Sunday, November 9, 2008


This weekend while going through photos I came across some that will become today's topic. What easier thing is there to write about than my Dad? Calvin Theodore Johnson, my very own story teller, protector, refinisher, car repairman, collector, supporter, fixer of all things...
He and Mom have provided me with values and many of life's lessons that make me who I am.

Dad fell a week ago and injured his hand and tore his rotary cuff. This is delaying their trip to Mesa, AZ to their winter home. He decided to have surgery in Sioux Falls instead of waiting and going to Mesa first. Now they're awaiting a date from the doctor.
* update: an MRI on 11/11 showed a bad tear in the rotary cuff. Surgery is scheduled for 11/21.

In his honor, I'll share a few stories of his with you. They're not earth shattering stories but those who know the participants will get a smile I'm sure.

"When Joyce (Dad's sister) and I were small we planed to build a log cabin down in the pasture across the road. We’d get the Montgomery Ward catalog out and pick out the cheapest stove and items to fill it from the pages in the catalog. I asked Joyce, “What are we going to do with the cracks when we put the logs together?” and she said “That won’t matter, when we put the wall paper up you won’t be able to see them.” I thought that was funny even as a kid."

Did you know, Dad's the only person living to have worked in the Granite Bank? Well... sort of. When his Grandpa Charley was President of the bank, he was dropped off there as a young child and Alpha Swanson was a bank teller at the time and she gave him the "job" of counting pennies for her one afternoon. She made one stack of 10 and told him to make his stacks the same height as hers. The bank moved to Larchwood in 1934.

I've been told many times about the time Dad and Junior Bonander, when they were quite young, how they walked to Granite with spoons from home, and each bought a pint of ice cream and took it to a ditch to eat the treat. After finishing their own containers they scraped up enough money to go back and buy another carton and headed back to the ditch.

Grandma called Dad her "Kelly Boy" and he always knows a close relative or friend from his youth is around when he hears "Kelly" called to get his attention. When in grade school (over on the now hwy. 9 where the Snyders home is) he remembered standing on the roof of the school's horse barn and three fancy cars going by. The older kids said it was the Dillinger gang. They had been seen around Granite and everyone had their guns ready, scared they would rob the Granite Bank. A bachelor named Peacock (who lived on the "North Place" at the time) followed them around the countryside with his Model T coupe and pistol.
They fixed up the horse barn on Sioux #2 Country School to keep their animals in. The area children would have horse races outside the school until someone got hurt and the teacher would make them stop.
Kids would make fun out of drowning out gophers, a hole along the RR track had water in it and the little kids would haul water with their dinner pails to pour down holes and then they would stomp on them with their bare feet. (Ok animal rights people relax...)
Out on the playground Cal remembers pushing Junior Viereck on the merry go round, only Junior fell off and Kelly didn't notice and Junior got a gash in his head. (Hearing these two 71 year olds talk of this event years later like it was yesterday was a treat as they laughed about the then serious incident. They couldn't believe all the blood and of course remembered that school was called off for the day as Juniors gash was taken care of. Story relayed at the Larchwood True Valu Hardware store in 1996)

Dad remembers when his parents wanted to talk about something privately and not let the kids in on it they would speak in Swedish.

Outhouse notes: Dad always said that his mother, Phoebe, told him to really crinkle up the Montgomery Ward catalog page to make it softer. They would use peach wrappers after canning the peaches. Those peach wrappers were the best toilet paper ever.

Hopefully these short clips will give you a chance to think of simplier times, how times have changed, opportunity to remember your youth, remember your Dad, or just be thankful we have toilet paper now! More will follow I'm sure...

1 comment:

cwcad said...

Now I know that I am dating myself... I can barely remember the tissues from the peach crates and yes it did work to crumble first to alleviate pain in regards to the Monkie Ward catalog. Modern plumbing soon entered my life and then Mr. Wipple came along with his squeezing of all the rolls. LOL!


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