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Son of the Man Older than Dirt

This is the day. I’m three score in age. I had breakfast yesterday with my Dad, I put Dad in caps because there is no way I can call him dad. He is Dad aka, “The Man Older than Dirt”.

He is my hero.

Dad & Me with Paul Buyan in Braynard MN

Dad & Me with Paul Buyan in Braynard MN

That’s how I feel most days. But it isn’t as bad as it might sound. As long as Dad is still around I’m still the son of one living. I remember when all my grandparents on both sides of my family were alive. A diverse group. All unique in their own ways. All providing something at various times in my life. My Dad’s dad was someone I never had many moments with one on one. There was one; only one. I was 10 and sitting on a pile of dirt made from the addition being added to our house.

Grandpa Smith was there visiting and for some reason he came over where I was and talked. I was amazed. He never talked to me, or for that matter he never talked much to any of the grandkids. So I never felt like it was something to do with me, but a part of his character and nature; he just didn’t talk to kids. But this time he talked to me, I guess because I was the only one around. I don’t remember how the conversation started or how it finished but I do remember us talking about history. Do you find that funny, that the first and only conversation between a grandfather and grandson would be about history? He remembered his grandfather talking about the War when he was growing up. The Civil War, yes, the Civil War. There was this instant connection between someone I knew and what I thought was ancient history. He talked about the first automobile and seeing the first airplane. Seeing a motion picture for the first time and what it was like to live through the turn of a century, the 20th century. My grandfather was born before 1900. My dad was born in 1922, he grew up during the Great Depression. So did my mom, so did everyone during those years.

Grandpa Smith was the first person I ever saw who had died. He went back to the earth many many years ago. But I was young and it didn’t seem to have much of an effect. Except in my young mind I thought; “there is only one generation between me and . . .” As aunts and uncles have passed away over the years the thought would pop up for a second or so. Then last year Mom died, and suddenly the thought was larger and lingered longer than ever before.

Dad In Golf Cart

Dad In Golf Cart

Dad has had a couple hard years, but he isn’t only older than dirt he is a lot tougher. He’s a Depression Kid, he survived and fought in World War II. He is my champion, my hero, my shield. And when he had returned to the earth, I’ll be the last generation, or the next one how ever you want to see it. In a way I guess it is a role I’ve been preparing for all my life. My Dad has been the role model for this position in history for a very long time. I’m not ready to take that position just yet.

I wonder if my Grand kids think I’m older than dirt. I know one thing, in a few years I’ll tell them about the time I sat on a pile of dirt and talked to my Grandfather about his grandfather who lived during the Civil War. That should get either blank stares or looks or wonderment and maybe embed a generational memory for when they are the Last or the Next generation.


  1. Rachel Graham says

    This one made me cry. I don’t think I had ever seen the picture of you and Grandpa with Paul Bunyan. He is a hero to all of us kids, and no, your grandkids do NOT think you are older than dirt.

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