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Sunday, March 11, 2012

Days of Yore

The photograph above and its annotations in my Father's hand, although old and faded, commemorates an important, influential friendship in my Father's life--and one that I still think about. 

My father, Thomas Anthony Patrick, was 19 years old when this photo was taken, according to the date on the photo.  He had met Harold Lindsy, the son of Mr and Mrs Lindsy a few years earlier in Flint, Michigan when they had both been hired as temporary labor at a factory to unload boxcars. My father was then a middleweight fighter and in excellent shape--and Harold was what is generally called a "strapping" farm boy of well over six feet in height.  Between them they could unload a boxcar in a few hours that normally took two men a full day.   The rest of the time they would talk.  Harold learned that Thomas enjoyed hunting and told him of his parent's 80 acre farm in the north near Mikado and  said if he was ever in the neighborhood to stop by.  

The next Thanksgiving when Harold went home for the holiday, he found, to his great surprise, Thomas sitting at the table enjoying dinner. This may have been in 1933. Mrs. Lindsy was by all accounts an excellent cook and hostess.  There can be no doubt from whom Harold inherited his lantern jaw.  Thomas, who had no or little family life of his own, became sort of an adopted son for a few years until he went into the army in 1942.  The table often featured venison, canned, of praiseworthy quality, and freshly ground horseradish. One of Old Man Lindsy's witty remarks at table was to another guest who had placed a big dollop of the horseradish on his meat and then had run from the table, choking and spluttering. "I told you that the horseradish was hot." he had said. Mr Lindsy had a set of big grey plow horses named Maud and Fern. 

Thomas felt at home there; he was always welcomed and had a chair of his own.  He was informed by mail in 1945, I think, that Old Man Lindsy had died.  At the time father was in the Pacific, probably on Guam or Okinawa.  

In 1968 father purchased on land contract for $9,000 the 120 acres parcel of woods and tag alders across the road from the old Lindsy farm. I still have the land, or perhaps it has me, and have shot many a fine buck there. Father shot many more.  I think of my Father when I sit in the house we built as I blow smoke rings from my occasional cigar. And I think about the Lindsys, too.   

Incidentally, the dog in the photo is mysterious to me.  


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