What my brother reminded me was that today wasn’t just Dutch’s birthday; it was his 100th birthday. I guess also that to most, things like this have a way of sneaking up on us. At leastwise it did with me. One hundred years ago, my dad was born – think about that; one hundred years. This set my mind to wandering.
Dutch had practically lived a whole lifetime – thirty-seven years (life expectancy @55) by the time I was born; both my younger brother and I came late in life to my Mom and Dad. He is one of the greatest generation having survived the Great Depression and World War II; although he didn’t fight in the war – age and occupation (oil exploration industry) – he contributed in many ways. Dutch never finished school; actually only attending to some point in the fifth grade. He was at the same time the smartest man I ever knew and reaching the age I am currently and having a breadth of work behind me that I have; I can tell you this is a range of acquaintances that is matched by very few. He wasn’t the most intelligent; smart is rated on a different scale. Dutch was common smart; there wasn’t anything he couldn’t do if he set his mind to it. That I will always respect
Dutch (very early)
Let me just see if I can do Dutch justice by remembering just what he did for me:
While not an athlete, he did teach me how to play pitch and catch – baseball was always his favorite
Dutch taught me how to teardown and rebuild a drilling rig mud pump
Dutch taught me how to plow a somewhat straight furrow (using an old plow he had traded for and the wench on the water-truck
Dutch taught me, when I was about 10, how to get up early and put in a hard day’s work on the drilling rig, later on a water well pump teardown and repair rig
Dutch also very early - after long day in the field
Dutch taught me how to mow the lawn and earn a little spending money come summertime in the neighborhood; very little spending money in the late 50s and early 60s
Dutch along with my grandfather Grover and a guy that worked for Dutch named Charles Dean taught me how to drive a water-truck 1st, a drilling rig 2nd and then finally an automobile ; even later a bull dozer and a tractor
Dutch taught me how to ride a horse and take care of cattle, sheep, goats, chickens, guineas, turkeys and ducks
Dutch - clowning around on a Saturday in the '30s
Dutch taught me how to milk early (real early) in the morning and again just about evening time
Dutch gave me my first REAL job roughneckin’ when I was 16, even though he had used my free labor time and time again from the time I was 10 until then
Dutch convinced me that I NEEDED to go to college and that I NEEDED to stay in college when it looked like college just wasn’t really for me
Dutch and Anne (my Mom)
Dutch taught me integrity and nothin’ was more important than your word or having a friend
Later in life when I returned as my own man with my own family and Dutch needed my help to “go to town” for whatever, we would often have to stop at many other places along our route because Dutch NEEDED to go in and see a friend he hadn’t been able to get around to for some time. He had so many friends there was never enough time; we just did our best.
I know there is more and I could probably go on forever but I think I will stop here. You can make your own list and include the “whatevers” you see fit to include.
Dutch as I remember him best
As my cousin James Howard replied when I ask if he realized it was my dad’s birthday: “No, but Dutch would have liked being around today!” I am sure he would have really enjoyed 100 candles, you can bet.