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Column: Grandpa goes wading

By HOWARD LINDQUIST, Special to the Daily Globe

HERON LAKE — Grandpa Johnson had been planning on a trip to our place in the woods for some time. Uncle Bill would bring him up in his Model A Ford. They came up, finally, on a Monday morning in June.

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When Bill got out of the car, he handed Grandpa’s suitcase to my mother and Grandpa followed.

Grandpa stood there awhile and looked around. There were woods on all sides. It was so much different from where came from, where the land was mostly cleared.

We ate dinner, and then we visited awhile. Bill was going to help my dad put up a section of fence, and we kids were going to take Grandpa down to the lake. My mother talked about what we should do, and what we shouldn’t do. Finally, we left. We didn’t want to go through the woods, because of the mosquitos and wood ticks. So we took a gravel road north directly to the lake. There were more woods next to the lake. After we passed through them, we noticed Grandpa was missing. We walked back a ways, and then heard some grumbling. It was Grandpa; he had gotten suspenders caught on a broken limb on a dead tree. It didn’t take long for us kids to free Grandpa from the dead limb.

A little further and then we could see the water through the leaves. We kids were soon in the water and Grandpa was right behind us. The bottom was sand. It was so nice to squeeze the sand between our toes. Grandpa, too.

Grandpa, after taking his shoes and stockings off, took off his bib overalls and then walked into the water in his long underwear until he waist deep. We kids laughed and one of us said, “Look at Grandpa!” We splashed around for a while, and then it was time for us to go. It took us awhile to get home; we came across a dead tree struck by lightning. It interested Grandpa. He took a stick and poked at it and talked. We didn’t listen much to him. We had to get home, and we were late. When our mother found that Grandpa got his long underwear wet, she scolded him. I don’t know whether we were embarrassed or surprised at her scolding him, or amused. It is still not clear whether we were supposed to look after Grandpa, or he was supposed to look after us.

It was a long time ago.

Howard Lindquist lives at Lakeview Assisted Living in Heron Lake and grew up in Douglas County.