Grandpa Has A Boy!

I think it’s every father’s dream to have a son.  Daughters are great, but there’s something special about a father-son bond that cannot be matched.  So was the case with Grandpa when his first son was finally born in November of 1954.  Now he was finally able to do some “guy” stuff.

Grandpa and Dad

One thing Grandpa loved doing with his kids was riding horses.  Horse riding was a passion of Grandpa’s for his entire life, so it was no surprise that he passed that love onto his children.  Kathy received her first horse when she was thirteen and when her horse eventually gave birth to a baby colt, Grandpa gave it to my dad who ended up hating it because it would bite and kick him all the time.  “I know Grandpa got frustrated with my fears from time to time,” says my dad. Grandpa taught his kids how to train or “break” horses, as it’s commonly referred to, and all three of them developed into good horse riders.

(From Left to Right) Grandpa, Kathy, and Ken (My Dad)

When it came to travel, Grandpa Loren took his family everywhere. My dad remembers taking fishing trips to Minnesota and camping trips to South Dakota, Colorado, Nebraska and even California. While out in the wilderness, He’d take my dad out to go hunting and fishing. He taught my dad how to “clean” the fish and game (squirrels, rabbits, pheasants, yuck!) in order to cook and eat them. Hunting and fishing weren’t the only manly things Grandpa and his son did together. They’d often throw around the football, Grandpa would teach my dad everything he knew about being an undersized player. “He taught me that quickness could overcome disadvantages like lack of size, as he learned playing lineman at only 138 pounds,” says my dad of Grandpa. “It paid off for me because even though I was only about 140 pounds when I was a Junior, I made first team as an offensive line guard.”

One major difference between Grandpa and my father was their interest in music. Everyone in the family – Grandpa, Grandma, Joanna and Kathy focused on and were very good at singing. Everyone, except for dad. Grandpa did an excellent job guiding Joanna and Kathy in their singing but had difficulty trying to keep my dad interested. “I thought I had to set myself apart, so I focused on sports (which was the wrong decision),” my dad jokes. It wasn’t until high school that my dad would start singing but it wasn’t the type of singing I’m sure old Grandpa was accustomed to. He sang for his band, “The Executioners!” I don’t know how Grandpa felt about that, but I’m pretty sure he didn’t know.

Grandpa and Dad with an Indian Chief (Boy, you can really tell it's the 60's with those buzz cuts can't you!)

When Grandpa suffered a collapsed vertebrae in his back in 1970, it was up to my dad to run the farm. He was only a high school kid yet he kept the farm running. His sisters were all grown up and had moved out by that time. Therefore the responsibility rested on his shoulders. Without even thinking twice about it, my dad woke up early before school to work on the farm and continued to work when he got home in the afternoon. What little time he had left was spent doing homework and maintaining his good grades. After three or four months in the hospital Grandpa returned to the farm. He was able to walk with two canes but could never farm again. His boy Kenny took over the farm operations from then on.

“I remember one very touching time when I was running for conditioning for track one spring. The track team would run a mile or two north of town on the highway and then run back. I was in the middle of my run, and Grandpa pulls up in his car. Out of the blue, for no special occassion, he had bought me a new watch and he gave it to me right there, and he thanked me for all the work I was doing for the family. He had tears in his eyes. i was a bit taken aback…certainly surprised by it. I thanked him and he drove off. I think I cried all the way running back to the school. He didn’t have to do that for me.” – My dad

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