Today is Father's Day. If my father were living, he would be working his gardens, regardless of the heat. He never allowed a holiday to slow him up.
During the planting and growing seasons of his life, he became an avid gardener, a master of his game. Every unspoken for day was spent gardening, including his special day.
Our dad did not expect gifts from his children, but we always put our artistic abilities into action and created simple, but beautiful cards. We added warm sentiments inside that traveled straight from our hearts to his.
He would never say much, but his broad smile spoke louder than words.
More than often, during those early years of our childhood, we had few coins to spare of our own, therefore; the cards and extra help fine tuning the gardens took care of things.
We hoed, raked and weeded and more, to near exhaustion, to prove we meant what we said in those make-do cards.
Mom would yell out to us, "Dinner" is ready, or "supper", if that were to be the meal.
"Come in; take off those dirty shoes and wash your hands well." We knew the routine by heart, but we listened to her repetitious words, because we loved her.
The apple of our eyes cooked a thresher's feasts for the five of us, occasion or not.
I don't know why she rarely joined her family at the table. We certainly did gather-up enough old rickety kitchen chairs.
She did it her way and waited until everyone left the table, and then dug-into the leftovers. Maybe she liked to eat in peace.
Almost everything she prepared was awesome, delicious belly pleasing delights. Sometimes food items on the menu were far out fare that Dad requested.
That rascal was like the guy on the travel channel named Andy. He would eat anything sitting before him, gross or not.
He dug squirrel brains. I guess you could say that he double dug them. He gored them out of the tiny skulls with a round wooden toothpick. The matter on that blonde stick looked like a white gob of glob on a tiny kabob.
Years ago my dad judged field trials for beagle clubs in Southern Indiana and the Kentucky area. Those old boys introduced him to that regional comfort food. The little spongy half - drained pan fried brains are still considered by many, a delicacy.
Now today, the medical community is advising folks to omit them from their diets.
Some of the bushy tailed rodents have and/or carry mad squirrel disease. The illness involves the brain and more much like mad cow.
We didn't have to wait to get southern-style fried chicken on Sunday and holidays or turkey and dressing on Thanksgiving and Christmas. We were picking and grinning all the time.
Every day, three times a day, Mother cooked and served-up a feast for her king and us,
Eggs figured into every meal, in pairs to heaping platters of them.
More pigeons landed on our table then ever lit on the roof or hatched in the old summer kitchen's loft, it seemed.
We owned the largest flock of fancy breeds and traveling Homers around. We ate a ton of squabs and the local trap shoots to thank for gunny sacks filled with more to deal with.
We ate bluegills and bass taken from the ponds and pits in the spills nearby.
Sometimes a kind woodsman/fisherman, Bob Johnson, would bring us some of the catch of his day, carp aplenty.
Mom did her best to cook the river out of big fish.
I could never decide if I disliked carp more than canned sardines with mustard or cod liver oil. Some of that, more like all of that smelled too fishy.
Mother cooked my sister's pet crow one day, reluctantly. Dad said that our pet pair of crows had to go, because meat rabbits were moving into the holding pen's space.
Merkel, the crippled crow that I claimed, no doubt escaped the day of the kill. He did not appreciate being in captivity, perhaps for good reason.
The Scot told our mom to mix Herkel in with the fried chicken and we would not know the difference, but; I did. Lets face it that "chicken's" legs were so skinny it looked like he might have purged many meals, a dead giveaway. The thighs and breast didn't match-up to the other fleshy fried poultry parts, either, etc.
Think about it, my sister would croak like a frog if I would have spouted, "Pass me the crow's liver and that gizzard, please!" Instead, I licked my lips with my tongue and drooled.
The secret was safe with me.
There the birds well -tanned and tamed body parts were, sprawled out with the fryer chicken on a big old ironstone platter for us to see. It was too late for prayers so, I grabbed up the breast of her old tough bird, gave it a workout and a proper burial, down my shoot.
As we selected more pieces of choice, no one mentioned the heinous kill to her.
I thought of a happier time, the previous summer, when my little sister showed her, Herkel, at a pet show at Forest Park.
Folks strutted about showing off the many entrants of the contest that day.
Well -groomed pink and baby blue poodles with bows on their noodles, and various other animals, reptiles and exotic birds were stand-outs.
We enjoyed gawking at the competition, in its entirety.
The bird that my sister entered in the contest wasn't much on looks, but he was a charmer. The entirely glossy black passerine bird was almost as long, from his to the tip of his tail as my little friend, Tootie Mae Sartor is.
He was a feisty rescue bird that did his best to make his presence known. You could hear him throughout the park. The "caw" of the wild, ruffled some feathers, but for the most part, that character please the crowd and the judges.
Sandra and the crow went home that day with a shiny ribbon and a silver dollar. Little did they know that the beauty contest winner would meet up with the butcher's hatchet and scalding pot within days?
I might add, she placed the prizes in her hot pocket with a sticky sucker on a short stick. The ribbon ruined and was later destroyed, but she saves the silver dollar to this day, just because.
I do remember that cute little picky eater passed up the poultry that day. We all crowed about what we stripped from the pile of bones.
It would be years before she found out about the crow that went down on Elm Street one sad day so long ago.
I could not hold the truth from her any longer or take it to my grave.
Therefore; a cold case was opened and more guts were spilled.
Sometimes we laugh until we cry as we reflected back to those good old days.
Today, Father's Day, I am remembering our dad, Hugh B. Lynch Jr. 1909- 1994
This child is proud when folks that knew my father tell me that I am a chip off of the old block.
Truth is, I am a little earthy and some say, "Rough around the edges," but I am real -same as he was.
I can be reached by phone at 446-4852 or by email at email@example.com.