Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Our Fourth

Saturday morning Colleen served blueberry pancakes and bacon for breakfast; talk about being spoiled! Elizabeth woke up very excited and reminded everyone that it was the 4th of July -- I'd actually forgotten it. I was looking forward more to the day after, John's birthday.

I spent the day interviewing John and other family members, pen and notebook in hand, and pouring over the memorabilia and John and Colleen thought to pull out and share. John played football for the University of Oklahoma, as did his dad. Out came old yearbooks and photographs. There were also lots of lovely pictures of his late wife and of his mother.

We got so engrossed in what we were reading and discussing that Bill had to go outside to get our picture, snapping it through the window from the deck!
John didn't have a lot of answers to direct questions about specific people, but I soon found that if I just sat with him, he shared memories as they surfaced and it was all good stuff as far as I was concerned. He had stories about his grandfather, his father and his uncles. Unfortunately he didn't remember my grandfather much and he'd never met my mom, but he knew that my uncle Bernard had been a ballroom teacher! That pleased and amused me no end.

Besides getting bits of family history, I enjoyed sitting with John. He was very good company. Although obviously successful and talented, he didn't brag about his achievements so much as express the pleasure he had in looking back at them. Once he figured out that I truly was interested in whatever about his past he wanted to share, he seemed to relish my following him around, scribbling. He told me to be sure to put in my 'book' that he had 8,450 hours of IFR flying time. This is how he managed to cover so much of his sales territory, which he told me at one time was the Western Hemisphere. Whenever a joke came to mind, he passed those along as well.

I forget what we had for lunch, but it seemed to come only about 10 minutes after breakfast. I know we had brat sausages and hamburgers for dinner - about 10 minutes after lunch. Soon after that it was time to get in the boat and go watch fireworks.

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