New Potatoes

new potatoes

New Potatoes

” Douggie,  Do you supposed you could get me just a few new potatoes?  I’ll steam them with some fresh green beans, onions, maybe a little bacon and top them with butter. ”    Grandma Marie  in her thick German accent every June.

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Grandma M immigrated to America on the Bismark when she was 19 years young.  My aunt told me later, she never saw her father alive again.  She came by railroad to Chicago where she found a job.  Her aunt and uncle, a farmer from Iowa were her sponsors.  At some point she came for visit them..   While here , she met a 2nd generation  German farm boy named John. His parents and her aunt and uncle used to get together to play cards….and the rest shall we say is history…my history 🙂

Marie and John married, scratched out a living on the farm. She was a city girl, who grew up near the North Sea.  Grandpa used to tell me, some people would make fun of him for marrying a “city girl”

 “What’s it to you?” he told them.

Grandma didn’t  realize it until it was too late, that grandpa had a fondness for  alcohol. They had a little boy. (my father)  Grandma said later, if she could have found the money, she would have went back to Germany with her little baby , but by this time American was in the midst of the Great Depression..

Then  came World War 2.

John and Marie canned chickens and beef, then boxed it up, sent it back to Germany after the war.

Their sacrificial kindness kept several families from starving to death.

Then in the early 1960’s  Marie, found a lump in her breast.

It was cancer.

Cancer treatments in those days were not what they are today.

Doctor didn’t give her much of a chance.

Grandpa, said “The hell with him,” and found another doctor.

Grandma had her breast removed, and lived  another 40 years.

I was in my early 20’s,  newly married with two babies of my own when I had a spot for a garden.

I think of Grandma every June when the new potatoes are ready..

“The skins come off when you scrub them.” she would tell me, and they do 🙂

grandma early20s

Grandma right before she left Germany.

fred and hannah otten and grandma

Grandma visiting her aunt and uncle on the farm in Iowa.

Annie,Grandma  Mieka 1984

1984 Visit from  Aunt Annie, and Mika from Germany

. (Grandma is in the middle)

Grandma, the new potatoes are ready. Was thinking about you this morning.  Love, Doug

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An Open Letter To A Young Father To Be….

Saw a picture this morning

Four twenty “somethingish” first time pregnant young ladies standing in a row.

All due in the Fall.

All smiles.

One of them reminded me of my wife when she was carrying our first. (Daughter just turned 35 last week.

Wife and I are currently enjoying the most connected season in our 36 years of marriage, which is where these thoughts are flowing from….)

There is a part of me that would love to sit down with the husbands of those four precious young ladies and plant just a couple of thoughts into their young  testosterone filled brains.

Here is some of what I would tell them….

#1  You WILL encounter situations in your marriage, in your parenting and in your personal life that bring you to the place of brokenness and confusion in the years ahead.  Resist the temptation to just keep mucking along, and gradually loosing the sense of connection and intimacy you first had as a couple.

Reach out.

Ask for help.

There are people and resources out there that can help you, but the buck stops with you young man.  You may have to do a little digging to find someone in your area, if you need any help, feel free to drop me a comment.

#2 Save some emotional energy for your wife and child.  If you have to sacrifice all of it on the altar of your career, then  get a different job.  Taking care of young children at home (I’m  thinking of your wife @ this point)  has a tendency to turn your brain to mush.  If you don’t believe me, take a week off, tell her to go see her parents or best friend from high school while you take over…

Well, time to go to work.  DM

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Star Fliers

star fliers

Star Fliers

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I’m wondering if my clutch isn’t starting to slip.

ie.  I have started to make up words, or at least combine them in  new ways.

It happens at least once a week.

Wife knows what I mean most of the time.…;-)

 

Taste A Little Of The Summer

This song captures what I love, who I am, and my roots as a person  as well as anything I’ve ever heard.   Just heard it for the first time this morning.  DM

When Sexual Harassment Came Knocking

    ” A truck driver sexually harassed me this morning on my way here from Walmart,”  my eldest daughter  told me when I got home from work.  

     She continued: “As I was merging, he waved and I waved back thinking it might be someone I knew.    Then I realized I didn’t .    Addy was in the back seat sound asleep in her  car seat.  A couple of minutes later when I tried to pass him, he sped up- and I couldn’t get around.  I looked at my speedometer – I was going over 80 mph so I said, what the heck and got back in the right lane….then  he started to slow down.    This cat and mouse game went on for 15 minutes until I got to  our exit.  It really shook me up.  I didn’t get his license plate number but I do remember the name on his mudflaps….”

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I (DM) am a dad to 3 beautiful daughters.

They have all grown up  and moved out,  the oldest is home this week visiting with our granddaughter.   Today for the 7th time in my life I got wind that someone had sexually harassed one of them. I got onto the internet, typed in the name of the company, found their website and e-mailed them this note:

To Whom it may concern, Today is July 19. I just got home for lunch to the news that my 27 yr old daughter was “propositioned” by one of your fuel truck drivers as he was driving North on Hwy *** between A.  and B . she said that as she was passing him (it is a divided highway) he honked at her and continued to indicate something was up. She thought maybe there was something wrong w/ her car and he was signing her to pull over….This went on for several minutes. She slowed down but eventually decided just to pass him. As she did, he made a gesture which she took to mean he wanted sex. she had out of state plates so it probably looked like she was traveling across country. I’m not sure how easy it would be to identify who the driver was, but she said it was a semi fuel truck w/**** mudflaps.

As her dad I would like to meet with that trucker in person.. My daughter also was carrying my grandchild in the car with her.  Any thing you can do to address this situation would be appreciated. DM

I got a phone call the next morning from a company rep,

First, he said, “We take this sort of thing very seriously and will deal with it accordingly.” He apologized for the incident, even if it turns out not to be someone from their company, but just the fact that it reflects badly on the trucking industry as a whole. He also said that he himself has two daughters (22 and 19) and completely understood where I was coming from.

In the end, we were not able to positively identify the trucker my daughter encountered. It’s a good thing for both of us because I probably would have done something that would have gotten  me in trouble with the law.

Have you personally or someone you love been sexually harassed?

If you’re comfortable talking about it, how did  that make you feel and what did you do about it?

Any tips for the person who happens to stumble across this blog post later who is dealing with sexual harassment?

Practicing The Hook

Hook Me

    

      “Three  pirate boats  encircled Charlie’s  yacht  thinking he would be an  easy target.  What they didn’t count on was he’d served with the Marines in Viet Nam, and when he’d outfitted his boat,  he’d planned for this sort of thing….” 

Recent conversation around  our  B and B breakfast table  Hook #1

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     ” A truck driver sexually harassed me this morning on my way here from Walmart,”  my eldest daughter  told me when I got home from work.  

     She continued: “As I was merging, he waved and I waved back thinking it might be someone I knew.    Then I realized I didn’t .    Addy was in the back seat sound asleep in her  car seat.  A couple of minutes later when I tried to pass him, he sped up- and I couldn’t get around.  I looked at my speedometer – I was going over 80 mph so I said, what the heck and got back in the right lane….then  he started to slow down.    This cat and mouse game went on for 15 minutes until I got to  our exit.  It really shook me up.  I didn’t get his license plate number but I do remember the name on his mudflaps….”

At this point I the papa, got on the internet.  I was determined to track down the driver of the semi.  ..

Excerpt of a conversation with my eldest daughter  two  summers ago.-  Hook #2

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     I woke up on Wednesday  to the sound of a contented giggle coming from under the covers.  I looked over  to see my wife  of 36 years still asleep with a  smile.      “What’s so funny?”  I asked.

Early morning conversation this week in our home- hook #3

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     “Junior- take a look at this,  how bad  is it ?”

     Dad had been working in the basement with an electric chainsaw when it had kicked back, catching him on the forehead.

There was blood on his stocking hat…..

This happened the Summer of 1997- hook #4

    

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The  silver Pontiac cut in front of me at the crest of the hill.   Calvin, Bernie, Steve and I were headed to Central Park fishing.   I was south of Amber on the gravel  when our right front corners clipped.  I stayed on the road, but  the other vehicle landed in the ditch at an  angle, his two right wheels barely on the shoulder.    We ran to the car… in the back seat was an 83 yr old woman…..

This happened the summer I turned 16- hook #5

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Today’s post is a compilation of actual events from my life, practicing the “hook”.   😉

it’s the idea of “hooking” your reader out of the gate.

Best One Yet

breakfast with dad (1)

 Breakfast with dad for his birthday

Went out for an early breakfast with my dad and siblings this morning at the local truck stop.   This event has become an annual event that I have started to look forward to.

Mom was not there, although I asked her if she would join us.  She told me,  when she is there, dad will  let her do most of the talking so she wanted to stay home and not take away from his special day.

Growing up, dad, by his own admission was a workaholic and was not present for most of our growing up years.  Not until I was in my 40’s did  dad begin an annual ritual where he would take each of the kids out, one on one, for a birthday breakfast.  At some point, the idea came to us that wouldn’t it be fun to take him out on his birthday…and the rest is history.

This whole birthday get together did not start until dad was in his 70’s.

There is definitely a life lesson there for me…it is never to late to reverse longstanding inter personal family  life patterns.  What it takes is a good dose of humility, and courage to be the first person to make a move.   In my case,  it was my dad who first moved out of his comfort zone.  That’s not saying there wasn’t a fair amount of dead air  those first several birthdays..we didn’t have  a lot to talk about except work, which ended up being mostly what we talked about. 🙂

This morning’s breakfast  was definitely the best one yet for me.  The youngest one of my siblings is now well into her 40’s…most of our children have graduated high school…all except for one nephew.

I am the first-born,  my oldest will turn 35 in a couple of weeks, so I am a few miles ahead of the rest of my siblings.

One of the things I enjoy  hearing is the parenting questions/ struggles of my siblings.

“Enjoy” is a relative word.

I coul write several dozen blog posts on those years that we navigated those teen through late 20’s years.  I told someone recently, it was like being lost in the Amazon jungle for 15 years, not sure where we were most of the time, hacking my way through dense undergrowth, one challenge after another…until one day..we finally came into a clearing…

The whole parenting gig changed me.  It broke me in some areas.  I have a much more healthy concept of my role in their lives as adults.

I am their peer.

I work really hard at NOT putting pressure on any of their choices.

A controlling parent of an adult child is an ass.

He or she needs to learn how to back off.

I’ve always tried to see parenting as me trying to work myself out of a job.

Like the eagle that stirs the nest (ie. kicks their baby out of the nest so it is forced to learn to fly.)

So sitting around 4 other parents who are at different phases of the process is really quite interesting…;.

And there @ the end of the table sits my dad, who has had to walk through the same process with each of us.

He did bring up the time he found me asleep in the cab of the combine, after a night of partying this morning at breakfast. 🙂

I laughed.   So did the rest of them.

” Some of us got caught, and some of us didn’t.”  said my sister.

DM