I've mentioned my mom. I've mentioned my in-laws. You know my espoused. But I haven't talked much about W.A. That would be William Arthur...the man after whom I was named...the man whose chromosomes I carry. Dad was a business man. When I was born, he owned the Red and White grocery store in Waubay, SD. Big time. He did his own butchering. He made enough money to support a family of four. But it wasn't to be what he would do the rest of his life. When I was five, we moved to Lidgerwood, ND (a significant increase in population) and dad opened a Skogmo clothing store. It was truly a mercantile kind of store, selling everything from ladies undergarments to threadgoods to buttons. We even lived in the back of the store for a while. It was here that I learned how to make change. It was here that I learned I had a proclivity to sell. (Translation--I had the "gift" of gab and could schmooze the little old ladies right out of--or in this case--into their drawers!) When I was ten, we moved once more. This time, to Canby (double the population--2000!) Another Skogmo store. Dad was the consummate business man. I often remember conversations of "losing a day" in terms of sales and to this day don't understand what it meant, but he did. We had a nice house. We had clothes as needed. We ate well. I was content. My sister made great friends. Canby suited us. But Glenwood, Minnesota...now there was a Skogmo store, so off we go. It was fine with me. But big sis, well she wasn't so keen on the idea of leaving her friends. And then, of course, there was her little brother who was a true hemorrhoid and embarrassed her to death every chance he could. Not the easiest of times for her! But dad was successful once again, and off go both children to college. Now, during this entire growth period, you have to understand dad was not what you would call demonstrative about his affection for me. I knew he loved me. He would defend me to the death. I think it was hard for him that his son preferred music and drama to hunting and fishing. But he NEVER said or did anything to make me feel less of a person. And there was that time he threatened one of my teachers for implying that I had stolen a set of keys, but that's a different story for a different time! Suffice it to say, he had my back! The year we got married, dad fulfilled a life-long dream. He bought a liquor store in Brainard, Minnesota. Easy money! Except for one thing. When he bought the store, there were municipal limits on the number of liquor licenses, so there was little competition. One month after buying the store, the city changed its liquor requirements and eliminated any limit to number of stores. Dad lost his shirt. Dad lost his drive. Dad lost his desire. Dad would get up in the morning, sit at the breakfast table, and according to Miss Loosewheel, just cry. Even now as I write this, I can't imagine how he felt! To have spent your life building up to "the event" and then have it kick you square in the filberts! After that, he went to work in a paint and glass store, and when he could, he retired. The liquor store didn't kill him. It did kill his dream.
But what kind of man was WA? Quiet (quit that--he really was my dad!). Absolutely hilarious! Moral! He had this gleam in his eye...and could zing you without a warning. You would have loved to call him friend.
As he aged, he lost his ability to walk--his feet were numb--and it was impossible for mom to care for him, so he went into a nursing facility here in town. They over medicated him to start, and while it was a terrible thing, in retrospect, it had its amusing moments. For a while, he constantly complained about his hotel room, and couldn't he get an upgrade. He would forget things (imagine that!). When mom broke her knee and had to be in the home to recuperate, they shared a room--for one night. Everyone thought it would be better if they didn't stay together! When mom went home across the street from Jenkins, the staff there would bring dad over EVERY day so they could spend their days together. Eventually, an aneurysm got the better of him and he died. I spent that night with him. He was in such pain. I held him. I talked to him. I told him I loved him. The next day, mom and Cathy came to relieve he so I could get some rest, and he died while I was at home. Thankfully, I remember the joy that he found in friends. I remember the provider who always put his family first. I remember the first drink he bought me (even though I wasn't 21 and scared I would be carded!). And I remember the gleam!!!! I wear his wedding ring on the chain Cath gave me for our 10th anniversary! He's always with me.
That's my dad, and he would want you to know...you are loved!