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by Virginia M. Baty

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Hear, Israel! The LORD is our God, the LORD alone. And you must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are away on a journey, when you are lying down and when you are getting up again. Tie them to your hands as a reminder, and wear them on your forehead. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9)

This memory took place circa 1949...

    As children, my three sisters and one brother didn’t see our daddy much during the week. He worked at night, driving a city bus, and we attended school during the day. But, on Sundays, he really made up for lost time.

    We looked forward to Sundays! Our Daddy would begin the day by fixing us a scrumptious breakfast of fried potatoes and eggs, juice, and delicious hot cinnamon rolls that Mama had made. We had Bible reading and prayer and then attended church together.

    After church we enjoyed one of Mother’s delicious dinners of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy with all the trimmings. Afterwards we took a short rest, knowing that Daddy would take us for a ride in the country when we awakened. If we stirred before Daddy, we would walk on tiptoe until he got up. We looked forward to that ride more than anything!

    Since Daddy had lived in the same part of Nebraska his entire life, we experienced a different area of the country each week. We usually drove to places he had been as a boy. He would make our ride more interesting by telling us exciting stories as we rode along. There was the time he and his brothers fished in “that creek” or when they flew down “jack rabbit hill” on their sleds in the snow and ice of winter. This hill was very steep, and as we flew down it in the car we could almost imagine we were on our sleds with the wind in our faces. What fun!

    Sometimes Daddy would park the car so that we could walk down the railroad tracks, as he pointed out the first railroad that was made with wooden rails and steel spikes. He also reminded us that the windmills we saw produced water for the farmers. Daddy showed us the different fields of corn, wheat, and alfalfa and explained that the combines we saw in the fields would cut and separate the grain from the chaff. We would see large haystacks, wild flowers, milkweed pods, and cattails. Mother loved cattails and often we would stop to pick a bouquet for her.

We looked forward to that ride more than anything!
    As we rode along, Daddy showed us how to recognize the tracks of rabbits and squirrels as they scampered along. He taught us the names of different kinds of cows and how to know each by their appearance-spotted, black, brown, etc. Daddy knew the names of trees, birds, and butterflies we saw, as well. There were large trees he remembered having climbed as a boy with his friends, and adventures in the woods where they played “hide and seek.” He made it so real; we felt that we, too, had been a part of the game.

    Many times Daddy would take us to the zoo as we headed toward home. We loved the zoo with all the animals, especially the monkeys. Daddy would make animal sounds at them, and they would mimic him as they jumped excitedly from place to place. The zoo was near a rose garden, called The Sunken Garden. In the center of this garden was a duck pond. We often took dry bread to feed the ducks. We marveled at how quickly they ate the bread.

    Other times, Daddy would drive us to the “roundhouse” where the railroad engines switched cars. It was like a giant puzzle to see the cars move from one set of tracks to the other. We often wondered how they could do it with such precision and not run into each other.

    We never tired of taking a ride with Daddy, and it is still the most enjoyable childhood memory we have. Will we ever forget those rides with Daddy? No, not ever!

 
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      © 2003, Virginia M. Baty, used by permission.

      Title: ""
      Author: Virginia M. Baty
      Publication Date: May 27, 2003


 
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