Current weather conditions

Click for Dexter, Iowa Forecast

Consider this quote from Abe Lincoln

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."



     There are things that Dads are supposed to teach their sons. All of those things we hand down to our sons are important. From learning to go potty outside on a tree, to how to properly score a baseball game there are just some things that it’s a Dads responsibility to teach.

     This past weekend I had one of those teaching moments with my own boy. In the midst of his older sisters starting up with their unending expressed desire for cell phones he looked at me and ask if I thought he was old enough to have a pocket knife? A pocket knife sounded pretty harmless and I thought back to being his age myself and I remember always carrying one around with me at that age.

     I dug through the junk drawer at the house and found an old pocket knife and handed it to him and for the next few minutes we sat there learning the rules of the knife. He seemed to catch on pretty quick although I think the locking blade kind might just be a little much for him at this point and when we were done he was as happy as any boy could be. As we neared the end of the lesson I asked him what he needed a knife for anyway and he responded by telling me that he could use it to sharpen sticks when he was outside playing. How do you argue with that logic?

     It made me think of the yard and the way it ends up covered with sticks and branches over the winter months. No matter how clean the yard is when the mower gets put away for the winter; storms, ice and wind all find a way to litter the yard with a crazy amount of sticks. When we were children we spent a lot of time picking those sticks up, mostly because we were lower to the ground than the adults around us I’m sure.

     We would pick up sticks all day long and deposit them on the big pile near the garden. The brush pile was the place where all those limbs and sticks and odd pieces of boards seemed to end up. If my folks hadn’t burnt it off by the time the first Winter snow fell this pile would provide shelter to birds, mice and the occasional bunny rabbit over the harsh winter. If I remember correctly we boys never complained too much about our chore of picking up sticks as we weren’t the kind to complain about chores. Especially any chore that had to do with sticks. In fact, I would have to say if the fact that our grandparents and great grandparents used to have us over to their houses to pick up all the sticks in their yard was any indication of our stick picking up abilities, then we were professionals!

     Although picking up sticks was hard work it was never without reward. Once those sticks had sat on the pile a good long time and dried down, then they would be lit ablaze. We would sit and watch the fire for hours, and it usually provided enough excitement that we went into the grove and other places we wouldn’t usually venture to find more sticks to throw on the fire. As the fire would burn down Dad would wander off to the corncrib and come back with a few big pieces of number 9 wire and Mom would suddenly appear with a package of hot dogs and many a night was spent roasting hot dogs over those fires.

     So I’m sure that although the boy really has started to grow up, it won’t be too long before he’s outside this Spring picking up sticks out of the yard and sitting down as we watch the fire burn eating a burnt hot dog. And who knows, maybe he’ll just use those new knife skills that his Dad taught him to whittle himself a professional wiener roasting stick. Before throwing it on the fire and running of in search of more sticks that is.

See you next week…Remember, we’re all in this together.