Dads do the darndest thingsIn honor of dads everywhere, we invited our readers to share stories about their fathers and the “darndest things” they did for their families.
Jennifer Maurer, Fairhaven, Minn.: My Dad is the strongest man I know. He has worked so hard for what he has now. I remember Dad coming home, looking exhausted after a very long days work. He had seven kids to take care of, and let me tell you, no matter how hard it got, he always made sure we had everything we needed, even if that meant working overtime, weekends or even out of state. I'm proud of Dad. He has raised seven kids, been married to my wonderful Mom for 23 years, built his own house (thanks Dad, for letting us rent it). I see the love my girls have for their Daddy every day, and it reminds me of the love I have for my Dad. You're my hero, Dad. I will always be your little girl no matter how old I am. Happy Father's Day, I love you! Love Always, Pooh.
Kim Soper, Grand Forks: My dad is Roger Burt, who lives on a beautiful farm near Lawton, N.D., with my mom, Charlotte. Some of my favorite times with Dad were spent in the barn milking cows, helping deliver/feed baby calves, playing hide-and-seek in the haymow and our times together in the field sitting in the shade of the combine eating lunch discussing the crops. Dad always did everything he could to make things fun for his kids/grandkids, whether it was making us a Tarzan swing, pulling us in the back of an old car hood in the snow, making rafts so we could float down the coulee, etc; however, he also made sure we had work to do every day, such a hoeing thousands of trees, for which we were paid a quarter per row (carnival money). Thanks, Dad, for raising us on a farm and doing everything you could to make sure our lives were happy – my best memories were spent there. Love you.
Lynda (Dahlen) Christensen, Emerado, N.D.: My "daddy" (I always called him daddy), was the zaniest most easy-going, and thoughtful man; with a vivid imagination and he loved to fish. As he lay resting after a long day's work on our comfy fur-like living room couch, I have fond memories of him letting me "do his hair." When I was 5-years-old I would comb and roll his thick brown/black hair around metal curlers with rubber tipped clasps. Daddy's bedtime stories were the neatest stories made up on the spot, about squirrels, chipmunks and magical places; where you could find candy treats and fountains overflowing with every kind of imaginable yummy drinks; where fairies and beautiful imaginary creatures were playing, dancing, and having a great party. He often remarked he should write these stories down and I wish he would have. "Daddy" was a self made made man having an 8th grade education with a God given talent of a skilled carpenter. He built our comfy little white house in the country (Duluth, Minnesota) with a white picket fence and arbor in front for my mother and us three children. My mother died when I was 8 years old and our "daddy" was the glue that kept our family - myself (8), brother (6), and my baby sister (2) - together. One of his favorites quotes was, "Remember, the Lord helps them that helps themselves." Every Father's day I long to buy him a Father's day card and wish I could hand it to him. Being able to write this memorable tribute to my "Daddy" HERO is next the best thing.
In loving memory of Richard Woodrow Dahlen, March 5, 1918 - April 16, 1977, Duluth, Minnesota. Written lovingly by, Lynda (Dahlen) Christensen.
Deborah Hoverson, Manvel: My father is Weldon McFarland, who now resides in East Grand Forks. One of my most treasured memories as a little girl was when my dad would finally come in from a long day in the field, he would scoop me up and we would exchange bear hugs. Then he would ask if I wanted a whisker rub. I always did. It was quite bristly on my face, but was one of those things that "hurt so good". I love you dad, thanks for everything and for all the good memories.
Paula Nowatzki, Grand Forks: My dad's name is Larry Joppru and when we were younger he use to have a hoof trimming business (that is where he would trim cows hoofs) and when he came home at the end of the day I use to tell him "dad you smell like cow poop". He would say "honey I smell like money" I would like to say "Happy Fathers Day Dad Love You Paula".
Alma Helm, Grand Forks: My father, Frank Klosterman, was a very reserved gentleman who was reluctant to express his emotions, perhaps because of his stoic German ancestry.
Being the oldest of seven offspring, I was called upon to be my mother’s helper and ocassionally my father’s on the farm near Wahpeton, N.D.
One day when I was about 13, he decided it was time for me to learn a new skill to relieve Mom of a Sunday ritual that involved our well-fed spring chickens. After attending early Mass, she would march out to the chicken coop, capture a plump rooster, decapitate it, and before long have it sizzling in the cast iron frying pan.
So he caught a bird, walked with me to the chopping block, handed me the hatchet, held the hapless creature by its legs, and told me to to proceed with the coupe de grace.
Being a very squeamish lass, I gritted by teeth, closed my eyes and swung. Instead of a single clean blow, I quickly swung again and — I’m ashamed to say — mangled the poor springer. Kindly, Dad just said that in the future he could help Mom with the task.
He never embarrassed me by telling the tale to others.
Elodee Johnson, Fargo: In the spring of my 15th year, I asked my dad for $3 to buy a pair of moccasins.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because everyone else has them,” I answered.
“Not a very good reason,” he said.
He went to take his 20-minute nap in his lounge chair as he did after every noon meal. While he slept, I washed his car. When finished, I disappeared into the barn to tell the ponies about the conversation and how dad didn’t think I should do something just because someone else did.
Daddy found me.
“It would cost me $3 to have my car washed at Torgerson’s,” he said as he handed me three one-dollar bills. “Thank you, Poke, you did a good job,” he declared.
He winked and went on to say I could spend it anyway I wanted.
That was fifty years ago, I have yet to own a pair of moccasins.
The lesson: Just because someone else is doing it doesn’t mean you have to do it too.
My dad: Stanley K. Ranum, Thief River Falls, 1914-1981.
Jason Bergeron, Wexford, Pa. (formerly of Argyle, Minn.): With Fathers Day approaching it made me think of my dad, Gary Bergerson of Argyle, Minn., who has struggled with a heart condition for many years. I wrote this note on Father’s Day a few years ago when he was undergoing yet another heart procedure.
Thanks, Dad, for all you did.
Thanks for life growing up in a small town. For putting minnows on my hook. For loving me, no matter what.
Thanks for buying me hockey equipment when you really couldn’t afford it. For not taking life too seriously, and for teaching me to do the same. For showing me the difference between what’s really important in life and what is not. For supporting my crazy dreams. Sometimes they were painful, sometimes they came true.
Thanks for making it my decision, in junior high, to quit or stay in football. One state championship later, staying was a good decision that I am now very proud of. Thanks for making me that person who just cannot and will not give up —- ever.
Thanks for showing me that a hard day of work is worth it, even if no one notices. That nothing is more important than family and that love all starts with caring.
Thanks for giving me enough room to experience life. For driving 40 miles to watch my hockey games. For always being there. For the hugs, I appreciate them more than you know.
Thanks for never discouraging my imagination. For summer weekends at the lake. For s’mores around the campfire. For being proud of me when I won and when I lost.
Thanks for pretending to love my art projects. For our farm house on the river. For giving up things so I could have more. For staying a family even when things were tough. For laughter even when things were tough. For being the man I looked up to when I was 4. For being the man I look up to, now that I’m 44.
For all of this and so very much more … thanks dad.
Rachel Nelson, Grand Forks: My dad, Bob Nelson of Grand Forks, is who every child dreams of in a dad and so much more. He’s not just my dad but also a best friend. As I grew up he took me to the races, movies, shopping, and to the lake. We used to have movie nights where we would make a huge bowl of popcorn and see how many grapes we could stuff into our mouths! My dad bought me my first jewelry box, 10-speed bike, Arctic Cat jacket and fixed up an old Chevelle for me for my first car. My dad is a great friend, not just to me, but to everyone who knows him. My dad is a stand up man who I always have admired. There has never been a day that I didn’t feel proud to be his daughter.
Larry Grossman, Northwood, N.D.: My favorite story about my dad is the shower story. When I went to teach in Bowbells, N.D., I had to move into a house that didn’t have shower. My dad decided that he and I could build one. So I bought one, along with all 300-plus of its parts, and we spent eight hours and about 20 pounds of frustration putting it together. It was a long, complicated job, but my dad wouldn’t have given up if it had taken a month. My dad’s philosophy on life was: “The difficult things I can do. The impossible just takes a little longer.” My dad’s name was Edwin Grossman, from Devils Lake, N.D. He grew up in Dodge, N.D., and passed away in 1997. Not a day goes by that I don’t think about him at least once.
Terri Maurer, Larimore, N.D.: My dad, Robert Winter from Faribault, Minn., is my stepfather, but he’s the one who sacrificed, worked his tail off and, most of all, loved me. He never complained about me not being “his.” I’ve called him Dad since I was 13 and the greatest thing is — he IS my Dad. He taught me to fish, though to this day I do not take off my own fish. He taught me to swim even though I tested his patience. He taught me to water ski and God knows I still can’t match his grace and style. Dad taught me to roller skate, and man oh man, could he skate. Forward, backward, figure eights, he could do it all. In the end, I loved skating as much as he did. He taught me to polka “his way.” He laughed when he showed me. He is tall, around 6 feet, and I’m about 5-foot-2, so we were like Mutt and Jeff out there. But Dad didn’t just teach me fun stuff. He taught me work ethic, morals, and values that I practice to this day. He taught me to take the good with the bad, to smile even though it hurts and that laughter can be the best when you’re the saddest. Now Dad has Alzheimer’s. He may not recognize my face but he’ll never, ever have to worry about me loving him! He’s my Dad, my hero, my knight in shining armor, and a KING among common men. He’s MY Dad.
Meloni Giroux, St. Paul (formerly of Lancaster, Minn.): Dad’s are the best friend, role model and coach a little “tomboy/Daddy’s right-hand gal” could have. My dad, Chuck Olsonoski of Lancaster, Minn., was the best at all of these. I remember late night round table talks after basketball games about what I could have done differently or what I should do next time. And then going to the next game and seeing him watch me as proud as a dad could be and, after the game, being there to give me that hug and say “great job.” I can remember those Saturday hunting trips when dad would wait for the grouse to scare the crap out of us. He wouldn’t shoot them — he would wait until we’d had our chance and missed and then he would show off and wait till they were farther away and shoot them. And then he’d ask us what we were waiting for. I cherish so many great memories of my dad. As a parent, I look at what I have learned from my parents and try to teach my child to be the very best as my parents did for me. Happy Father’s Day Dad! Love you LOTS.
Steven Hjelle, Des Plaines, Ill: Here are two of my favorite memories of growing up with my dad, Virgil Hjelle, at Viking, Minn. My parents now live in Thief River Falls.
1. On Saturdays, dad would take my brother and me fishing for rock bass at the dam in Thief River Falls. I was so excited when he bought me a new fiberglass rod and reel in preparation for our first outing. He would spend all his time putting minnows on our hooks and getting our bobbers set just right. When my brother and I would finally get our lines in the water, he would cast once with his ancient steel rod and reel (it was so old I think Moses used it fishing for salmon in the Nile) and inevitably the line would tangle. He would spend the next ten minutes straightening it. By that time, one of us would have snagged our line on a rock or need another minnow put on the hook. I’d be surprised if he got to fish for a total of ten minutes the whole day. But not once did he ever complain about helping us. My brother and I would tell him he should buy himself new fishing tackle, but he would say something like, “Oh, I’ll make it work.” Somehow, we would head for home with a stringer full of rock bass. My mom deserves some kind of award, too, because she never complained about cleaning every last one of them. And then we had a real feast.
2. On winter evening, Dad took me to see the Harlem Globetrotters in Grand Forks. He had never done anything like that before. It was fantastic. My face hurt from laughing so much at Meadowlark Lemon. As we drove home under the blanket of stars on that crystal-clear January night, Dad had one more surprise. At the main road into Viking, he stopped the car at the “Viking” sign. From his pocked, he pulled a roll of red reflective plastic tape and said we needed to change the name on the sign to “Wiking.” You see, our Pastor, the lovable Rev. Fred Granstrom, was born and raised in Norway and never lost the accent. Every word he spoke that began with a “v” came out sounding like a “w.” So we were beside ourselves whenever Pastor Fred mentioned the name of our town or the mother of Jesus (“The Blessed Wirgin Mary”). But God was watching Dad and me that night. As we stood shivering in the sub-zero cold, that roll of tape instantly got so brittle it only came off in little bits! We managed to scrape off enough little pieces with our frozen fingernails to get the job done. I think the sign read “Wiking” for a few years until the the sign was replaced. We never heard what Pastor Granstrom thought of the mysterious “correction.” I’m grateful the statute of limitations on this crime has long since passed, so the story can now be told. It is a memory that always brings a smile to my face. My Dad is one in a million.
Olivia Hruby and Xavier Hruby, Bemidji: Our father (Jerome Hruby) is a fun-loving dad. He has made us birthday cakes in shapes of boats, cinosaurs and caterpillars. He carves pumpkins every Halloween with us. He also shows us how to plant flowers and vegetables. When Olivia was 4, he dressed up as the bar when the Teddy Bear Band was giving a concert in Bemidji. We love you, dad!