BY GERRY LUNDELL – GUEST COLUMNIST
It was a warm summer night when my three brothers and I were not settling down for bedtime. Our room had two, three-quarter size beds that we shared; it was right above our parent’s bedroom downstairs.
We were making lots of commotion when our dad yelled up the stairs, "Settle down boys and get to sleep."
A few minutes later dad yelled up the staircase a second time. "Boys, settle down or I’ll be up there."
We did not heed our father’s warning. A few minutes later we heard dad’s footsteps coming up the creaky wooden stairs. We were instantly quiet and jumped into bed, not taking time to turn the light out.
Dad slowly entered our room, carrying an apple on a plate in one hand and a knife in the other. Without any words dad pulled the chair from the desk, sat down and began to peel the apple.
I, being the youngest, peeked over the covers; what is going on, I wondered. Dad peeled and cored the apple as we watched, sliced it in several pieces and passed them out to each of us.
Dad conversed with us about the chores that needed to get done the next day: picking rocks on section 13, mowing the roadsides, and if it rained we would clean the shed and work on the machinery. He stayed and talked for several minutes, long enough for us to consume the apple slices that would settle our restlessness.
It was no surprise to him what happened next – his four boys had settled down. Dad turned out the light as he left the room, and I believe we were all sleeping by the time he reached the bottom of the stairs. He knew exactly what four rowdy and restless farm boys needed at 11 o’clock at night: a good apple, a little farm talk and a little act of kindness.
And that little act of kindness included a little act of patience that indeed was an enormous act of love. And that enormous act of love would be remembered for a very long time.
This was the way our dad managed the farm, his four boys, our two sisters and our mother. He was a man of soft-spoken words, chosen very thoughtfully, always with respect, kindness and patience. Love is patient, love is kind; our father understood what that meant, but he never preached it to us, he showed us. And by demonstrations like these he earned our respect, admiration and trust.
Gerry Lundell has lived in Brooklyn Park 32 years. He grew up as one of six children on a potato and grain farm in the Red River Valley in northwestern Minnesota.