Monday, July 11, 2011

My Dad

When we were in KS I discovered something very exciting.

We visited the area where my dad grew up as a little boy.

He was born in 1942, so you do the math. Every picture we have of him is black

and white and he's either in a tub out in the yard bathing or looks

like he's getting into some trouble out in the country somewhere.

We were traveling down a very dusty dirty road out in the middle of nowhere,

and he pulled our small convoy over to show us something very exciting.

As a small boy of 6 years old, the youngest boy of six children, living in the country has many many amazing stories.

One of them is that he and his dad built this pond.

I was in flip flops and we climbed a fence (that said, no trespassing) and walked through

thistles and weeds and fought our way through an overgrown pasture and tree rows, that his parents planted. (I know you're saying, now where's that picture)

When we came to the clearing this is what we saw. He was 6 yrs old and he

accompanied his dad to this spot where a friend, who used a guiding rod revealedto them that there was water below.

They lived in a house that came from the Sears & Roebuck catalog. What a piece of history.

For a month, they would come with their mule and an old slip and

dig this pond themselves. A little boy, his hard workin daddy, a mule, and a slip...

that's it.

He explained exactly how it happened. He rode the mule that was hooked to the slip, navigating the way. That way Gpa Rudolph could concentrate on guiding the slip and holding onto the handles. The slip would scoop up the dirt and then my dad would guide Tom the 'ol mule up the hill to dump off the dirty and evenly distribute it where they wanted it. Tom, Jerry, and I can't remember the name of the other mule that always worked along side of the Williams crew. Tom & Jerry worked a lot in tandom, but when they needed a single job, they brought along Tom. Dad says, he was so gentle and we got along so well, it made a good team. They then would travel back down the hill to do it all over again. I can just see my barefooted dad with a dirty face and his straight hair sticking up, riding Tom and jabbing him in the ribs, clickin his cheek like he did the horses later in life, to keep him going. I can just hearing Gpa Shorty's voice, with a loud roll in it, being stern about the project, but smiling to himself behind my dad, proud that they were working together and that he was teaching his youngest son a good life lesson.

This is my dad that day. If you want to envision what he looked like back then

just look at picture of my nephew Leo, skinny scrawny little fella, but handsome

as can be, street smart and STRONG!

It's an amazing thought picture for me. It's hard to fathom a little boy

nowadays being dedicated to such a project in the horrible Kansas heat.

The awesome thing is that it's STILL there, through contracting,

several different owners, and many years of drought- the Williams pond

is still there. And that old medicine man was right, there was water there

and there still is.

Thank you dad for sharing these memories with us, through thistles, fence climbing, weeds,

horrible heat, and snake infested fields ( I was thinking it anyway, the whole time)
I was honored to make this stop and learn an important piece of your history.

Now I am bound and determined to dig up some old pictures and share with you

how he was born in a tent, went to a one roomed school with his siblings,

had only one pair of shoes each year, learned skills for life to make a living, rode his horse to town, only went to "the 3rd grade" hee hee, was an amazing entrepeneur when he was in elementary school, had 20 or more careers, played music, and is still singing his way

through life.

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