Thursday, June 6, 2013

Re: Chester N. Mercer 1906 - 1990

Today, June 6, 2013 is the 107th anniversary of my dad's birth.  Dad was a hard-working, staunch Democrat and Union member and 32nd Degree Mason.  He loved to tell stories and pull your leg if he found you gullible enough to fall for one of his tall tales.  He did just about anything he needed to in order to keep his family fed clothed and sheltered, if in ever so humble abodes.  Most of the places we lived during my lifetime, until I was in High School anyway, had outhouses, where my older brother would go to sneak a smoke and thought no one would notice, ha, ha.

We lived in big houses, a farmhouse, a basement house, a two room house, and when I was 18, Mom and Dad moved into an AirStream trailer and I was on my own.  I had a job, so I got an apartment and off I went on the path that led me where I am today.

Dad set a good example for us, although my older brother thought he was a tyrant, because he made him do a few chores now and then.  I was true that, when Dad asked you to do something, he did expect it to be done NOW and WELL.  I received my share of swats with a switch, hand or whatever was handy, but never, I thought, unfairly.  My older brother swore 'til his dying day (unfortunately at age 61) that Dad beat him unmercifully and that he was horribly abused.  Funny, the rest of us just didn't see the same thing, though we were right there witnessing the same things. 

Actually, Dad was a soft hearted, gentle man for the most part.  He was hard as nails when it came to work and he believed in a day's work for a day's pay regardless of the task.  During his life, he worked as a lumberjack, a farm hand, a deputy sheriff, a farmer, an Ironworker, and finally retired as a Millwright from Bendix Corp. in South Bend, IN.  He could make anything he set his mind to, could throw a white-hot rivet two stories up and knock your eye out with it if you weren't careful what you asked for.  I know about two guys who wouldn't have been alive if it weren't for Dad.  He could climb a column and walk a 4-inch I beam, three stories up, like it was a sidewalk.  He could figure things out using a carpenter's square and taught himself geometry, He could fell a tree and always bragged that he could drive a stake with it if he wanted to.  At age 65 or so, he could hold a broom stick in his hands and jump over it.  Try that once, I guarantee you'll fall on your kiester.

When I was Kindergarten age through, I think, about 3rd grade, we lived on a farm in Michigan.  Dad worked the fields with a team of Belgian horses and milked 16 cows twice a day, by hand.  Dad sold the farm and went into a venture with some guy opening a flower flopped and we moved to Elkhart, IN and Dad went to work at Bendix.

All of this by way of saying "HAPPY BIRTHDAY, DAD" and I'll have to say, I'm kind of glad that you lived when you did, because you would hate the political climate of today's USA.  Democrats aren't what they used to be and Republicans are worse than anything you ever saw during your lifetime.  You spanned the years from Horse and Buggy through men on the Moon.  You robbed the cradle when you married Mom at age 16 and made over 50 years together and still managed a pat on the bottom once in a while (and Mom would say "FRESH" or "Dirty old Man") and a kiss good night every night.  You'd sit and watch "Lassie" with your granddaughter (my baby) on your lap with tears running down both your cheeks.  I loved you for what you were and who you were and I love your memory today.


Other things:  My good friend, mentor and first guitar teacher took a terrible fall, hitting his head on concrete, while helping his wife, who has Alzheimer's, down some stairs. He's in the hospital, but out of Critical Care, and I wish him well.  We were planning on going fly-fishing together, so hopefully, with a quick and full recovery, we'll be doing that soon.  Get Well, Dick.


I moved the Corvair to Vern's shop, where he's going to get the mechanicals in shape. tune up the engine, cure some oil leaks and make her drive like a dream (I hope) and stop on a dime ( I hope).  A paint job, new tires, a new convertible top and some upholstery work, will put her in shape for some fun while we still have some nice weather (should we ever get any) this summer.  I joined the Circle City Corvairs Club and hope to meet some fellow enthusiasts soon, and learn more about my '64 Monza convertible.  See photos on previous blog.

Th' - th' - that's all folks.  For now, anyway.

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