Opa is German for Grandpa.
My Opa’s name was John, one of 13 children, 8 boys and 5 girls. He grew up farming with horses.
His influence on my life still casts a shadow.
In his prime, he stood 6 foot 2, weighed 240 pounds. One of the gentlest, soft heart-ed men you would ever meet. I heard it said more than once, there was not a person Grandpa didn’t get along with. That’s probably where I get some of my disposition. There were a couple of times however he didn’t get along with everyone.
(Keep in mind he was a farm boy in his early twenties.) He and several of his brothers loved to wrestle in their haymow. One Saturday afternoon he stopped by Heyen’s general store to collect a donation from Bill the store owner. Five young men were hanging around outside the store waiting for a dance to begin. Opa said “hi” but they ignored him. Grandpa told me later, some of the locals didn’t like the Germans. As he walked out of the door a few minutes later, that’s when things got “interesting”
”As I came out the door of the store someone hit me from behind, the next thing I knew I had 4 or 5 guys piling on top of me. After the initial surprise I got up swinging. By the time I was done the last boy had run to his car and was crying like a baby.”
Life lesson from the farm : Mess with the bull, you may get the horns.
Sara Groves sings a song titled Generations. One of the verses go like this: “Remind me of this with every decisions Generations will reap what I sow I can pass on a curse or a blessing To those I will never know “
Got time for a second short story?
When my dad (Opa’s oldest son) began attending country school, (age 5) he was teased mercilessly by one of the other kids about his last name. His name was Munk. “monkey, monkey monkey” It got to the point where dad didn’t want to go to school. Either the teacher didn’t know what was happening or refused to deal with it.
Opa said to me, “I made an appointment with the teacher and told him, ” My son does not want to come to school. His name is Munk, not monkey. Either you deal with it here at school or I will go to the father (of the bully) and beat the @%$# out of him.” End of discussion.
That’s all it took. The teasing stopped. I always wondered about that threat. Why was he going to beat up the dad?
Personality wise, I am a lot like my Opa. I hate conflict. Sometimes, because of the world in which we live, we don’t have to go looking for trouble, sometimes trouble comes looking for us. At that moment, I have a choice…get the tar beat out of me or stand my ground.
If you have time, check out this clip by Sara Groves. It puts a lump in my throat every time I watch it.
(You’ve been warned)
PS I posted this blog post on my other blog as well this morning. My apologies to those of you that read both. I try not to do that too often but this one seemed like the perfect post to celebrate Fathers Day and the end of writers’ block. I have posted this one in the past so you may have seen it before.