Sunday, June 28, 2009

Ode To Chet and Kate

Growing up on Wilson Street in Falls City you would have had the pleasure of knowing two of the greatest people on earth, Chester and Kate Brannin. Kate's birthday was yesterday and I found myself thinking of some of the best life lessons I learned sitting on their front porch. They were a couple without children but come 4:00 on a summer evening you would find all of the neighbor kids on that porch. We would sit and chat about all of their travels, about the Worlds Fair, the Grand Canyon, and San Fransisco, if you were lucky enough Kate would allow you to look at their view master slides from their vacations.
This is when I learned to treat other's possessions with respect.

During the summer months we would spend the evening running races around their house as Chester would time us, catching lightning bugs, making up plays and acting them out, I even remember staging pretend weddings with the twins next door. If one of us would act out, Chester would send us home and we would not be allowed back until the next day. This is when I learned to respect authority, because it is awful lonely sitting at home with no one to play with.
One of Chester's favorite hobbies was fishing. He would come home from a good day of fishing and tell us all about his catch. Whenever you asked where he caught them he would hook a finger in the side of his mouth and say "Right Here"! One of the more disgusting parts of his fishing trips was when he would cut out the air bladder and all of us kids would fight to see who would get to stomp on it and pop it!
This is were I learned patience, because it could be a long evening waiting on their front porch to see how big a catch they had that day.

During the winter Toby and I would visit them a couple times a week. We would listen to stories of Chester's brothers, how they tried to put two saddles on one horse or how they would wait by the train tracks for a train full of soldiers going off to World War 1 and catch the soldiers hats as they flew off in the wind. They would show us picture albums or we would watch the birds out the window. Now whenever I see a Cardinal or "RedBird" I think of them.
During the winter Toby and I would take turns scooping their sidewalks and in the summer mowing the grass. We helped weed the garden and once Kate attempted to show me how to can vegetables. This is where we learned to help our Neighbors.

As the years passed we stopped visiting with them everyday on the front porch, we waved as we rode our bikes and eventually our cars, as we past their house. What I would give to have another evening spent on that front porch. To see them sitting in their folding lawn chairs with a cold lemonade in one hand and flyswatter in the other!

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