Happy Father's Day! Today we continue the series of what my dad knows about my grandfather.
Some Things I Know or Learned About My Dad…. by Jim Eiswerth
When I was in early junior high I started helping dad lay out houses on lots so that the foundations could be dug out. Usually after a full day of work, dad would come home eat a quick supper and we would take off to a new home site to lay out the house and set up the batter boards for the excavator. Being tall I helped because many of the houses were on hill sides. Dad would work his transit to get a good floor level reference, and I would mark the corners. Another way I helped was to calculate the hypotenuse (diagonal) across the corners so that we had a good square foundation. Doing that calculation long hand was painful, but as it speeded up those foundation layouts, and ensured square walls.
Around this same time, dad taught his boys hunter safety and started to take us out to hunt small game with him. He had a Remington pump shotgun, and we had single shot shotguns. Boy did we ever have fun. Once Dad even shot a turkey, that took flight while the boys were all concentrating on the ground for rabbits. When we got a little older we got to go deer hunting with him too. Dad stationed us at various trees on watch, and was always close by. My first year deer hunting (8th or 9th grade), I was lucky enough to get a 7 point buck, that my dad and uncle just missed. Dad taught us how to clean and butcher our deer. It was always kind of a big production at home as we all got involved, including grinding the burger by hand. We used to have venison a lot in the winter, and it is still one of my favorite meats.
Thanksgiving mornings were great times to go tromping through the woods and do a little small game hunting. We often went over to the Water Company (or as we called it ‘God’s country”) and walked all the way around the dam and back for a 10 mile walk. Sometimes we’d see deer, occasionally a black bear, but most of the time we were just talking and listening to dad tell us about his hunting adventures there. We also found out that he helped fight some forest fires back there too. He told us that they would just give the guys cans of cold pork&beans to eat while they were fighting the fires.
Although my brothers occasionally worked with my dad, I really worked with him the most. Many Saturdays during high school and college, we would pour cellar floors. When I started, I just pushed wheelbarrows full of concrete around, mixed mortar, or carried blocks/bricks. Eventually dad had taught me to set up forms, work the straight edge, do finish edging, and eventually even steel trowel cellar floors while he ran the gas powered trowelling machine. Watching him, I learned alot of the steps that go into completing a good quality job. I think those lessons helped me in my career as an engineer, paying close attention to details, and checking everything over twice.
On the sports side, as I said my dad loved baseball. He always dreamed that one of us might get good at it and go places. My brother Bern was the quickest and best at baseball. Although we all played Little League none of us had anything special talents. We still liked to play, and one of our favorite things in summer was having dad hit grounders and flies to us over at the Curtain school ball field that was just a block away from home. Dad got a thrill at of being our “manager” and hitting the long ball into the deep outfield. Dad could hit either handed, but liked to go lefty mostly. I can still hear him grunting swinging and trying to hit the balls over our heads. Our tomboy sister Dolly always played with us too.