My Dad was born on this date, 117 years ago! I am reflecting today on the way he was, things he did, how he taught me important concepts of a technical nature, his wit, and his demise. I came along late, 12 years after my sister, when he was 41, the country writhing in the throes of war. I recall vividly sitting on the front steps, weather was hot, evening-time, and a large group of guys from around the neighborhood came marching down our street, whistling, singing, and pounding on noise-makers, maybe pots and pans. This being so out of the usual, I asked him about these crazy men; he replied the war was over! As a war-sensitive skilled tradesman, Tool & Die Maker, he worked one of those years solid, 6 days a week, 10 hours a day. Our car was a 1935 Ford he had bought brand-new in 1935, for $605! We used it until 1948, when he gave it to my sister and her husband. Very handy around the house, he repaired, maintained, painted, changed screens for storm-windows each Fall, all the while teaching me all those things. I think I am so mechanically-oriented because of those days. Evidently, my Dad's father, as well as my Dad, swore quite often, usually to the extent of "Mordieu", the Czech (I think) equivalent of "Mon Dieu". My sister's escapades as a teen did little to ease that situation. At 15, she ran away from home with a girlfriend, who made the mistake after several weeks of calling her mother, who had the call traced; thus they determined the girls' whereabouts: Oklahoma! In a jail! My Dad rode down there in a Greyhound to bring her home; she defied him, but returned home. These actual events are hazy, as I was 4, but recounting them over later years confirms their detail. I saw clearly that I had better pursue a cleaner route as I approached the teen years! (though history shows otherwise!) I became an uncle at 5! Hated that idea, but my little nephew grew up with me like a brother, my Mother taking care of us while my sister worked. That little nephew, feisty and resilient, made the State wrestling championships in high school. Today, my other nephew and I are chagrined and unable to comprehend how or why he has allowed himself to become utterly lost to the devious clutches of a domineering 2nd. wife, who has frittered away his Southwestern Bell Telephone pension fund. My little nephew thus is lost to us for all intents, now in our old age. My Dad would turn in his grave, if there were one. My Dad was short, stocky, and very powerfully-built, especially his upper body; none of us guys at 15 or so could beat him at arm wrestling! During all my growing-up years he told stories of occurrences during his life that were so unusual, one would never forget them. One comes to mind. As a boy of 8 living on their farm near North Judson, Indiana, in the middle of the night a neighbor and his wife stopped in the road with horses and wagon loaded with their belongings. The wife and kid told my grandparents her husband had set fire to their house! When they went outside, there stood the wagon, abandoned, the man had taken off on foot, never to be seen again! Unusual life stories were an essence of my growing up. The last 5 years of his life were lived in misery. Early symptoms, vague, were faltering walking ability and muscle weakness. A number of doctors each proclaimed a differing diagnosis; they finally settled on Parkinson's, which I doubted, as he never showed any palsy. Many years later, I read of a brain-related deteriorating disease called PSP, Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, which fits closely. His last several years were spent motionless in a wheelchair, my Mother dutifully caring for him. He died 6 months short of his 71st. birthday. Possibly contributory to his later-years illness, at 17, living in rural Wisconsin, he was the only member of the family of 8 who contracted the flu during the 1918 Influenza epidemic. He nearly died from it, my grandma said.