Glad you could join us for the next woven episode of Elliot’s Adventures. If you’re new here, you can catch up by returning tothe beginning, and reading really fast…
“The last time we saw Elliot, he was leaving the Freelands, headed to Bog with Knights of Service Barry and Trevor to help prepare for war. He didn’t even know Cassandra might be pregnant. So what’s up with that?”You. Justifiably.
“I live to serve. . .”Me
Sweat dripped from Elliot’s face onto the latest stack of provisions he and his team had prepared. The urgency he felt had deeper roots than the need to get Bog ready for war. He hadn’t seen his exquisite Cassandra in a week.
Normally, we think about all those who fought for American ideals and dreams on Memorial Day. I can’t help but feel it more personally, too. My dad was part of The Greatest Generation, the oldest generation with any living members who fought in a World War.
He was 19 and a chemical engineering major at UW Madison in 1944, when he enlisted in the US Army. He spent his 6 weeks in boot camp, and was immediately sent to France. Two months later, he and a German soldier faced each other in a trench. The German’s bullet hit the pen in PFC Ranscht’s left breast pocket, and glanced off into his left arm, shattering the humerus. When he returned to the USA, he left his left arm in France.
(If we’re friends on FB, you might remember seeing this about 3 years ago — not that I expect you to remember everything I’ve ever posted… 😉 )
Outings to the Zoo, the museums, the merry-go-round and the train, the beach, the bank, the ferry. Listening to Dad read Alice in Wonderland waiting in the car outside the grocery store while Mom shopped. Semi-annual trips to Disneyland; car trips from California to Wisconsin, by-passing the Grand Canyon because it was out of the way. Family dinners every night. Speed math rounds. Kites. Edmund’s Scientific projects. Heathkit build-it-yourself electronics. Oscilloscopes. Photography — shooting, developing, printing. Working on the car. Watching while Dad fixed whatever we kids needed fixed. Making bullets, going to the range. Watching.
Big Band music. Lectures on economics, politics, mistakes. Instruction. Help and advice only idiots would reject. Strong. Stubborn. Brilliant and independent, authoritarian and irreverent, determined and responsible. He was the most grownup man I’ve ever known and the biggest influence in and on my life, but I had to love him against his will.
I don’t have any pictures of Dad and me together. This one is from Christmas of 1950, before I was born. Dad holding Patty, beside Grandma Jenkins, and Grandma Ranscht.