DAVE VORLAND: It Occurs To Me — Remembering Dad

I was in Chicago on Sept. 3, the date of my late father Kermit Vorland’s birthday and didn’t think of the anniversary until today (Tuesday).

He died in 1991 at the age of 80, a few days before my mother, Minnie.

This above picture of him with my maternal grandmother, Ellen Vogel, was taken in the early 1950s in Enderlin, N.D., I believe, where my grandfather, William Vogel, was stationed as a railroad brakeman. My ancestry includes Norwegian, Dutch and Native American blood.

I realize now that I inherited many traits from my father, but NOT including his politics. So far as I know, he voted just once for a Democratic presidential candidate, Harry Truman.

My liberal inclinations came from my mother. They didn’t discuss politics much, especially later in life after they had worked out most of their small differences.

Today, mom and dad would be classified as “working poor,” although that thought never occurred to them. They died not owing a nickel to anyone.

My father was a dreamer, a bright guy who could have been a mechanical engineer had he gone to college. He quit school at the end of the eighth grade, a decision his father, Hans, told him he would one day regret. He did and took great pride in the educational accomplishments of his children.

Dad didn’t give me advice about living my own life, except once:

“Dave, why don’t you put your buck’s worth of gas at the top of the tank instead of the bottom?”

Like me, he was prone to sudden and changing enthusiasms — photography (which he maintained all his life), get rich quick schemes (for example, raising rabbits, which he did not have the heart to butcher), the water well drilling business, amateur ham radio, among others.

But he considered himself first and foremost a farmer until he moved the family to Harvey, N.D. There he worked as a machinery mechanic until he retired and after a brave struggle with Parkinson’s disease, passed on to the next world.

Reserve a place for me near you and mom, OK?

Leave a Reply