Sunday, March 01, 2009


I rarely ever saw my Dad lose his cool. Where my Mom was a redheaded
Irish American with the typical swing of emotions you'd expect, Dad was calm
and quiet and never seemed to panic. He was good with his hands and knew all
sorts of things to take care of mechanical problems. For example, we had mostly
used cars and if they were having trouble in wet weather, he'd wipe down the
wires with a little kerosene on a rag to keep them dry. (Don't ask me the exact
way he did it. I'm afraid I didn't inherit his mechanical aptitude!)

Once when we were renting a house that sat at the bottom of a driveway, the
cellar was in danger of flooding from water because the drain in the driveway
had clogged. Dad opened up the large overhead door in the front where the water
was backing up, then opened the small door at the back of the cellar, and the water
flowed right through and out leaving most of the boxes we had down there

Another time when my folks had the trailer up in Meredith, N.H., my Dad and
a friend were winterizing their trailers while my Mom and the other man's wife
went to a craft fair. When they returned, Dad was sitting in the campground
office, smoking a cigarette and red-faced. Mom thought he'd had some beers, but it
turned out that there'd been an accident. The stove in the friend's trailer had backfired
because the friend had turned a valve the wrong way, and Dad was calmly sitting
in the office for the ambulance to take him to the emergency room to have him checked
out. Luckily, Dad was ok.

When we first moved to Abington, some of the neighborhood kids thought they could
play a trick on the folks who'd just moved there from the city. They left the infamous
"burning bag of" on our front step, rang the doorbell and waited for
someone to come out and try to put out the fire by stamping on it. Dad opened the door,
looked down, then retrieved the small shovel from the fireplace in the living room. He
went back to the door, scooped up the burning bag and then tossed it over in the
direction of where he heard some kids laughing. That was the last time anyone tried
that trick on us!

There was one time when Dad did lose that cool head: the day my brother was born, Dad
loaded Mom's bag in the car, and then nearly drove off to the hospital without her!

Written for the 67th Edition of the Carnvial of Genealogy


Myrt said...

Bill, this is a totally COOL blog entry. You have a way with words. I could just picture each scenario. Keep up the great work.

Myrt :)

Bill West said...

Thanks, Myrt!

Apple said...

We used to play ring and run but we never got anyone. I understand my uncle was much more successful. We also never had anyone toss it back at us - that probably would have cured us!

Greta Koehl said...

I love the stories about your Dad and I admire someone who could keep his cool.