Thursday, March 30, 2006

Grandpa Lars' Head Shrinker Story

I loved my Grandpa Lars.

He was a Norwegian immigrant- a fisherman turned cattle rancher. He was a very big man (and I'm sure even bigger in my mind since my memories of him are from childhood). His accent was very heavy and I would often translate his heavily accented English for my friends.

I always felt very loved by him. Man, I idolized him. But I really felt like he felt the same way about his Grandkids that we felt about him. He came from a culture that treasured family in a way that we just don't see today.

Growing up on the ranch it was a given that we were all in 4-H. We had an annual County Fair every year that we all entered our steers or pigs or sheep or sewing projects.

And we, as a family, kicked ass.

It probably stemmed from having a perfectionist mother that would make you re-sew the hem of your dress millions of times until the stitches were even and beautiful and exactly right. But, I digress......

One year in particular we really racked up the prizes. Let's brother had grand champion steer, I was grand champion round robin showman, my sister's steer ended up being the top steer in the entire state for carcass judging, Shannon and I both had incredible sewing projects......and the list went on and on.

Now Grandpa was pretty proud of us. I especially think he was proud of the fact that the ranch cattle did so well in public. (The fact that I was exceptionally good at "Showmanship" probably does not surprise anyone at this point) So, he decided he was in danger of getting "a big head".

Since he could build anything with wood or steel, he devised a "head shrinker".

It was a band of metal that he wore on his head that had an adjustable wingnut tightener on it. He could loosen or tighten this band at will. Whenever someone would come over and the subject of the fair would come up, Grandpa would make this big show of digging out the "headshrinker", putting it on, telling of our prizes earned, and tightening the device throughout the story. He wouldn't tell the guest what, exactly, he was doing until the end of the list of his grandchildren's achievements.

He would then say, "Oh ya, you know, dees kids they do so gut dat I haf to wear dis head shrinker to stop my head from growink and growink."

And then we would laugh with his cheeks puffing out, slapping his knee over and over.

I wish I had that head shrinker.

After everything that went on with Maya on Monday she had a performance at her Spring Concert Tuesday night. She has always been shy and very reluctant to get upin front of a crowd. She had a "surfing song" that she was singing with some other third graders.

Not only that, she was put right next to the girl that made "the comment" about her skin color.

And she absolutely glowed. She smiled. She sang.

There was no nervousness evident. At all.

And Sophie!

She has always been the one that has craved the stage. And finally, she got a part! She was one of the Japanese dancers doing an beautiful dance called "Sakura".

She was the only one who really knew it. The other kids looked to her for the clue of what to do next. And she did it beautifully and gracefully and......oh, she was just good.

An old woman who I had never seen before stopped her when we were walking out and said, "If I was a talent scout, I would have picked you honey. You did a beautiful job."

Did I happen to mention that I am proud of them? (tightening wingnut....)


At 2:31 PM, Blogger said...

Awwww! I remember those good ol' recitals, choir programs... They look so great!

*builds really HUGE headshrinker*

Here, you'll need this 'cause they're so great!

At 5:52 PM, Blogger rennratt said...

Wow. I am pleased that your daughter stood next to that girl. She may only be nine in years, but the fact that she exelled last night shows her maturity.

And Sophie? To be sought out by a complete stranger JUST to tell her how well she did?!

Throw that head shrinker away, Momma. You DESERVE to be proud.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger Olivia said...

I LOVE the headshrinker story. And you have it the right way around, as did your Grandpa. A older member of my family is overly fond of meanly cautioning - don't give him/her too much praise, she/he will get a big head.

You obviously have daughters to be proud of.

At 2:07 AM, Blogger Ant said...

Hooray for the girls!

And that head-shrinker story is brilliant - though it does have undertones of self-inflicted Japanese torture methods...

At 5:08 AM, Blogger Squishi said...

she kicked ass without doing anything except be herself. I love it :) You *should* be a proud Mummy (ok, Mommy).

I need one of those headshrinkers for when i talk about my nephew and my bird, isn't that tragic? It isn't MY fault that they're both very cute, clever and perfect now, is it?? heheheh

At 8:42 AM, Blogger Christine said...

Aww your Grandpa sounds great.

And those girls...I could eat them up, they're so wonderful.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Shari said...

Have I mentioned that I love all of you dedicated commenters and I feel like you are my real and true friends and not just cyber people that I don't really know?

Well, I do.

A lot.


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