By Peggy Goodrich, columnist
Enid News and Eagle
How will you honor your father on Father’s Day? Think about it.
I submitted this article several years ago about my father. I re-read it today and it still speaks to the way I feel. I don’t think I could add anything or elaborate any, so here it is again. I feel a sadness and a joy every time I think of Daddy — and I have thousands of wonderful memories!
The things that should be the easiest to write about are sometimes the hardest. I am referring to writing about my father. It is difficult to put all that admiration into one small article. It was from him that I learned my core values. He was the epitome of honesty, integrity, work ethic, Christianity and fun — all wrapped up in one person — who was protective, caring, a good provider, generous and stable.
He survived the Great Depression like everyone else in that era. Times were hard and it took a lot of determination and fortitude to survive. We lived on a farm, so there was always work to do and always plenty to eat, but there was no money to buy things. Daddy took a job about 20 miles from our house to make roads on a water dam with his team of mules. On weekends and Wednesdays, he walked that 20 miles in the dark after his day of hard work, to check on his family. In the meantime, Mother took care of the livestock and us little kids, and kept the home fires burning. They both worked together as a team and showed us what real teamwork and love was all about.
Daddy was always cautious about our driving to and from town, which was about six miles. When we left town, we called home to let them know we were on our way. There were no cellphones back in those days, and even the house phone was not used just to visit. It was for information and emergencies only, as we shared it with eight other families. Anyway, Marianne and I called home after some school function to let the folks know we were on our way. On our trip home on country roads, a carload of boys/men tried to run us off the road and would not let us pass. We were terrified. We stalled as best we could and within 15 minutes, we saw the familiar car coming to meet us. It was Daddy. We knew he would be there if we were late. We grew up with that security that Daddy could take care of any situation or peril that came our way.
Our city cousin came to visit us one summer, and she and I went about two miles from home to the “big spring” to play and explore. It was a fun place to ride our horses and climb on rocks and climb trees, etc. While we were on one of these fun treks, a terrible storm came up, as they often do in Oklahoma. We were in the trees, and watching the sky, for an imminent storm was the last thing on our minds. All of a sudden, the trees and limbs started breaking around us, and hail and rain came in torrents. We crawled up under the waterfall of the spring so we would be protected from the storm. We were safe. However the horses that were tied to nearby trees were having limbs fall all around them. While the storm raged on, I heard in the distance a tractor. Sure enough, it was Daddy to our rescue. He yelled out for us and we responded. He untied the horses and slapped them on the rump, and they went home on their own (as horses do). Then he loaded us on the tractor and we drove home, too. I knew he would come for us and he did not let us down.
I am sure with seven children, he was busy all the time protecting us. My siblings were no different from me — we all needed constant care and watching. I look back now and wonder how he ever had time to do a day’s work with constantly keeping an eye out for us. We were cautioned to not walk behind a horse without speaking. We were careful around machinery. We respected cattle and farm animals and did not take chances.
Both my parents participated in disciplining us kids. We were never beaten with a razor strap or belt, but I can remember a few deserved spankings, and probably warranted more than I got.
If for no other reason, Daddy must be honored and admired for eating all the dishes we five girls cooked. We all turned out to be good cooks and it is because we learned on him, and had Mother as a teacher. He ate anything we served him. He seemingly had no favorite meal. Back then, we ate what we had and never complained.
After Mother died, we had Daddy in our home for a meal and I learned that he never liked green beans. I offered him a second helping and he declined, saying, “I never really cared for green beans, you know, but if I had said anything, you kids would have never eaten green beans, so I just ate them and said nothing.” All those years, Mother canned hundreds of quarts of green beans. She probably knew that Daddy didn’t really like them, but they shielded that secret from us kids — another sacrifice parents make for their children.
One of Daddy’s favorite foods was corned beef. Mother made corned beef in a huge pickle crock in 100-pound batches. Once, when Daddy came, I had fixed corned beef and cabbage, and potatoes and carrots. He loved it. I sent all the leftovers home with him. Sadly, that was the last meal I ever cooked for Daddy in my home. I wish he were here now, and I would love fixing it for him for Father’s Day.
Corned Beef with Cabbage and Potatoes
corned beef brisket
1 head green cabbage
Place corned beef brisket in Crock-Pot leaving spices on, add about 1⁄2-cup water, and cook on low for about six to eight hours. Add potatoes and carrots and cut into large chunks, onions and head of cabbage that has been quartered. Cook an additional two hours. Serve with juices from roast, thickened if desired.
Everyone has a special memory of their father. Celebrate that memory and tell him how you feel about him, before it is too late. Happy Father’s Day to all our wonderful daddies.
Send your comments to: Peggy Goodrich, Food For Thought, P.O. Box 1192, Enid, OK 73702.