Dusty gravel roads
Near swaths of ripening wheat
-Father’s furrowed brow

                              -Clarence Holm

I think of my father, especially when I am trying to solve a problem that requires some patience. When all seems lost, I think back to my days on the farm, remembering the endless chores and the way my father attacked them day after day after day. Dad’s stoic acceptance of running a small farm with old equipment held together with bailing wire and cardboard gaskets, in a weather cycle that didn’t produce enough rain to parch the sandy soil, taught me that even in a losing effort there are battles to be won.

Though our family gardens were doomed to be raided by the neighbor’s pigs and the Massey Harris combine and the old John Deere tractor were unwilling farm servants, dad always found ways to persevere. Even when most sane men would throw in the towel, his stubborn Midwestern will would drive him through the crisis.

I remember lots of happy times too. Noon-time meals with the entire family sitting down to meat and potatoes, covered in gravy served with Mom’s fresh white bread on a plate in the middle of the table. I loved hearing his lunch time dreams of tomorrow, when the next harvest would run over our bins.

I remember him during those times of joy and sadness and wish I could stand near him again to walk in those fields of Dakota. Even though Dad rests in peace, I just wanted to say just one more time, Happy Fathers’ Day dad; I love you this much.

Old Times Stories



Photo Credit –

The old Chevy runs at its leisure
That darn starter has no clout.
Which means my arrival time’s unsure,
And of course, the boss will start to shout?

Last week the bathroom faucet was leaking,
And the toilet was in constant flow.
The apartments stool needed a little fixing,
What made me think Drano was apropos?

Now the furnace fan has started clicking
I suppose it needs a service call.
I’d love to stop that infernal ticking
But they’d want all my money for the call.

When times got tough, I would call up my father
And he’d listen to me on his phone.
Of course, he said it was no bother,
Though I tended to bitch and moan.

After a while, he would stammer,
That I really didn’t have it so bad!
That the old times were so much tougher
Back when he was a little lad.

Back then the wind was always blowing
No matter which way he had to crawl.
And how the snow drifts kept on growing
Those old time blizzards threatened all.

Then he’d recall his tedious schoolwork
Plus the dangerous chores he had to do.
How the young preacher fellow went berserk
Because of some young rowdies in his pew.

I supposed, while dad meandered through his thought,
There is no real reason for me to worry.
That no matter how hard I have it in my lot
I’m just building my own “Old Times Story”.

-Clarence Holm