Sunday, June 21, 2015

Dad's Day

Happy Father's Day!  Whenever I think of Father's Day I think about my grandfather, Ivan "John" Koss.
Gramps and Me
I met my husband a year and a half after my Gramps had died.  That saddens me as I think they would have really liked knowing each other.  Both of them, I would rate, as exceptional dads. Selfless, compassionate, funny and responsible both shared a love of music, food and hard work.
My Gramps was extremely thrifty, perhaps because he was an immigrant who had weathered the Great Depression.  My first bike was a many time hand-me-down from my older cousins but he wanted to make it like new for me.  He spray painted it green, my then favorite color.
I was the 5th in the family to use this bike
My parents were divorced and we didn't have a lot of money so when bikes evolved, Gramps updated the one above with a banana seat and cruise handlebars.  I thought I was so cool!

Gramps put up with my love of animals and never complained.  I can't explain how strays always happened to find me: 
If we couldn't locate the owner the animal had a very nice life in our home.  I'm not talking about just cats and dogs.  He let me keep a chicken, parakeet, frogs and a snake.  He even let the snake hibernate in the basement in an aquarium.  We let it go after the winter thaw.
Gramps was inventive.  The man loved tools and could fix anything. He took an old vacuum cleaner and turned it into a handheld model to use to clean the carpeting on the stairs.  I wish we still had it as it worked better than anything on the market today.  He let me mess around with his tools and play store.
During the months when the ice cream shop was open, Gramps would take me for a Black Cow - a root beer float, every Friday.  When I was really small he'd have to pick me up to put me on the stool and I remember how proud I was when I could climb up on my own.
Gramps had a wooden leg due to a steel mill accident.  I don't know how he climbed a ladder to paint the eaves as the house was 2 stories!  He never let his handicap get in the way of dancing which he was quite good at.  Gramps was also nearly blind.  He had cataracts that were inoperable for some reason and yet, he never complained.
Each Father's Day I bought the same gift for Gramps - a can of Skoal.  I always used my allowance to make the purchase at Dickenson's Drug Store.  Gramps would say it was the best gift he ever got. 
Gramps passed away 45 years ago but the lessons he taught me are with me still. 
Dad's and Grand Dad's make a tremendous impression on youth.  Today, Dad's get beat up in the media as the butt of jokes.  If you are lucky to have a wonderful father figure in your life make sure he's appreciated or remembered-he deserves it!

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