Sunday, June 17, 2012

Two Stories About William Woods

Hope and William Woods, July 1957
Today Sean and I took our parents out to Huckleberry's restaurant in Wetaskiwin to celebrate Father's Day and a belated Mother's Day. On our way back to Leduc, Dad related two stories about his own father, William Woods.

The first story is one of Dad's earliest memories. It takes place in 1945 or 46, when Dad was three or four years old and his family was working their farm in Moose Range, Saskatchewan. Granddad was attempting to assemble a stovepipe within a granary to provide warmth for some chicks. But however Granddad struggled, he couldn't make the pipe sections fit together. His temper slowly simmered and finally burst, and he heaved the stovepipe to the floor. "If you don't want to go in, you son of a bitch, you don't have to!" he declared, leaping into the air and flattening the pipe with one mighty stomp. Sweet revenge!

Later, when Dad was 17 and helping his father on their second farm in Dauphin, Manitoba, Granddad's tractor wouldn't start. The elder Woods' strong hands twisted the choke and cranked the key over and over to no avail, until finally Granddad - who was "5'2" and built like a box" according to Dad - leaped from the tractor's seat, delivered a spinning kick to the tire on the way down, and with balletic grace flung his felt hat upon the ground the moment his feet touched the earth. Dad was paralyzed with laughter, and indeed his driving became a little shaky as he related the tale, laughing still. The Woods temper is somewhat infamous, but luckily it's always vented against inanimate objects!

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