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Just Thinking – My Dad

Ray Augenstein

Ray Augenstein

My Dad was bigger and stronger than any other Dad in the world. If you don’t believe it just ask me.  My Dad could do anything.  When he returned from serving our country in WWII, I bragged how he single handedly whipped the Japanese into surrendering.  Although he didn’t fly any airplanes, or shoot the big guns, he did let others help him.

I remember when he returned from the service. I looked up the road and here was a soldier walking towards us in his army Uniform, with a bag over his shoulders. My mother spied him and she took off running.  This man dropped his bag and picked her up in his arms. Then he came over and picked up all three of us kids and hugged us real hard. It was then I realized this man was my Father. I was 5 years old at the time.

My Father found a job and began the task of providing for his tribe. He would hunt and fish, and do whatever it took to make a living to provide for us. Sometimes he would take one of the kids with him as he went into the woods near our home to hunt for the Rabbits that lived there.  Dad taught us about nature, and the things that nature provided to keep hunger away from the door.

My Dad could always find time to play with his children, even when he broke his leg on the job, He would chase us through the house on his crutches, poking them at us and tickling us when we fell down. My Father played the Guitar, along with my Uncle and my Grandfather played the fiddle. When we gathered in the family parlor out would come the instruments and then the music would start.

One day I took my father’s guitar and went out behind the barn. I strummed the strings and howled what I considered a song. Imagine my surprise to look up and see my Father standing there.  I thought I was in big trouble, but he sat down next to me and said ” If you’re going to take my guitar you might was well learn some chords on it”, so he showed me a couple of chords and told me to keep on practicing until I could do them smoothly.

Dad loved his family, and he did some things we couldn’t understand at the time, like buying a small farm and moving us out of town. Now I’m not saying we were the worst kids in town, but we did get in to enough mischief, that if something went wrong they asked us first.

My dad worked and tried to plant some crops on his little farm. He had a of couple of cows, 4 pigs, several rabbits, and a flock of chickens. He tried to teach us how to farm, but we just wasn’t interested. Finally we left the farm, went into the service and got married.  Dad’s hair turned gray, and his strength became less and less.  Finally he had a stroke, which paralyzed his right side, but he kept going. He fought to maintain his life style. Until finally his big heart gave out in the church where he attended.

Even now, I look back through the windows of time, and I see my Dad, big strong, full of life and love for his family.  I just hope I can convey some of the strength and love he had for his family, to my family as well, I love you dad, and I still miss you after all these years.

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