Loading up the old Buick, also known as "Old Soapy" (I'll explain later) for a drive in the country on a Sunday afternoon was just about as good as life got. It was great fun. We would all pile in after Sunday dinner (that would be the noon-time meal) and Dad would drive us around to places not that far away, even though when I was little, any place other than our neighborhood seemed far away. Heck, just walking down to the end of our dead-end street seemed far away to me back then! Sometimes during our rides we would go by the houses where my parents had lived previously when my older siblings were youngsters....actually, some of the houses were their birthplaces as well. Out of eight children, Mom gave birth to the first four or five at home. I remember riding by a little house - not on the prairie - but way out in the country somewhere near Castown, Ohio comes to mind, and Mom and Dad referred to it as "where we went-to-housekeepin". That term of course, referred to where they lived when they first got married in case you didn't get it :) Or maybe we would set out for one of our aunt and uncles' homes to visit. We had tons of cousins because Mom and Dad both had large families of their own. Most of the relatives that we had the closest relationships with lived in small farming towns and rural areas not too far from Troy, Ohio....if you know where that is.
|This isn't the real "Old Soapy". I couldn't find any pictures of her|
but if she was still around today, this is what she might look like.
On these Sundays when we would go out riding, one thing was required of my dad - that he would find as many roads with the steepest hills as he possibly could and to drive down them as fast as he possibly could (safely of course). This was not an easy thing to do in the part of Ohio where we lived. It is pretty much flatter than a pancake around there and you can see for miles and miles in most rural areas. My dad was awesome though...he knew exactly where the hilly roads were! We didn't have amusement parks to go to - maybe an occasional visit to the Clark County Fair if we were lucky. Well, let me tell you...the thrill of riding down a semi-steep hill at probably 55-60 mph and losing your stomach at the bottom was all it took to satisfy our need for dare-devil activities! Stopping by Bobo's in New Carlisle on our way back home for a hand-dipped ice cream cone topped off the afternoon. Before I forget...the reason the Buick was named "Old Soapy" was because once upon a time, the transmission started slipping or something and my dad, the fixer of all things, put some Joy dishwashing liquid in the transmission fluid. Don't ask me how he knew to do this (Al Gore hadn't invented the internet yet :) but it fixed 'er right up! From that day forward, that's what he called her! A few years later, after there was no more life in her, Dad traded her in on a big old Ford station wagon the size of a Sherman tank. It had a third seat in it that faced backwards and Barbara, Janet and I had many memorable moments making faces at the people traveling behind us!
|The old ice cream freezer bucket|
I couldn't mention sweet treats without including Mom's homemade ice cream. There was nothing like it. I remember the old hand-crank ice cream freezer with the wooden bucket...that bucket which now sits on the front porch of our cabin in the mountains! Later on, after getting enough of all that cranking (all the older kids took turns as well) it was replaced by an electric one. We would enjoy this white fluffy stuff quite often, especially when the family would get together to sing.