Some lessons in the life of a kid come with a bit of difficulty. I remember one of the most difficult lessons, and yet one of the most rewarding for me, occurred when Dad dealt with me for an indiscretion I had committed against a fine old gentleman of our village. The man’s name was Adolph. He was a man of few words—especially around kids. We perceived this as being gruff and unfriendly. Fact is, he was probably one of the kindest, most gentle of men you would ever meet.
It all started when a friend and I became bored one hot summer afternoon. We were too young to be allowed to swim at our favorite swimming hole, the “23,” without older boys being there to look after us and supervise us. (The 23 was a swimming hole located on the Bear River west of Garae, Idaho. I’ll have more about that in a later post). None of the older boys were able to go swimming with us that day, so this friend and I had to find another way of entertaining ourselves.
We each had a nickel in our pocket. We decided to spend them on a couple of nice cold fountain Cokes at the drug store; a poor substitute for the tepid waters of the 23, but better than nothing. Adolph was the town blacksmith, and our route to the drug store was to take us past his shop. Adolph, if my memory serves, was of Swiss decent, and he spoke with quite a heavy accent. The United States was at war with Germany at the time, and my friend and I let our imaginations get the better of us.
From the movies we had seen depicting Germans and their accents, we decided Adolph’s accent was German; that, he too, was German. Maybe even a German spy. After all, he did have the same name as Adolf Hitler. Such eight year old reasoning led to the taunt that got me in big trouble with Dad.
One might say Adolph’s shop was a bit dilapidated. It had a definite lean to it. Dad used to comment that everyday when he came by that shop he expected it to be on top of the old blacksmith. But I digress, back to my story. My friend and I began pacing back and forth in front of the shop hurling scurrilous remarks at the Smithy. Things like, “Hey Adolf, are you a German spy?” Or Hey, Adolf, are you related to Hitler?” Or, “If you’re a German spy, why don’t you go back to Germany?”
Later that evening, Dad stopped by the shop to leave some plow shares to be sharpened. Adolph told Dad about our visit to him earlier that day. That hard lesson I spoke of earlier was that Dad took me back to the shop and made me apologize to Adolph.
You can read this story in its entirety in my book “Buddy….His Trials and Treasures. You can also click on the free download button at upper right on my homepage and obtain a free copy of the prologue and the first three complete adventures. It’s available for purchase on www.amazon.com.