The memories that stick in my mind about the dance cards were that the last dance had to be slow, and the last two dances had to be with my date.
When I was twelve years old Delos Burley (He was called “Fuzzy” later because he was a very hairy person.) It was a party at Halloween time. When he stopped to pick me up he told my mom “She’ll always be my girl.” He was half right because we were always good friends. At that party we “bobbed” for apples. I was trying for one and …