Warning: a sentimental story
Growing up, our household had a dishwasher in the kitchen. It was the ‘mother’ brand and came with two strong hands for scrubbing and two strong legs for moving from table to counter to sink. The original model came with a towel for drying but later ones added a special feature, ‘children’, which, amazingly, dried dishes on command.
We were fortunate in our neighborhood of blue-collar workers to have a handyman available 24-7 to build, fix, remodel and paint. It was the ‘father’ brand and came with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee. I learned a few things about fixing stuff from that man by watching him work and being a good person by listening to his unsolicited advice.
My older sister and I were the youngest of seven siblings and by the time we came along, the first five were leaving the nest, giving our folks a bit more leisure time for us. We were spoiled and loved every minute of it.
She and I were driven places by our own ‘chauffeur’, an older, kindly and dedicated gentleman from the ‘daddy’ livery service. He lived with us and knew our likes and dislikes like the back-of-his-hand, which he only used to steer the car.
And did we ever go places, generally not far from home, but so special that I still see them clearly in my mind these many years later.
We’ll never forget the delicious ‘dawgs’ at ‘Hot Dog Annies’ somewhere in the country. On hot summer nights, we were treated to the area’s best ice cream variety from ‘Pinecroft Dairy’. Mother Nature showed off her splendor during our slow drives by the pristine ‘Wachusett reservoir’ or at local ponds where our ‘chauffeur’ taught us to fish and appreciate the evening sound of a whippoorwill.
I would be remiss not to mention the support we received from the financiers of the ‘Mom & Pop’ bank for our higher education needs. In return, the only interest we paid was our interest in them as they expected nothing from us but our best efforts. We tried.
Yes, we were lucky, some would say blessed to have those special amenities while growing up and learning to take our place at Life’s table. The ‘dishwasher’, the ‘handyman’, the ‘chauffeur’ and the ‘bankers’ have long since gone, but their lessons endure and influence who we are today. I’m sure we have passed on some of their wisdom and values to our own children. How simply happy they would be knowing that this is their legacy. Maybe they do.
To my beautiful sister, June, and our precious parents, bless their souls.